Photography and Words By: Demarcus O’Dell
On a cold Denver night the lights dim in The Bluebird Theater, the crowd goes berserk, and the Trap House Jazz Band begins. An array of floatation devices, leis, and red cups were themed towards the Virginia artist. As the introduction precedes our guest says “my name is Masego,” and the room is filled with excitement in anticipation of a fulfilling and fun show.
Masego is a master of flawless multitasking and improvisation, doing so as if premeditated. As he pleases the knowledgeable and shocks the unaware he will either build the foundation of a song from scratch using looping technology, and a beat-pad for vocals (beat boxing, singing, scatting, melodizing) or the piano. He has an idea or a song in mind and he replicates it differently then the recording or any other live performance.
The crowd was continuously infatuated, keeping hands high, reciting lyrics, giving input, swaying side to side. Masego and the band were well intertwined, communicating, dancing in synchronization during breaks, and playing off of each other. It is like seeing two bands, Masego the comedic, and skilled one man army and the Trap House Jazz Band combined for over stimulation of jazz, funk, ska and all inclusively a sound of it’s own.
“HIDY HIDY HIDY HO,” is a phrase Masego incorporates in every song while performing for crowd interaction, the timing of his vocalization in whole is impeccable and the feeling is comparable to a funk club in any imagination. Masego curated his set with songs from “TrapHouseJazz,” “Pink Polo EP,” “Loose Thoughts” and a handful of unreleased, and/or from scratch creations.
From “Shut Up & Groove,” “Girls That Dance,” “Throwin Shade,” “Send Yo Rita,” “Wifeable,” and “You Gon Learn Some Jazz Today,” it was like an endless stream between songs, cheers, and energy. Breaks during any song, which were purposely misleading to drive cheer from the crowd when the band brought song right back was a key note on the impeccable performance quality this group possesses. They read the crowd and assess what they want and hand it back in surplus.
Masego realizing the occurrence of the halfway point in his set stated, “I haven’t played the saxophone this whole show, can we get sexy?” As if it was any different he continues with, “do we party, or do we get sexy,” and it was indeed already an even mixture. Masego unbeknownst to some is a self taught saxophonist and it makes the experience all the more incredible. When the saxophone is a part of him, the creativity, the improvisation and the soul renders itself through the instrument and is movement provoking for the listeners.
No matter how long the spectators were subdued to this pure faction at any point an end is too soon, foretold by the “end” of Masego’s set. An encore I haven’t experienced in awhile was a wake up call to the real possibility of Masego being in reach of a serious career ahead of him. On beat with the loud chants of, “Ma-sego, Ma-sego, Ma-sego,” was stomps, and the lights as a request of an encore commenced. “YAMS,” the song of choice for the encore brought the essence of the show right back and ended with cheers, satisfaction and a time well had.
Masego and the Trap House Jazz Band, are the party, one we were glad to be a part of both condoning and enjoying, This is an experience one needs to have, to see, and will resonate forever, till next time, “HIDY HIDY HIDY HO.”