Greetings, Jazz Lovers,
Last Night? JAZZALICIOUS! And if you were there? You know that which I speak of is the gospel Truth! It was a night of Sound, but also a night of Visual excitement, and I know that The State Theater will never be the same!
David Sanborn is without a doubt one of the most celebrated jazz musicians in the industry. 24 albums, 8 Grammys, Gold and Platinum sales. His style is at once smooth and traditional so regardless of your genre flavor, there is something for everyone. Accompanied by Byron Landham on Drums, and Joey DeFrancesco on the Hammond, he took us on a musical journey that began with newer selections from his own works and compositions by Marcus Miller. Now over the past week, I have heard many variations of ensembles which have ranged from 3 [Kellylee Evans] to more than 20 [Aretha Franklin]. With it only being the 3 of them, I was impressed at how big their sound was. Taking nothing from the larger companies, this was a cleaner treat to the ears. It was simplified in that you could make out every instrument, however none the less large in quality and deliverance. Even if it was not a solo, you could fully appreciate the skill level of each of them as they played and every nuance was much appreciated. The fans oohed and aahed at their favorites, and laughed heartily at his jokes. I must say, most of the performers for this year have been quite funny!
As I said, David has diversity in his art. Ever the Michael Jackson fan and cover critic, my ears were marvelously caressed as they rocked the house with their version of “The Way You Make Me Feel”. The crowd sang, clapped, and of course cheered. Ever the kidder, David gave acknowledgement to his musician cohorts, well deserved. Byron’s solos were some of the best I have heard all week. I promise you I tried to catch a smooth photo, even with shutter speed. ha! I got a flurry of sticks. Period. Quipping that he “plays fill-in solos for Joey DeFrancesco, David expressed that he himself is a fan of . Far from the truth, as David is the Sensei of the Saxophone, BUT, Joey is as they say, A BEAST on that Hammond! Whew! The Hammond organ is by far one of the more complicated instruments to not play, but operate. It has a double row of keys, floor pedals, sliding levers.. a lot like fast driving a stick shift car on Harvard Ave. [for those in other cities, Harvard Ave in Cleveland has the most red lights of any residential area, at one point every block]. The fluidity of motion is crucial to it coming off as a thing of beauty as opposed to a bunch of choppy notes. Joey is smooth, and ferocious on it, not to mention is a pretty nice vocalist, displayed as he whipped the organ and sang “Let The Good Times Roll” by Louis Jordan.
Immediately after David Sanborn’s performance, the atmosphere changed as much as the set. While the crew removed his set and unveiled Trombone Shorty’s, people milled around chatting, and from the snippets it was easy to tell that quite a few had not heard, or never heard of Trombone Shorty. Because his style is the extreme opposite of David’s, I know they were in for a treat. And their response was amazed, stunned, entertained.
Trombone Shorty is one of the rockstars of Jazz, successfully creating a sound that melds together Jazz, Rock, Funk, and pure New Orleans getdown which became evident as he along with his band called Orleans Avenue:- Mike Ballard – Bass; Tim McFatter – Tenor; Pete Murano – Guitar; Dan Oestreicher – Baritone Sax; Joey Peebles – Drums, and Dwayne “Big D”Williams -Percussion set the crowd on it’s ear with their rock driven cut “Suburbia” from his previous release “Backatown”. The lights are racing, the guitar is wailing, the horns are giving up major staccato jazz structure, and I think I got in major neck calisthenics as I bobbed my head just as hard as Joey Peebles as he smashed on the drums.
Unlike a few bands where the front man is the main focus, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue are 100% charismatic. They laugh and joke with each other while performing, and truly enjoy their type of offerings. What I honestly love about them however, is that they are a group of young men in a time standard genre who are blazing a path within it, while maintaining the respect of those before. As you know, my platform is live music, all the way. I understand the necessity of technology, however many today have forsaken the true for the synthetic, forgetting those who have gone before and the path they navigated for them to walk thru. With this band, you hear a wide range of the richness of Jazz’s history in the more than 90 minutes music they presented, including a spot-on imitation of Louis Armstrong in both vocals and trumpet solo by Trombone. We heard a souped up version of “Minnie the Moocher”, as well as his signature version of “Sunny Side of The Street” where he held out a note for 2:20. [I will do a video blog after the fest is over which will include this feat]. The crowd wend from applause, to cheers, to cheers and applause, to utter amazement.
Each of the musicians play more than one instrument, and not within the same family. Trombone plays his nicknamed instrument, of course, as well as Trumpet, Drums, and Percussion. Joey plays the guitar, Dwayne plays the Trombone, Pete plays Percussion. This I witnessed last year as they rotated instruments at The House of Blues in the 2011 Jazzfest. I missed that element this year, but ever evolving they more than made up for it at the end of the show with a rousing version of “When The Saints Go Marching In”. After a few bars of the song, Joey dismantled his drum set and gave parts to the percussion to Mike, Pete, and Big D.
The band formed a line in front of the stage and continued the song ‘ala New Orleans styled Jazz, then picked up their instruments and left the stage to march around the entire theater playing the song. The house lights went up, hands and handkerchiefs went up, and all had an amazing time. For those who have seen him before we were totally blown away and delighted. And for those who have never seen him before? Well, let’s just say he has a whole new fan club. After the show they signed autographs, walking straight from the back of the house to the front, no heavy security, no intimidating personnel. Smiles, skips, high fives, handshakes, and genuine camaraderie as they shook hands and “Squeezed and Cheezed” as I say [hugs and pics]. The merch table was 100% sold out of CD’s in less than 45 minutes, so I happily purchased an LP [yeah, how novel!], got my autograph, and will put it on my wall of fame. [last pic from coolcleveland’s slideshow..I was still stage left]
Tri-C Jazzfest this year, as in the previous 32 has brought great music night after night. There has not been a single event where the audience was left without laughing, clapping, dancing, cheering, and experiencing the richness of live musicianship from some of the best artists on the planet.
At the time of this posting, there is only 1 night left, and it is sure to be Amazing. NOPE, not gonna tell you who it is.. go to http://www.tricpresents.com and see for yourself. Then, JOIN US
You will NOT be disappointed.
In Rhythm and Blue
2012 Tri-C Jazzfest