It’s Friday night, January 10, and Slim’s on 11th street in San Francisco is alive with the music of four different bands and the fans that came to see them. The third act of the night is the Ethiopian jazz band Sun Hop Fat from Oakland. The core of this multi-instrumental band is Jeremy Greene (tenor saxophone), Nick Gyorkos (trombone), Scott Makson (trumpet), Jesse Toews (bass), Daniel Silberstein (percussion & vocals), Randy Schwartz (drums), Dii Martin (guitar), Krystal Nzoiwu (flute & vocals), Ryan Morgan (trombone) and Harrison Murphy (keyboards).
Sun Hop Fat takes the stage and immediately a steady wall of extraordinary moving sound and beats fills Slim’s. The audience’s bodies lock into groove with this foreign kind of music. Throughout the set, Sun Hop Fat play heavy beats to uptempo and weaving rhythms that control the crowd’s bodies. When listening to Sun Hop Fat’s spin on Ethiopian jazz live, one can close their eyes and imagine being in a different time period and in an exotic land far from Slim’s dance floor. Most of the songs are full instrumentals but in the ones that Krystal Nzoiwu sings in, her vocals give just the right touch of subtle sexiness to heighten the emotion of these grandiose sounds. The musicians of Sun Hop Fat appear to have mastered their instrument and know when to use them and there is a focus on ending their songs strong. After almost 60 minutes of galloping beats and loud shiny horns with astounding lush solos, Sun Hop Fat ends their set.
At times during the show this big band with big sound has what appears to be up to 11 musicians playing instruments while dancing and covering the entire length of Slim’s stage. Sun Hop Fat is a group to be seen, heard and felt. For some live music that is different, but colorful and exciting, check out Sun Hop Fat. For upcoming shows in the Bay Area, visit http://www.sunhopfat.com/.