Live Report : The Stanley Clarke Band, Scranton Jazz Festival (08/06/2017)
Throughout his career, Stanley Clarke has collaborated with many artists serving under different genres of music while also creating his own personal material. At this point, the 66-years old bassist now wears a different hat, having organized a trio of outstanding jazz musicians to accompany him for his new group, The Stanley Clarke Band. Clarke is not only the band’s leader but what may be perceived as a father figure to the group as he brings much knowledge and experience to his fellow band mates who are all thirty years of age or younger.
During the show, it is evident that Clarke has returned to his roots as a jazz bassist, playing mostly extended instrumental jazz pieces. The Stanley Clarke Band consists of drummer Mike Mitchell, keyboardist Cameron Graves, and pianist Beka Gochiashvili. Clarke’s preferred instrument of choice during the night is a double bass in which he masters, running his fingers across the strings with ease while precisely plucking and slapping every note. When the band attempts to make their music feel funky, they succeed by incorporating Graves’ use of the keyboard’s vocoder. Clarke only picks up his electric bass once throughout the main performance, playing an upbeat version of Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”. Clarke also asks trumpet player Nate Birkey and saxophonist Sal Giorgianni from the band Nate Birkey & Friends to join him on stage for an impromptu jam session that quickly energizes the crowd.
Clarke concluded his performance and exited the stage, only to return seconds later equipped with his electric bass for a funk-filled encore. The audience stood, chanted, and danced for the first time as Clarke paid tribute to his late friend and music legend, George Duke. Clarke was overcome with liveliness as he played “Oh Oh” from volume three of the Clarke / Duke Project, as well as his own creative version of George Duke’s “Dukey Stick”. Clarke’s unique bass playing technique and solo performances can almost seduce the crowd into thinking he is playing a six string guitar. As one of the most talented bass players in the world, Stanley Clarke has a rare knack for satisfying various types of ears throughout his show and thrilling all audience members.
- Instrumental Jazz Piece
- Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
- Instrumental Jazz Jam
- Oh Oh
- Dukey Stick
Live Report : Lettuce feat. Chaka Khan, Peach Festival (Scranton, PA) 08/11/2017
For the first time, Chaka Khan paired with the powerhouse funk band Lettuce, for a night that transported the audience back to the 1970’s and 80’s. Chaka Khan and Lettuce complemented each other immensely and should strongly consider joining forces in the future. For those who came to The Peach Festival looking to dance the night away, they received more than they expected.
Lettuce is primarily an instrumental group that relies heavily on their two piece horn section, continuous drum beats, and synthesizers. Prior to Chaka’s appearance on stage, Lettuce warmed up the crowd and got their blood pumping with non-stop funk jams. The band does not shine the spotlight on just one member as each musician contributes equally to the performance, creating sounds with the likes of James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Zapp & Roger.
As Chaka Khan took the stage, it sounded as if Lettuce transformed into Chaka’s former group, Rufus. Chaka was full of energy and joy throughout the entire performance as she belted out her iconic hits that left concert goers with their jaws hanging on the ground. The sound of her voice is stupendous and her vocal range is incredible. Chaka hasn’t lost a beat since she first entered the music scene. Funk is very important to both Lettuce and Chaka and their goal is to keep it relevant. In a world where music Icons are growing sparse, Chaka Khan sets the bar high for what it truly means to be one.
- I’m a Woman (I’m a Backbone)
- Tell Me Something Good
- Love the One You’re With (Crosby, Stills & Nash Cover)
- Sweet Thing
- Ain’t Nobody
Live Report : Chic/Earth Wind & Fire, Philadelphia (08/01/2017)
When the musical elements of the universe, Earth, Wind & Fire join together with an eloquent sound that is Chic, a mesmerizing musical experience forms. Earth, Wind & Fire along with Chic feat. Nile Rodgers are currently traveling throughout the United States to bring audiences a night of soul, disco, and funk that will leave fans with sore feet the following day. The 2054 Tour surely conveys a type of concert that would be seen 37 years from now due to its futuristic stage effects that compliment the timeless music created from the two iconic bands.
