Salahuddin Haider

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – INDEED It was. The UK jazz band, and a specially flown Chef of international repute were a cheerful gift from the British Deputy High Commission and eminent hotelier and philanthropist Byram D Avari for the Karachiites at the week-end.

While John Trucknott-Gil Atkinson formed a powerful combination of the diplomatic elite in Pakistan’s mega city, Byram, now chairman of an international chain of hotels in major cities of Pakistan, and abroad, by their commitment and dedication made a difficult task look so easy. Hats off to them for theirs and their staff’s two months efforts that turned the occasion lovely and memorable.

The famous trio of pianist Julian Jospeh, Mark Hodgson, one of the most in-demand double bass players on the international scene, and Mark Mondesir, undoubtedly, one of the finest drummers UK has ever produced, who now has gained the respect and admiration of musicians the world over, was here to enthrall an audience, jointly invited by British mission and Byram Avari.

The trio has been engaged for nearly three decades—Joseph and Mondesir for 30 years, and Hodgson for few years less. Their presence in Karachi, and later at Lahore, was hugely appreciated by those lucky to see them offer their master pieces together.

As a journalist with worldwide travel experience of a long period of 40 year, I had the privilege to witness many an orchestras, symphonies, and Jazz shows in different countries. All I say here now that this was tremendously authoritative, second only to the Swan Lake Ballet, I saw in Moscow as a young reporter with late Mr Z.A. Bhutto in early 70s.

Julian at Piano was just superb, and Mondesir at the drum and discs were like magicians, keeping the audience spell-bound on slow or fast track movement of their fingers and hands. That is not to lessen the importance and sterling performance from bass player Hodgson.

While a graceful Gil Atkinson, the number two at the British diplomatic mission in Karachi, was superb and sweet in her role as compere, John Trucknott and Byram Avari were brief but jovial in their remarks, emphasizing the role of Britain in promoting education in Pakistan, and the latter thriving on interesting anecdotes.

A prodigious composer and arranger, admired and respected band leader, inspirational collaborator and educator, and a highly knowledgeable and engaging broadcaster, Julian is essentially a true champion of the music. He produces electrifying effects on different Jazz notes—from Mozart to Beethoven, classical, rock and pop, with great perfection.

Hodgson has performed in Europe, Afria, Asia and USA in some of the world’s most prestigious clubs and festivals. Mondesir, looking young and fresh was just thrilling and remarkable with his two hands striking the bands and discs with sticks, and at time in solo performance, was just superb.

Byram turned out to be a remarkable host by the sumptuous dinner, in which the Dominic South as British Cook, synthesized all his mastery in the cuisine served to the guests. He is endowed with experiences of serving Carribeans, Hongkong, French, and UK hotels, and clubs, and thus brought tremendous experiences to win accolades from the gathering. Full marks to John Trucknott, his team, to Gil Atkinson, a wonderful hostess, and to Byram Avari for producing a wonderful exciting get-together.Prominent among them were the US consul general Brian Heath, business elite, eminent journalists, musicconnoisseurs. They loved every moment of their being there.

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