Well, the night had arrived. The Grand Dame’ of Soul, R&B, Jazz – and maybe we can invent another genre for her to rule over – was set to perform. Was I excited? Yes, and intrigued. [you know me, I want to know]. This is, after all, Aretha Franklin. Many young women have aspired to sing because of Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, so many others. But they – Whitney, Jennifer and so on, were inspired by Aretha. Without a doubt, her voice helped to define the music that we grew up on. Lyrics that spoke of Encouragement “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, Love, “Daydreamin” and Strength “Respect”. She has won every award and received every accolade imaginable, and has the chops to step in for a world renowned classical vocalist, Luciano Pavarotti.
So, um.. yes. I was excited. It was her song ‘Dr. Feelgood” that made me want to open my mouth and see what would come out.
I wondered about a lot of things before the show started. What would she sound like live? Will I hear my favorites? How long with the concert be? I mean after all, her catalog is quite exhaustive. I have to tell you, this was a serious production. The picture above is missing the drummers’ cage, and a whole oterh percussion section behind one of the most fiercest tambourine players I have ever heard [she was very nice as well!, Kellylee and I had a good laugh offstage as I tried to teach poor Kellylee how to play the tambourine lol. Hands down her most favorite musician of the night]
When Aretha came out, the house was on fire. And she looked incredible.
As her voice soared over the full orchestra, I was at once transported back to my bedroom with my lime green faux alligator phonograph player, nappy hair in an afro, wig brush in my hand emulating this woman that stood in front of me. Song after song, she blew us away with the the strength and power of her vocals, not to mention her jazz chops. I came to realize that you really have to come to a concert to truly appreciate the dexterity of her range and vocal stylings.
It was not merely a concert with the lady and her piano, although she did play. and PLAY she did – we tend to forget she is just as skilled on the 88’s as she is with a pen and her voice – until she played her self happy. This was a full on experience, complete with dancers, effects, and a huge disco ball for us to get on the Freeway of Love and boogie down.
There is so much that happens behind the scenes that we as appreciators of music really don’t know about in order for the show to be a total success. I can only imagine what it took to pull together a show of that magnitude. The dancers had wardrobe changes, the lighting, the stage setting. Wow. A super huge THANK YOU to anyone and everyone that has the tiring and amazing task of making sure that when an artist steps on stage, all they have to do is create. WE APPRECIATE YOU!
Many songs and 2 encores later, we were drained. The audience laughed [she’s very funny], probably cried, got a little religion and shook their booties. I see now why folks say they leave her concerts wiped out. You really will experience every emotion that you can connect to after an evening with Aretha Franklin.
I can definitely cross this one off of my bucket list. It was a Night to Remember.
Tri-C has tirelessly for the past 33 years strove to bring to Cleveland some of the best music that the industry has to offer when it comes to Jazz. From Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and still to come: Sean Jones, The Oikos Ensemble, David Sanborn, Trombone Shorty…so many more. Check out their site, purchase a ticket, and see for yourself.
You will NOT be disappointed!
In Rhythm and Blue
2012 Tri-C Jazzfest