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Festival Review: Berks Jazz Festival 2015


April 16-19, 2015 More Photos By Ronald Hancox HERE


Review By: Nydia Hancox


Liz Hogue

Reading, PA


Jeff Golub Dedication  More Photos 


April 16th at the Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom, This second week of the Fest opened with the Berks All-Star Jam. The Jam is considered one of the crown jewels of Festival as most of the artist from the weekend will grace the stage.  During the set, Kirk Whalum joined vocalist Eliott Yamin from American Idol, on Jr Walkers “Shotgun.’  Musical selections included ‘Cold Duck Time’ and  familiar favorites such as ‘What’s Going On,’ ‘Mustang Sally and Jeff’s first recording, ‘Pick Up the Pieces.’  It was a true Love Fest for Jeff!





Honoring Masters of Fusion -  More Photos

For all Fusion enthusiasts, this show was a journey back in time to an era of riff-based, jazz-rock fusion.  This superb concert honored the musical creations of some of the Fusion Masters, such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul of the famed group Weather Report, and Miles Davis. They started the 11 song set with Bill Evan’s ‘Cross Currents', which featured Alex, Gerald and Chris. Next up ‘Denial’, followed by ‘Tutu’ which evoked powerful memories of Miles. Other selections included ‘Lila’s Dance’, Spellbound, and Chick Corea’s ‘Spain’.  The crowd demanded an encore.  They were brought to their feet with the funky ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’, an original Eddie Harris composition which was later played by Miles. This tune echoed the message, jazz is about freedom, and every artist on that stage put their personal stamp on this song.





Fourplay -  More Photos



Gerald Veasley Midnight after Party Jam Session -  More Photos


Jazz Attack -  More Photos

The latest incarnation of Jazz Attack includes Peter White-guitar, Rick Braun trumpet/fugal horn/trombone and Euge Groove-sax.  Supporting band members onboard this Mother Ship of Funk in- cluded Ron Reinhart-Keys, Nate Phillips-Bass and Eric Valentine-drums. From the first note played, the band exploded into high gear, featuring tunes from each of their albums. Braun was brilliant on trombone during the "James Bond Theme" while Peter donned his sun glasses and electrified the crowd.  They played a tribute to funk band Tower of Power, which both Euge and Rick were once members. A surprising addition to the band was vocalist Elliot Yamin, former American Idol contestant from season five. He joined the group singing "Wildflower, a 1972 classic by Canadian band Skylark.  Elliot enchanted the audience with his soulful voice, continuing his set with original compositions "Gather 'Round" and "Self Control." He belted the 1974 Al Green song, "Take Me to the River," featuring solos by Rick and Euge which moved the standing room only crowd into cheers and standing ovations.





           Remembering Joe Sample -  More Photos


The Tribute to the late Joe Sample was an emotional journey into this jazz legend’s music.  Musicians that graced the stage included Joe Sample's son Nicklas Sample - Bass, Liz Hogue - Vocals, saxophonist  Wilton Felder, former band mate of Sample's Jazz Crusaders, Bobby Lyle - vocalist/piano, Everette Harp - sax, Rick Braun - Trumpet/flugelhorn, Jeff Bradshaw-trombone, Randy Jacobs - guitar, Jay Williams JJ -drums, and Doc Gibbs - percussion.



Bobby and the band members seemed to embody the spirit of Mr. Sample, as they proudly played his songs.  They played for two-hours, taking turns paying tribute to this man who meant so much to them.  Bobby Lyle had one of the most moving moments of the evening with his rousing improvisation.  He prefaced his piano solo by saying "I had kinda planned out what I was going to do with this solo piano here, but I really don't know, I'm just going to let the spirit move me." Sample's son Nicklas was a constant force on the bass, and easily summoned the spirit of his father. Liz Hogue sang a few tunes with her powerful vocals, including "I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today," a Joe Cocker song the Crusaders made popular.  She later brought the house down with her stirring rendition of Street Life.  The entire audience took to their feet!  To quote Bobby once again, "Joe's musical personality is here for all time and for all generations to experience, We can YouTube him forever."







 Nick Colionne  - More Photos












Marion Meadows and Paul Taylor - More Photos













Sunday Brunch Elan Trotman Joey Sommerville Jeff Bradshaw - More Photos


























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