African American, Angela Winbush, Blues, Jazz, Jazz Funk, Joe Johnson, Neo Soul, Roy Ayers, Tom Browne
What’s up everyone … as you can see I’m a tad bit late with the review from this weekend music festival in Chattanooga. Here you go …
Once I arrived at the second annual festival on this lovely unseasonably cool fall like Saturday evening I heard this powerful yet unfamiliar voice singing from a distance with swagger normally displayed by veterans. As I approached the stage area I immediately notice this stunning young lady working the crowd with her bubbly charm and colorful personality I couldn’t help but notice her red dress with these huge white polka dots worked the audience as her band jam even with the seasoned vets yet to come. Her name, get this Algebra from Atlanta, GA. Unfortunately, for me I was only able to catch one song yet and extended version by her. However, the performance I caught was a twenty minute jam session well worth everyone’s time to engage in the music of this super talented young performer.
On slate at the second spot for the evening was the talented Mississippi born and raised blues man vocalist/guitarist Vasti Jackson. What a delight this guy is, he’s definitely not your fathers blues man. Vasti has skills galore, his smooth vocal style is complimented, fashionable attire and his strong presence on the guitar as a soloist makes this time well spent with the brother from Mississippi.
Before the next set, I was also honored to meet Joe Johnson [saxophone/music director] out of Nashville, TN and chat with him before his performance. During the conversation Mr. Johnson seemed to be a little apprehensive about the show because his regular keyboardist and guitarist couldn’t make it to the gig. However, the two new cats in the band proved to be solid players and welcomed addition to the stage and performance. On the opener, Johnson and company appeared on the stage to set the atmosphere with a serious helping of smooth jazz, R&B and instrumental hip-hop with a blazing funk vibe penetrating the heart and souls of music enthusiasts on ML King Blvd. After all, one must consider this with two solo records under his belt “Life of The Party” [debut] and “The After Party” his second offering [soon to be released] Mr. Johnson and the crew was paved the way for a tasty dose vibrant music for the evening. Joe Johnson is without question is one of the humblest people you’ll every meet with good people skills as he not only played his behind with his personality and showmanship made this another entertaining set.
After Johnson heated up the crowd the lovely and talented Angela Winbush, came to the stage in full force. As I listen to this dynamic vocalist/songwriter/producer for the first time I was impressed with Angela’s anointed and powerful vocals and her seasoned ability to set the stage on fire with her impressive palate of songs like “Angel, Your Smile, Ill Be Good” and on and on this songstress alone was worth the price of admission. By the way, Joe Johnson is her music director [four years now] and his band backed up Ms. Winbush for the concert.
Finally, just after Eleven PM the legendary duo and hit makers vibe-master Roy Ayers, and trumpeter Tom Browne [and band] grace the stage in rare form with an abundance of funk filled jams, dipped with a toxic blend of improvised jazz, and Ayers signature vocals was a long time coming to see and hear live for music fans. Out of the gate, Ayers & the band came with the classic “Searching.” Soon followed by “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” which introduced trumpet master Tom Browne to the stage to set this groove on fire! Of course, “Funkin’ for Jamaica” dig it for a lot of folks. The band alone showcase talent to savor for not only the moment but years to come, these cats can bring it the best. One of the memorable highlights of the set was Ayers featuring Tom Browne on Marcus Miller’s “Tutu” by Miles Davis. Later on, songs like “Running Away, Mystic Voyage, We Live in Brooklyn Baby, Love Will Bring Us Back Together & You Send Me” where adored by the crowd. Folks, its like this I was through, done, absolutely exhausted by this mind blowing performance by Ayers, Browne and Roy’s killer band. Jazz/funk music lovers, do yourself a favor and check these cats out at a venue near you!