Berks Jazz Fest 2009: Kirk Whalum & Gerald Albright

Saturday early afternoon saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Gerald Albright celebrated the Sax For Stax, among other things on their show which took place in the Plaza Reading Hotel Ballroom (formerly the Sheraton). As they let us know during the show, they will spend the whole year touring the country and are prepared to bring their music to the fans. Some songs were performed in tandem, while on others they alternated as leaders. They were backed by a stellar band, among them bassist Melvin Davis and guitarist Gary Goin, providing the perfect background for them to shine. The gamut of songs was wide and reached from older classics out of their catalogs to more unexpected songs. Highlights were Gerald Albright's rendition of "Georgia On My Mind" and a lengthy tribute to the saxophonists who influenced them - from Cannonball Adderley to Maceo Parker - which not only was very entertaining, but also revealed the tremendous background of these artists. Both were in a great playing mood, the camaraderie was evident, and all involved - players and audience - had a great time.