Berks Jazz Fest 2008: Chuck Loeb & Friends

Berks08_Loeb.jpgSunday afternoon there was another special concert, tagged as WJJZ Smooth Jazz 97.5 Appreciation Concert featuring Chuck Loeb with special guests, we got Eric Marienthal and Tom Scott on saxes, Will Lee on bass, Carmen Cuesta on vocals, Matt King on keyboards, Cafe on percussion and Cliff Almond on drums. The show was centered around a laid-back brazil vibe and started out with a few gentle bossa nova tracks with Chuck Loeb playing beautifully on acoustic guitar and his wife Carmen Cuesta on vocals, the gave us their renditions of classics like "Manha De Carnaval", "How Insensitive" and more from composers like Tom Jobin, Luiz Bonfa and others. Additionally they played some of Carmen Cuesta own material, before she left the stage to make room for some groovier playing.

Berks08_Scott.jpgEric Marienthal was playing sax and flute during the first part of the show before he had to leave (he was also scheduled this afternoon to appear with the Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band), so his part was taken over by the legendary Tom Scott who joined the stage to give a nice sax battle with Eric before he went off. Tom Scott played a self-composed, yet unrecorded tribute song to Grover and then "Jive Samba", a track from his current CD Cannon Re-Loaded, a tribute album to his hero Cannonball Adderley. His warm sound and flawless, soulful playing was just great, his music is like an old friend to me that has accompanied me through my life.

Berks08_Cuesta.jpgAnother nice song was Chuck Loeb's "The Music Inside", one of my all-time favorites from Chuck's vast catalog of music. The guitarist was in a good mood and delivered some great solos. The band was top-notch, especially pianist Matt King delivered some beautiful solos, while Will Lee on bass and Cliff Almond on drums laid the solid foundation. This was an excellent concert, I really liked the gentle bossa tunes, they provided a nice change of pace and highlighted another field of music worth listening to, also kudos to Carmen Cuesta who was a special addition to the show.