Saturday afternoon, Smooth Jazz 92.7 who are a festival sponsor, hosted their traditional fan appreciation concert with the double bill of Gregg Karukas, followed by Kim Waters with special guest Maysa.
This was the third time Gregg Karukas appeared with his own band at the Berks Jazz Fest, featuring John Whitney on guitar, Jay Delaney on bass, Shannon Ford on drums, and most notably Brad Collins on saxophone, who is a music teacher for 27 years and plays with Gregg Karukas on his east coast gigs. They kicked off the show with "Severna Park" and "Nightshift" providing a smooth and easy grooving start to the show. His current CD "GK" was prominently featured and all members of the band got their opportunities to shine, especially Brad Collins on saxophone turned out to be an excellent and very expressive player, being a great part of the show. They slowed down things a little bit with a solo version of "Sound Of Emotion", before turning up the heat towards the end of the show where the band was grooving hard, with Gregg having his portable keyboard around his neck, bringing the house down. During several parts of the show, the band was supported by the ever reliable Berks Jazz Fest Horns.
After a short intermission, saxophonist Kim Waters took the stage, he captured the crowd immediately with his trademark urban smooth jazz sound and songs like his current "For Lovers Only". After the first three songs, songstress Maysa entered the stage singing a song from her current CD "A Woman In Love", she was supported by her background singer Angela Phillips, while Kim Waters provided some really tasteful background playing on the sax, complementing Maysa perfectly.
Another highlight was "Honey Bee" where Maysa's vocalizing was out of this world, in parts reminding me of Al Jarreau. Then it was Kim Waters' part again with "Reaching Out", his current single, which morphed into Bob Marley's "Jamming" in a very cool way. Maysa came back to sing her classic "Deep Waters", composed by Bluey from Incognito. The band consisted of his brother James Waters on bass, Allan Smith on keyboards and Gary Grainger on drums. On a side note, it was also Kim Waters' birthday that day which was reflected in a birthday cake with candles and a nice rendition of "Happy Birthday" delivered by surprise guest Chuck Loeb and Maysa at the end of the show.