Berks Jazz Fest 2009: Soul Summit II

Friday evening, Jason Miles presented Soul Summit II, another star-studded event celebrating classic soul music by a great cast. Prior to the show, Jason Miles was given an award by Bob Davis of for his contributions to soul music and his various projects over the years, a sign of appreciation truly deserved. Then Jason Miles introduced the players for Soul Summit II. As last year, backbone of the band were living legends Bob Babbit on bass and Reggie Young on guitar who both played on an endless list of classic recordings ranging from Elvis to Herbie Mann; Steve Ferrone played the drums, while Jason Miles took care of the keyboards. Featured guest artists were saxophonists Eric Darius and Richard Elliot, guitarist Jeff Golub, singers Maysa, Simone and the male duo Soul Survivors from Philly. They recreated some old-school vibes with the first soul-drenched track featuring Jeff Golub on guitar, before Eric Darius entered the stage blowing us away with his youthful energy. Then the Soul Survivors threw us back to the 60's with their Sam & Dave like performance, before Maysa delivered, among others, "Let's Stay Together" the way only she can. Eric Darius played "Knock On Wood" and "Coming Home Baby" before Simone, daughter of Nina Simone, sang a beautiful version of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" with a truly inspired guitar solo by Jeff Golub, and "Love And Happiness", which had people grooving along. Richard Elliot came to the stage and gave us his powerful rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady", followed by Al Green's "A Change Is Gonna Come", putting all his heart and soul into the performance, giving me goosebumps! As a little surprise, Jason Miles sang one song, which led seamlessly into AWB's "Pick Up The Pieces", having all artists together on stage for the rousing finale. This was another truly great show and memorable musical experience as only Jason Miles can put together.