Berks Jazz Fest 2011: Gerald Albright & Friends

Friday evening, Gerald Albright & Friends featuring Brian Culbertson, Rick Braun, Larry Braggs, Selina Albright and the Berks Jazz Fest Horns was scheduled to appear at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The show started in a relaxed manner featuring the flawless horn playing of the leader, he played "From The Soul" from his current release Pushing The Envelope and "Bermuda Nights" from his debut release back in 1989, that was well received. Next they played one more from the current CD called "I Found The Klugh" featuring guitarist Wayne Bruce on acoustic guitar, before tribute to the late Grover Washington, Jr. was done with a special version of "Winelight".

Then it was time for the first guest, Rick Braun, who appeared from the back of the audience playing his trumpet and walking down the aisle, doing one his own songs, with Gerald Albright joining him, bringing the house down. The he did "Grazing In The Grass", before Brian Culbertson with his trombone entered the stage to do the funky "What Would James Do" - in reference to James Brown - providing some great interaction between the two players and turning up the heat. Next guest was vocalist Larry Braggs of Tower Of Power fame who did the JB classic "Gimme Some More", with the great horn section of the Berks Jazz Fest Horns (John Loos on trombone, Mike Anderson on sax, Rob Diener on trumpet), expanded with Rick Braun and Brian Culbertson, recreating some hot JB grooves. After that, daughter Selina Albright came to the stage and did a great rendition of "It's A Man's Man's Man's World", for me this was the highlight of the whole festival, it was deep and soulful. Glad to hear that Selina Albright is working on her first release due this year. Larry Braggs came back to do the James Brown classic "I Feel Good", and staying in the JB mode, TOP's own "Diggin' On James Brown" allowing Larry to show how funky he is. After this funk fest, things slowed down, after a bluesy intro by Wayne Bruce on guitar, Gerald Albright segued into his signature song "Georgia On My Mind". Then for the finale, the funk was brought back with "What Is Hip", joining everybody on stage. This was a great concert that provided a lot of fun.