Berks Jazz Fest 2013: Gerald Veasley's Sounds of Philly

Saturday afternoon at 2pm, we were in for a treat with Gerald Veasley's Sounds of Philly featuring a string of guest artists, celebrating the music of Philly created by Gamble and Huff on their seminal PIR label during the 70ies and 80ies. Bassist Gerald Veasley not only hails from Philadelphia, he played for several years with the late saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. who was from Philly as well, so he was well entitled to do this tribute show to this golden music era.

The show was opened with "T.S.O.P" originally done by M.F.S.B., it featured saxophonist Chris Farr and the Berks Jazz Fest Horns. Next was Teddy Pendergrass' "Love T.K.O." featuring guitarist Nick Colionne who looked awesome in his pink suit with tails, confirming his status as best dressed man in show business, he did the song justice with his soulful, Wes inclined playing. Things were speeded up a bit with "I'll Be There", also played by Nick Colionne, who took the opportunity to fool around with Gerald Veasley with some crazy interplay during one segment of the song. Things slowed down when songstress extraordinaire Carol Riddick came to the stage to do her heartfelt renditions of Phyllis Hyman's "Old Friend", followed by "Don't Let It Go To Your Head", originally done Jean Carn. After that, it was time to cover Grover Washington, Jr.'s "Let If Flow" which featured Chris Farr on tenor sax, giving also Gerald Veasley some solo space on the bass, he took the opportunity to throw in the bass line of "For The Love Of Money", after that things slowed down with Phil Perry, who tore up Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew". They closed their first half of the show with "Wake Up Everybody", featuring husband and wife duo Kindred The Family Soul.

After the intermission, the show was continued with Grover's "Winelight" featuring Chris Farr, a cherished classic of this artist, before we continued to dig deeper into the PIR catalog. Nick Colionne and Phil Perry were summoned onto the stage to do "Say It", before Phil Perry and Carol Riddick did "You Are Everything" as an emotional duet, showing their vocal prowess. This intense moment inspired Gerald Veasley to do a song off the set list, his own "Forever" featuring his bass, which always is a highlight of his show. Kindred The Family Soul came back to raise the soul factor, doing some of their own songs, before Phil Perry did one of the ultimate PIR classics in the form of "Love Don't Love Nobody", bringing the house down. The show was brought to an end with Kindred The Family Soul doing "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" bringing the crowd to their feet. An encore was demanded and given, it was the grande finale with everyone on stage doing "Love Train", which brought a great show lasting over two hours to an end.