Frankly, I was excited about this one for a while. And in the event you get curious about the reason, trust me, once you see who comprises Jazz attack, you need not wonder.
And, of course, I’m a Gerald Albright fan.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’m seeing Gerald by any means. First time I saw him was, ironically, on Spirit; it was for Guitars and Saxes, and then again at Newport Beach, with Jazz Attack. That is to say, he shared the stage with Peter White and Rick Braun. As it were, it made for an interesting show.
I will direct you, very briefly, to my post over at Wine and Jazz about various combo acts. It’s definitely a different shift as far as watching the artists in a combo show, seeing as they have to fit in enough to showcase their individual styles within the same time constraints. And on the Spirit Cruises, Jazz Attack had more than delivered.
Rick Braun, however, pulled out a surprise from his latest album, wherein he pulls out his inner vocalist and gives him a spot at the front center of the stage. While I had known that Rick had a nice set of pipes on him, I am by no means a vocals fan when it comes to jazz. And when it comes to Rick, I am far more inclined to listen when he pulls out Kisses in the Rain or Philadelphia; my weakness for a muted trumpet is obvious, I’m sure. On this cruise, however, Rick made quite an impression. With Philippe Saisse (yes, the same Philippe Saisse of The Girl with Botticelli Eyes…I’d pay a pretty penny to hear that one live), Rick took front and center, and sang Once Upon a Summertime.
And the cruise transformed instantly. I’m no romantic by any stretch of the imagination, but the way Rick sang that got to me. I closed my eyes, and could have sworn that I have reopened them in Trafalgar Square. Another moment, and I could have well been in front of Arc de Triomphe, and I don’t mean the replica by NYU. It’s not so much as the song itself, but the way Rick sings has an uncanny power to shift perspective. And, perhaps, the song reached at a little more than just my inner traveler and, in combination with my hometown’s skyline, it got its own brand of vocal magic.
Always a great sailing on Spirit, and this week…RIPPINGTONS! Aaahh, yes, Road Warriors, here I come.