Chasing Music, Newport Edition: Day 2

Waking up, breakfast – I won’t bore you with those details! But…there is music. LOTS of music!

I will confess, I didn’t catch the entire day’s show. Jeffrey Osborne does not appeal to me, and I had forgone DW3 in order to have a late post-lunch meetup with my ladies and finally meet Tony Exum, Jr.

But…here’s what happened.

Down to the Bone

I love the irony of this one. DTTB is a band that’s best known for its New York City-themed acid jazz. You have Long Way from Brooklyn. You have Staten Island Groove (again, what groove? SI has none, far as I can tell ya). You have the worldwide-known Brooklyn Heights. And the band’s British!

Go figure. :)

So when I came to Newport, I hardly thought that NYC would follow me, but this is the one part of NYC that I wanted to follow. Rufus Philpot’s guest star du jour was none other than Lao Tizer, whom I heard many a great thing about, but never saw live before. Let me put it this way: if Lao Tizer can rock Brooklyn Heights‘s ripples on the piano, then I definitely want to find out more. A great way for me to remember, just when the California jazz atmosphere got under my skin, to remember where I came from.

Vincent Ingala

Now, the jazz scene is an interesting animal. It’s a hit or miss. So when young (and yes, young he is!) Vincent Ingala got tossed into the mix, it was a hit. Pat Prescott’s lines at The Wave 94.7 started lighting up like fireworks. And on Facebook, there was an instant buzz about this guy, a youngin out of Connecticut with a touch on the tenor sax.

Once Lemonade happened, all of us saw the extent of Vinnie’s talent. Instantly, the buzz became a roar.

Now, Newport is something else. Add Bruce Nazarian on guitar, Ricky Lawson, Gary Stanionis, Jervonny Collier and Vincent’s raw, exuberant energy, and you get something that leaves jaw-shaped indentations in the ground. I think the hill of the golf course definitely has mine.

Vincent Ingala. I think that from here on in, just his name alone should be a byword for rocking tenor saxophone, energy, exuberance and plain on-stage chutzpah. You would be amazed at how well he can move;Dave Koz and Brian Culbertson definitely have competition in the live show kick-ass factor. Vince hits the stage ready to rock out, he does the covers and his originals, and his energy is outright infectious. Having a powerhouse all-star band backing him is more than fitting. Vincent Ingala… If he does not have his name in lights one day at the Best Buy Theater, I will be seriously cheesed off.

The way he made It Is What It Is sound, there’s absolutely no question that he was born to be on stage. None what-the-fuck-soever. Next year, when I’m back here again (like there’s any doubt), this guy needs the main stage. Needs, note the word.

In short: I am not worthy. Seriously. And if you haven’t heard him yet, get your arse on iTunes, CDBaby, etc. and get North End Soul. Or else.

Gentlemen of the Night

Considering it was noon, I would have thought they’d at least change up the act name. Kidding, of course. But this was interesting.

Warren Hill, Paul Taylor, and Marion Meadows have their acts. They’re pretty well-established in their own right. So tossing them into a mixed gig was interesting indeed. Paul Taylor, whom I have never seen live, brought out a bit of a saucier take on the alto and soprano. Frankly, I enjoy his music, he flavors it nicely with R&B, and when he needs to get contemplative, he can do it like a master. No On The Move from him, though. Then there’s Warren Hill, who’s raw and up-front with what he wants to convey through his music. Marion, well, is Marion. That’s about all that needs to be said.

However, if I ever meet the soundman for that show, I would conk him over the head. Reason being? Marion finally brought out the tenor sax for the show, and it was bloody inaudible. Paul and Warren would rip into their solos, but time for the tenor, and I’m left asking, what the hell? It’s not as though he doesn’t have the lungpower for it. But when Marion picked up the soprano, lo and behold – no sound issues. Mr. Soundman, thanks for the sour persimmons.

Jazz Attack

Now, I’ve always been a Gerald Albright fan. And a Rick Braun fan. And a Peter White fan. And mixing them together was every bit as much of a treat as I expected it. Peter played his favorites and ours (Who’s That Lady? being mine), and where Rick played it safe with the hits, Gerald picked up the sax and tore into My My My. Oh my indeed.

Norman Brown and Richard Elliott

Now this, ladies and gents, is a game of contrasts. Norman Brown, or Stormin’ Norman as I can call him, has long held a reputation for bringing the highest energy to his shows. And the crowds were up on their feet, dancing, consistently throughout the show last night. It was a long day, people were tired, they went to this show or that, and count it on Stormin’ Norman anyway to get them up on their feet again.

Richard…now, I will not make any bones of this. I’ve said it before and I say it again. When a Man Loves a Woman is one of the cheesiest pieces of music that I’ve ever heard. I didn’t like it when Percy Sledge sang it, I definitely don’t like it when a tenor sax wails it and milks it for all it’s worth. And Richard has to play it at every show.

Yes, he played it at Newport. Tony Exum, Jr. and I were discussing this very part of Richard’s repertoire earlier, and I told him, “If he plays that song, you owe me a drink!” Lo and behold, cabernet time.

But then Richard made up for that moment of Sap Meter overload with A Night in Tunisia. Yes, he went big-band. And that, ladies and gentlemen, put Richard firmly into my Cool Saxmen book, Sap Meter aside. For someone who had built his moxie with the Tower of Power, and who has a solid lineup of good smooth jazz behind him, to go classic is an inarguably good move. Similar to Kirk Whalum going Glenn Miller, a reminder in the style of classic big band is always, always a good touch.

And that, ladies and gents, was my Day 2. Onward to Day 3!



3 thoughts on “Chasing Music, Newport Edition: Day 2

  1. I have been to Newport Jazz Fsst (3) times over the past 6 years… There is always some of the same, and a also special surprises that the balance the festival well.

    Thank You for sharing the events of Saturday. Looking forward to reading about Sunday!


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