Berks Jazz Fest 2009: Joyce Cooling / East Bay Soul

Saturday evening we got the Golden Gate Double-Header, taking place at the Plaza Reading Hotel Ballroom with two concerts in a row.

First was Joyce Cooling who was promoting her brand new CD called Global Cooling, due in stores in one week. Hailing from San Francisco, she and musical partner Jay Wagner on keyboards brought us their brand of sunny, laid-back smooth jazz. She opened the show with some her familiar instrumental tunes, among them "Come And Get It", before featuring some new songs, among them "Cobra" and a nice song called "What Are We Waiting For", just stripped down to guitar and percussion. Another memorable moment of the concert was her performance of the track "Revolving Door", sitting on the edge of the stage. Apart from that, we got our little samba interlude with the whole band at percussion instruments featuring their great new percussionist, before finishing the show with some more familiar uptempo instrumental tracks.

Next were East Bay Soul, a band featuring former of Tower Power trumpet players Greg Adams and Lee Thornburg, plus Michael Paulo on sax and the inimitable Phil Perry on vocals. It was evident that the roots of this band were in funk and soul, the horn arrangements were very reminiscent of TOP. Greg Adams played some great trumpet and flugelhorn solos, bringing back a much welcomed jazz element. The opening track was smoking. Soon, singer Phil Perry was brought to the stage, singing two songs, among them his take on the War classic "The World is A Ghetto". Then, things slowed down a little with Sade's "Smooth Operator", Greg Adams playing beautifully on muted trumpet, paving the way for another great Phil Perry ballad and his rendition of "Walk On By". Then, Greg Adams played a great instrumental featuring him on flugelhorn, classic stuff with some great horns backing him up and a soulful sax solo by Michael Paulo. They wrapped up the show with some TOP classics, yielding one of the best shows of the whole festival.