/* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; padding-top:15px; line-height: 1.6em; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; text-align: center; } -->

Friday, January 23, 2009

Solid Couple, Thicke, With Hits, Estelle Shines

Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival: Nite 1
Transport delays (memo to self: when not driving and relying on point-to-point transportation, factor in xtra time) meant that my arrival at the Aqueduct on Thursday night was in time to hear the last couple of selections from British import & Jon Legend protege Estelle. Seemd pleasant enough, but als ocame off as if she was trying (a bit) too hard. Definite potential as an artiste however, and i look forward to her growth.

Call me "Mr Mid-life" but Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson were the pick of the nite's acts - polished, but not stiff, voices perfectly on point and in key, and total rapport withthe audience - even when Ashford too ksome time after doing a rousing version of "Let's Go Get Stoned" to talk about their breakthrough at motown in the 60s. That preceded a medley of the hits form that era including "Ain't Nothin Like the real Thing (marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrelle) and Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Diana Ross), all of which flowed from the duo's golden pens.

Simpson, confidently sporting a revealing dress (slit thigh-high) in contrasting shades of green, also did great justice to another composiiton - "I'm Every Woman" (Chaka Khan, then Whitney houston) and they als odid "Any Street Corner" and a few more before exiting - certainly prematurely for this writer.

Robin Thicke came to please and from the get-go, the modern-day blue-eyed soul man had the jazz fest ladies eating out of his hand. I naddiiton to the smash "Lost Without You" and "Complicated" from his breakthrough CD, "The Evolution of Robin Thicke" he also laid down the funk in covering D'Angelo's "Brown Sugar" and the soul, with Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" Thicke closed with a snippet of his latest hit "Magic" before exiting, bathed in sweat.

Also entertaining - albeit in a more stripped-down, slower mode - was Morgan heritage lead vocal Gramps, earning kudos from the crowd.

headliner Matisyahu seemed genuinely eager to give a good account on his maiden Jamaican outing, but his edgy stew of roots reggae, dub, rock and chants, while sonically engaging, did not connect withthe crowd and the Orthodox singer found himslef singing to a vastly dwindled crowd even before his final selection.

Overall, a good night's entertainment. Let's see what Lionel & Co. can come with tonite

- Michael A Edwards

No comments: