Feburary 12, 2012
Review By: Cheryl Boone
Photos By:Derrick Smith
A Jazz Affair of the Heart II
Featuring: Johnny Gil, Phil Perry, Lori Williams and Pieces Of A Dream
With Valentine’s Day upon us, the sound of love and passion filled the air at Alvin Keels’ Jazz Affair of The Heart Part II on Sunday, at the beautiful Hampton Roads Convention Center. With a lineup which included romantic balladeer Johnny Gill, the very sultry Lori Williams, the group whose name suggests beauty, Pieces of a Dream, and the man whose multi-octave voice is a love language of its own, Phil Perry. The evening was emceed by “The Funniest Man You Don’t Really Know Yet”, Quincy Carr.
To the thrill of many adoring women fans, Johnny Gill was the first to hit the stage. Looking very dapper in black shirt and pants, with a white jacket with black trim, Johnny performed songs like “Rub You The Right Way”, The Gap Band’s “You Dropped A Bomb on Me”, and ” Fair Weather Friends”. And what Gill performance would be complete without his signature, “My, My, My”, to which he asked the ladies wearing “red dresses” to stand and/or come to the front. Those closest to him received a single red rose and returned to their seats floating on air. Before leaving the stage, Johnny paid tribute to the entertainment worlds latest star to leave us much too soon, Whitney Houston. In a tone that expressed his pain at the loss of his friend, Johnny quietly said that hearing of her death was a shock and a tragedy; news that was received while performing with New Edition on Saturday. He stated that God makes no mistakes and he implored everyone to know that God is real and to live each day to the fullest and tell those who are important to you how you feel about them while you can.
Hampton University Alumni, Lori Williams picked up where Gill left off, and took the audience to a quieter, softer place with her sophisticated and enticing vocals on the likes of The Emotions “Don’t Ask My Neighbor”, ”Oleta Adam’s “Get Here”, and the very appropriate “My Funny Valentine”.
Pieces of a Dream further enticed the audience’s loving state. Keyboardist James Lloyd tickled everyone’s musical senses with “Wake up Call”. The group also took the crowd back in time with” Fo Fi Fo”, much to everyone’s delight. Curtis Harmon was in full voice on vocals and drums while saxophonist Tony Watson took center stage and performed a song written by Harmon for his wife entitled “Anywhere You Are”. Watson’s playing was nothing short of beastly and it sent chills through the body bringing the audience to their feet with a flood of cheers.
The last man standing of the night was none other than Phil Perry. Singing the latest collaboration of his and long time friend, Saxophonist/Flautist Najee, Perry performed “Just to Fall in Love”. Before continuing, Perry also expressed his sorrow of the passing of Whitney Houston. Stating that though he never had the privilege of working with Whitney, he was a great admirer of hers and his condolences goes out to her family. Perry, a true romantic, wanted to help the fellows out and accompanied by Pieces of a Dream, he did his own special toe curling renditions of “Betcha By Golly Wow”, “Ride Like The Wind”, “Call Me” and his all time favorite song, The Spinners “Love Don’t Love Nobody”. As I sat and listened to Perry, I waited for glass to break at the octaves he reached and the audience loved.
Between acts, Hampton Roads very own resident comedian, Quincy Carr, delighted and kept the audience laughing and the mood light and upbeat with his, family clean, but still very funny jokes.
Alvin Keels, whose events showcases the talents of both National and Independent Artist, continues to bring great, quality entertainment to the Hampton Roads and surrounding areas. Those in attendance leave with anticipation of his next event, proving that the smooth/contemporary jazz genre is indeed very much alive.
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