Chic’s presence on stage exactly reflects the meaning of the band’s name. The band, led by Nile Rodgers has the appearance of a pristine jazz club band but with an energetic twist. Nile Rodgers narrates the band’s entire performance discussing the development and significances of each song that he helped create. Chic not only delivers their classic hits but also dives into songs that were created through Rodgers’ collaborations with such artists as Daft Punk, David Bowie, Sister Sledge, and Diana Ross. Chic is truly a spectacle to see with Nile Rodgers’ funky chops on his legendary “Hitmaker” Stratocaster, bass player Jerry Barnes’ superb skill of generating alluring beats, and the heavenly voices of singers Folami Ankoanda and Kimberly Davis. Chic not only creates a “Good Time” for concert goers but captivates the audience with their individual and unique skills as musicians, having audience members constantly directing their attention to different members of the group throughout the show.
The second Earth, Wind & Fire takes the stage, audience members are surrounded by sounds and visual effects that would make it appear as if they were transported to another planet. Earth, Wind & Fire consists of eleven talented musicians with three remaining members from the original group : Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey. The band performance is nothing less than extraordinary. Philip Bailey not only astonishes the audience with his magnificent voice and vocal range but adds the group’s distinct sound throughout the concert by playing the kalimba. Bass player Verdine White causes an irresistible sensation for fans to dance as he constantly boogies around the stage thumping his bass. Throughout the performance, each musician in the band takes turns stunning the audience with solo instrumental and vocal performances. It’s truly a family affair as Philip Bailey’s son, Philip Bailey Jr., assists in background vocals as a member of the group while the band pays tribute to the founder of the group and brother of Verdine White, Maurice White. Earth, Wind & Fire truly makes a statement with their performance by showing how an old school band that has been around for over forty years only gets better with age like a fine red wine.
Over the years, each band has created a memorable soundtrack for people’s lives. The 2054 Tour is sure to generate pleasant reflections for long-time fans that grew up during each band’s prime, while also creating a night to remember for everyone in attendance, no matter their age. We can only hope that when we reach the year 2054, performances and musicians like this will still exist.
Chic Set List
- Everybody Dance
- Dance, Dance, Dance
- I Want Your Love
- I’m Coming Out
- Upside Down
- He’s The Greatest Dancer
- We Are Family
- Get Lucky
- Let’s Dance
- Le Freak
- Good Times
Earth, Wind & Fire Set List
- Shining Star
- Get Away / Let Your Feelings Show
- Sing a Song
- On Your Face
- Serpentine Fire
- Kalimba Story
- Can’t Hide Love
- Head to the Sky / Devotion
- That’s the Way of the World
- After the Love Has Gone
- Power / Africano
- Boogie Wonderland
- Let’s Groove
- Fantasy / In the Stone
Live report : The Revolution, Philadelphia (Theater of the Living Arts 04/30/2017)
Amidst all the music award show performances and various artists attempting to pay homage to the Purple One, the greatest live tribute to Prince is currently traveling from theater to theater across the United States, run by his most iconic band, The Revolution. After over 30 years since the band split, they haven’t missed a beat; if anything, they’ve become better with age. Members Dr. Fink and Lisa Coleman electrify the audience with their mastery of the keys while drummer Bobby Z. continues to hold down the rhythm that penetrates through the building. Fans dance and stare in awe as Brown Mark energizes the room as he slaps the funk out of the bass and Wendy Melvoin spews guitar licks that represent her incredible talent with six strings and her musical likeness of Prince. To add flare to the lead vocals shared by both Brown Mark and Wendy, the band has invited Mint Condition’s and Minnesota’s own Stokley Williams to tour with the group, whom Wendy claims was beloved by Prince. Stokley not only aids in providing a falsetto tone to memorable Prince hits but adds his own unique, recognizable voice to classic songs that instantly makes you become a fan of his as well, if not already.
