Berks Jazz Fest 2007: Guitars & Saxes

Berks07_GuitarsSaxes.jpgThe final show of the festival took place at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Sunday evening with Guitars & Saxes, combining the talents of sax players Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum and guitarists Jeff Golub and Tim Bowman. They had a stellar band featuring Ricky Lawson on drums, Nate Phillips on bass and Marlon McClain on guitar plus keyboards. This band came here to play and you could feel the energy and fun they created. The show was kicked off with each of the main artists stepping to the stage playing a short sample of one of their hits segueing into the next song, instantly creating a good vibe. Kirk Whalum played several songs from the Babyface songbook and his current #1 song "Give Me The Reason", while Jeff Golub performed some songs from his brand new release Grand Central which was released only a few weeks ago, delving deeply into Blues territory. Gerald Albright played his favorites "So Amazing" and "My, My, My" to the delight of the crowd, one woman even brought him a bouquet of flowers to the stage which touched him visibly. Tim Bowman for me was a most welcome addition to the band, his Wes-styled playing is outstanding and his hit song "Summer Groove" - being a favorite of mine - was a great musical moment to hear live. Then they slowed down things a little with an unplugged segment of the show where they sat on stools next to each other playing their instruments imaging they were sitting in someone's living room just having a good time, among the songs played was a great version of "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" and the great "Mojito" from Jeff Golub's new CD. Towards the end of the show hit was following hit, but they relied exclusively on cover versions completely ignoring their own catalog of music, virtually turning into a "Greatest-Hits-Music-Review" which was okay with the crowd who were all up, clapping, dancing and singing, bringing a truly great festival to an end.