Berks Jazz Fest 2007: Soul Summit

Berks07_SoulSummit.jpgSaturday evening another one of those concerts you can only experience at Berks was due with Soul Summit, a star-studded event dedicated to Soul music celebrating an important part of American heritage. Jason Miles assembled some musical legends and some outstanding current players. Among the legends were bass player Bob Babbit and guitar player Reggie Young, who both have played on many unforgettable classics. Both must be in their 70ies, so Bob Babbit preferred to do the performance sitting. The world class band was completed by Steve Ferrone on drums, Sherrod Barnes on guitar, Jason Miles on keyboards and a horn section consisting of David Mann on sax, Karl Denson on flute and saxes and Barry Danielian on trumpet. They kicked off the show with an instrumental featuring David Mann on sax, before playing "Memphis 2000" from Jason Miles, followed by Herbie Mann's "Memphis Underground" featuring Karl Denson on flute, a track which featured Reggie Young back in the day. Later vocalists Mike Mattison (from the Derek Trucks Band) and Susan Tedeschi came to the stage to sing a few songs, among them "Song Of A Preacher Man", which was done justice by Susan Tedeschi who admittedly was a bit reluctant to tackle this giant classic song. The great songstress Maysa gave us "What A Man", then surprise artist Richard Elliot came to the stage infusing lots of energy into the show playing "Chicken & Waffles" (from the Jason Miles CD Mr. X which featured the late Grover Washington Jr. on the album) and a great version of Junior Walker's "Shotgun". Another outstanding artist was the great Karl Denson who contributed several powerful solos on the saxophone and helped to raise the bar a notch. At the end of the show a tribute to James Brown was due in the form a medley covering songs like "I Feel Good" and "Sex Machine" with Karl Denson taking the JB part bringing a memorable performance to its end. This was another special evening and Jason Miles has to be applauded for pulling such events off. I look forward to what he has in store for us at next year's festival.