Text: Beverly Packard
Photo: Michael C. Packard
Gerald Veasley’s Jazz Base was the intimate venue for two life-long friends to come together and enjoy blending the music they both love. Bobby Lyle and Paul Jackson, Jr brought the house down with a rousing tribute to Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery. With them was the talented Mark Prince on drums.
At times soft and poignant, at times unbelievably intricate and boisterous, this dynamic duo easily held our attention for the night. In between the songs of Montgomery and Smith, Jackson and Lyle shared stories of the past, making the show interesting and educational as well as entertaining.
Early in the show Jackson credited Bobby Lyle with his decision to pursue becoming a musician. By the look on Bobby’s face, it was easy to see he couldn’t be more pleased that Jackson has been part of his circle and was there with him on stage. Often exchanging knowing looks and smiles in appreciation of each other’s playing, their special relationship in music was very evident.
One of Jackson’s stories involved his father, who, upon hearing that Jackson had played with the likes of Cher and later Whitney Houston and many other top stars, would give a proper nod of approval, but when Jackson told his father he was involved in a Jimmy Smith project, his dad’s eyes widened and he said, “REALLY??” Jackson’s father sat in the audience for this show and we found him to be a most charming man in talking with him after the show.
In addition to Montgomery and Smith classics, which included Caravan, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Round Might, Blues for Dexter, Bumpin' on Sunset and Road Song, they did an original tune, a real crowd pleaser entitled, Jump In. Walk on the Wild Side rounded out the set and although the crowd was ready for more, it was time to end, since another fortunate group of fans was scheduled to join them for the later show.