Close up of a keyboard.

Shakatak in Concert

After becoming popular in the 80s Shakatak have continued to write, record, and perform live, and have a career spanning more than 30 years. I didn’t see them in the height of their fame, but a number of years later, perhaps in 2006 or 2007, when I went along to see them at a jazz club in Japan.

The members of Shakatak

They put on a good show, playing their hits from the past, interspersed with some of their more recent work.

Although some of their albums might, arguably, be described as background music their show was certainly engaging. There were no gimmicks, no audience participation sections that I can remember, no light shows, just a good, solid, musical delivery of British jazz funk at its best.

I was surprised when Bill Sharpe did a solo piano version of their hit Easier Said than Done, but for the rest of the time it was pure Shakatak, with their solid funk bass lines, percussion, a nicely understated guitar part adding a vital ingredient to the funk feel, and of course those jazz keyboard lines.

Vocalist Jill Saward played a much bigger role than she did on their early hits Easier Said than Done, Invitations, and Night Birds, where the vocal parts seemed more incidental than anything else, and proved to be a more talented singer than I had thought. She also provided additional percussion at times.

I chatted with the guitarist after the concert and asked if Bill Sharpe used his own keyboards on tour. Apparently nowadays he just travels with a couple of sound modules and uses whatever midi keyboard is available, or so I was told, but it makes sense.

One final memory of the evening was when I was in a line waiting to enter the club. Two young ladies rushed past everyone and went straight to the front, in what appeared to be a blatant attempt to queue-jump. Then I heard one of them say ‘We’re with Shakatak’, and indeed they were. I remember thinking that they were probably too young to remember the success of Shakatak in the 80s.

It was good to hear British jazz funk alive and well, and I would have no hesitation in going to see Shakatak again if they came to town.



Just arrived on this site:

Jan. 30, 2018. Turntables are making a comeback, with many on the market to choose from. This month's article, Choosing a Turntable, can helps you make the right choice.

Dec. 30, 2017. This month I've updated the article Harry Beckett in Concert.

Nov. 27, 2017. After evaluating the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Generation USB Interface for several months, I can now post this in-depth review.

Oct. 30, 2017. The KORG SV-1 Keyboard Image Gallery has been updated this month with a brief description added to each photograph.

Sept. 25, 2017. This month sees the addition of a new piece of music - Heaven's Door.

Aug. 29, 2017. This month I've added a small selection of old photographs to a new page entitled Gallery - Archive.

July 26, 2017. The question I attempt to answer this month is Why Pay For Music? Leaving aside the legal argument there is much more to consider. Read the article to find out more.

June 28, 2017. This month features an article on how to make DIY Acoustic Panels that don't need attaching to a wall with screws or glue.

May 29, 2017. New this month is a selection of six Royalty Free Radio Jingles.

April 30, 2017. After a half-year break from adding new material to this site, I've added an article / review on Headphone Holders.

Jan. ~ Mar. 2017. New posts coming soon.


Sometime Somewhere...


A relaxing Smooth Jazz CD. Listen to extracts of all 12 tracks now.


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