Berks Jazz Fest 2008: Guitars & Saxes

Berks08_GuitarsSaxes.jpgIn the evening "Guitars & Saxes" were due at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. This year, they appeared with a new lineup and new program. Main players were Peter White on acoustic guitar, Jeff Golub on guitar, Gerald Albright on saxophone and Jeff Lorber on keyboards. They had newcomer Jessy J in a supporting role on sax, flute, keyboards and percussion, additionally she provided some welcome eye-candy. On drums was Eric Valentine and on bass Smitty Smith, laying the solid foundation for the artists out front. All artists were drawing material from their vast catalogs, it was very interesting to see that they tried to break free from their smooth jazz routine incorporating new things, most notably were the two tracks from Jeff Lorber, one hard-hitting fusion track from his period as the Jeff Lorber Fusion and a straight-ahead track from his last CD He Had A Had. Great also was Jeff Golub's "Naked City", where he pulled all the stops creating a great live-feeling. Peter White still is the darling of the crowd, his "Bueno Funk" always brings the house down, and his rendition of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" shows where he is coming from. Gerald Albright displayed his clean and slick playing with songs like "My, My, My" and "Georgia On My Mind", always being a favorite of the show. The lovely Jessy J, who just released her debut CD Tequila Moon, played a few sax parts, but never really was featured, but nevertheless proved to be a nice addition to the show. They played almost for two and half hours, ending with the AWB classic "Cut The Cake" - yes, they still can cut it!