Throughout the performance, Wendy fights back tears as she tells stories about their relationship with Prince and the impact he had on their lives. Lisa and Wendy pay a personal tribute to Prince by providing an instrumental and vocal duet performance of the song all three created together, “Sometimes it Snows in April”. Fans in attendance received an unexpected surprise when the band went deep into The Vault, playing the unreleased songs “Destiny” and “Roadhouse Garden”. The entire night was a celebration, giving fans a taste of what it must have been like to be in a Minneapolis night club in the 80’s.
Sadly, we will have to live the rest of our lives on this Earth knowing that we will never see another prolific live performance from Prince. Luckily, the Revolution has discovered a way to entertain his fans as if he were on stage. It is evident that they will make sure the Minneapolis Sound continues to echo throughout the world.
Take Me With You
Sometimes it Snows in April
Let’s Go Crazy
When Doves Cry
I Would Die 4 U
Baby I’m a Star
Live Report : Prince, Music and Arts Festival (Stockholm, 04/08/2013)
Prince couldn’t have chosen a better day to visit Stockholm. Tonight was one of the most beautiful summernights and the place was packed on this outdoorstage by the waters at the Stockholm music and arts festival. And sure enough, anticipation was in the air. After all, it’s been 11 long years since his last visit. The show is one hour late when suddenly, purple confettia are thrown out on the audience as 3rdEyeGirl takes their place on stage. Right after, Prince walks out on the stage looking like a mixture of Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix with a fringed jacket and a funky hat. “Let’s Go Crazy Reloaded”, the opening song, sets the tone for the whole evening : It’s just Prince and his three ladies on stage performing a furious rock’n'roll show with such energy as if there was no tomorrow.
Prince doesn’t take it the easy way out all the time though : Many of the songs are not exactly the most well-known songs to the majority of the audience. For instance, the fourth song of the set is a loose version of Billy Cobham‘s “Stratus” and right after that, a new instrumental jam called “Spectrum electrum”
It’s not exactly the audience-friendly setlist as 2011 show at the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg. This time around, Prince is treating us with something different and he seems to love every minute of it. He seems genually happy to be on stage tonight and it’s pretty amazing how he still sounds hungry and so energetic after all these years. With no keyboards, horns of backing vocalists to lean against, Prince is also forced to be all the time under the spotlight, which brings out the greatest performance. His backing band featuring Donna Grantis on guitar, Ida Nielsen on bass and Hannah Ford on drums also proved themselves worthy as they interacted musically with a joy and passion equal to the purple master. After a couple of songs in the harder guitar-driven pace, the truly magical glimpse of his genious is shown as he sits down by the piano under the purple spotlight, belting down classics like “The Beautiful Ones”, “Diamonds and Pearls” and a truly magical version of “Something in the Water”.
The rest of the night is one big party with Prince and his sampler as DJ Prince. The bass was so heavy that the speakers nearly broke down ! Encore after encore followed with hits like “U got the Look”, “Take Me With U” and “Raspberry Beret”. “Oooh Stockholm !!!”, shouted Prince out to his crowd as he bowed and said thank you. We thank you right back for a magical evening in the presence of one of the true musical geniuses of our time.
Magnus Goethe (www.theneonromeoz.com/)
- Let’s Go Crazy
- The Love We Make
- I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
- Plectrum Electrum
- I like it There
- The Breakdown
- Piano medley: Diamonds & Pearls/ The Beautiful Ones/ Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)
- Purple Rain
- She’s Always in my Hair
- Cause & effect
- Nothing Compares 2 U
- The Max
- Sampler Set: When Doves Cry/ Hot Thing/ Housequake/ I Would die 4 U/Alphabet St/Sign o’ the Times
- Take Me With U
- Raspberry Beret
- U Got the Look