Berks Jazz Fest 2011: Al Jarreau & George Duke

Saturday evening, two of the biggest stars of the scene were due in the Sovereign Performing Arts Center: Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio were to reunite. Both artists started out in a club called Half Note in San Francisco in 1965 where they performed regularly together, now after over 40 years, they are recreating the magic.

The show was kicked off with Al Jarreau singing "Moanin'", before the George Duke Trio took over with "Brazilian Love Affair". We got the great Michael Manson on bass and Rayford Griffin on drums, forming a world-class rhythm section. George Duke showed why he is one of the most respected keyboard players in the industry with his excellent playing, be it jazz or funk. Al Jarreau came back to give us his version of the Eddie Harris classic "Cold Duck Time" with some of his trademark scatting and vocal antics, then his pop hit "We're In This Love Together" was thrown into the mix for good measure. Then it was George Duke's turn again singing his biggest hit ever (done under the banner of the Clarke/Duke Project) "Sweet Baby", followed by my personal highlight of the concert, the deeply felt "No Rhyme No Reason" where George really pulled all the stops with a cool keyboard solo that started electrically and ended acoustically. After some more Al Jarreau songs, among them the inevitable "Roof Garden", George Duke flipped the switch and launched the funk with "Reach For It", with his keyboard strapped around his neck, he walked out into the cheering crowd. This was a great concert that touched all different kinds of music provided by two classic artists.