Berks Jazz Fest 2011: Richard Elliot & Norman Brown

The first major show for me was the concert by guitarist Norman Brown and saxophonist Richard Elliot who for the first time were co-headlining a show. I saw some familiar faces in the band like Ron Reinhardt and Gail Jhonson on keyboards and Dwight Sills on guitar, they seemed to have taken members of both bands to back the two main players. They kicked off the show with a smashing cover of EWFs "Getaway", before Richard Elliot took over to do the first half of the show, keeping the groove with "Rock Steady", "Move On Up" and others, then did his nod to Grover with "Inner City Blues". A Richard Elliot show would not be complete without "When A Man Loves A Woman" and - despite having played this song numerous times - did it in a totally convincing and heartfelt manner, bringing the house down. Another great part of the show was his version of "A Night In Tunisia" which was jazzy and swinging, providing a nice change of pace. He finished his part with Eddie Kendrick's "Keep On Truckin'" before Norman Brown took over, playing the title track from his newest CD Sending My Love, and the great uptempo latin song "Play Time" from the same album, before revisiting the After The Storm album - another must-have album. He performed Kenny Loggins' "Celebrate Me Home" as a reference to his daughter currently doing military service in Iraq. Another highlight was the part where he payed tribute to his main influences Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery and - you guessed it - George Benson. The he did a P-funk style song, before Richard Elliot joined him for the finale. This was a great show by two consummate veteran artists of the scene.