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Festivals Report

#SJZSummerFest: Glen David Andrews Band

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Glen David Andrews - Photo by Tomas Pena

Saturday, August 8, 2015 (Day 2)
Kaiser Permanente Main Stage

One of the delights of covering a music festival is discovering talent worthy of wider recognition. That was the case when I made my way to the Kaiser Permanente Main Stage in beautiful downtown San Jose, as Glen David Andrews’ band was about to take to the stage.

Not being familiar with his music, I looked Andrews up and stumbled on the following quote: “Aside from being a great musician, Glen David has absorbed a fading tradition,” says Ben Jaffee, who runs Preservation Hall (New Orleans), where Andrews performs regularly. “He’s a link for his generation to something important, but he also has a rare enthusiasm and energy that makes it all special and exciting even for the casual listeners.” Though most contemporary band brass band musicians have embraced the more funk and pop-oriented sound of say, the Rebirth band, a shift that began some 30 years ago, Andrews always includes some of the old rhythms, spirituals, and trad-jazz tunes in his performances.

Glen David Andrews is also known for pushing the envelope. “People think I’m New Orleans,” said Andrews during an interview with music photographer Jim Gilbert, “But I’m always going to be New Orleans because I was born there. That’s the Tremé neighborhood; that’s 200 years of culture. I’m not afraid to play Gospel in a bar room, and I’m not afraid to play Rock in a church. I’m going to push the envelope every day because creatively, that’s where I want to go.”

And push the envelope he did.

Andrews and his band are a force. Their music is an electrifying combination of Funk, R&B, Jazz, Gospel and Zydeco, a joyful, communal noise that prompts, even the most casual listeners to lose their inhibitions, whoop, holler and shake the booty.

The highlight of the performance occurred when Glen David Andrews and saxophonist, James Martin plunged into the audience and started up a second line (parade) and the revelers (including me) were only too eager to follow.

Andrews hails from a long line of musicians and was raised in the church. His remarkable voice, commanding trombone and disarmingly honest manner make him an instant crowd pleaser.

Glen David Andrews - RedemptionHis new recording titled, Redemption is a barn-burning, roof-raising tale of reflection, rebirth, and salvation. “The album also includes a surprise, the radiant voice of the Queen Mother of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, on a rousing version of the joyous hymn, Didn’t It Rain.

“I’d say listen from the first song to the last,” says Andrews, It’s all about life experiences. Everyone’s been through something in life. I wrote it through the worst part of my life and the best part of my life.”

Pick up a copy of Redemption and allow Glen David Andrews to take you higher.

The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest runs From August 7 to August 9, 2015. It’s the South Bay’s biggest cultural event and features 100 shows on 13 stages (and venues) throughout downtown San Jose.

Band Members: Glen David Andrews – (Vocals and Trombone) James Martin – (Sax) Derrick Freeman – (Drums) Craig Adams – (Keyboards) Julius McKee – (Sousaphone and Bass).

glendavidandrewsband.com
Photos: Tomas Peña (click on photos to enlarge)

 

A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.

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Festivals Report

TD Toronto Jazz Festival – June 24 to July 3, 2022

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TD Toronto Jazz Fest 2022

10 Days of Free Shows — Say What!

My TD Toronto Jazz Festival started mid festival, Tuesday, June 28th, early evening. It was all about Juno winners and nominees. The first act, Sammy Jackson and her quartet performing at the TD Main Stage at the OLG Grove.

Sammy Jackson - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Sammy Jackson – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

Sammy Jackson won a Juno for vocal jazz album of the year. Her band, made up of Jackson on Vocals, Thomas Fleming – guitar, Chris Pruden – keys, Mark Godfrey – bass and Ian Wright playing the drums. Jackson sang songs from her award winning 5-track EP With You, featuring original compositions. Sammy Jackson added some songs from her 2016 release, the 5-track EP Take Me Back, to make for an enjoyable hour long performance. Jackson’s songs are about joy, vulnerability, long distance relationships, and love. Jackson blends jazz, R&B, soul and pop with her beautiful voice.

Sammy Jackson - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Sammy Jackson – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

Jackson covers an impressive vocal range, and her phrasing is delightful. Jackson shines on the ballads. I especially enjoyed “Bad Reception” and “Every Time We Say Goodbye”.

Sammy Jackson concluded her show with one dedicated to her son, entitled “Chuckie”, a toddler who happened to be in the audience and made a cameo at the front of the stage. This tune was upbeat and had a happy go lucky, dance groove to get everybody moving.

I spoke with Jackson after the show, I asked her if she noticed the Juno enhancing her career? She said, “I think it’s why I’m here. The Juno increased my exposure. So that’s great. Thank you Juno!”

Kellylee Evans - Photo by Danilo Navas
Kellylee Evans – Photo by Danilo Navas

Kellylee Evans performed the evening of the 28th and I was not going to miss her concert at the TD Main Stage. Kellylee Evans was in great vocal form and in accompaniment with a wonderful band made up of Joel Visentin – keyboards, Mark Godfrey – bass, Rich Grossman – guitar, and Ian Wright on drums.

Evans has suffered some serious physical setbacks in her recovery from a tragic accident in 2013. She has an injury that is effecting her ability to walk and even to stand. She performed the show from a sitting position.

Kellylee Evans - Photo by Danilo Navas
Kellylee Evans – Photo by Danilo Navas

Evans puts her heart and soul into her singing. She is a Juno winner for vocal jazz album of the year for Nina, released in 2010. One of my favourite vocal jazz albums.

This evening, Evans performed songs from her new 5-song EP Green Light as well as many others. A beautiful, dynamic, high energy performance—even from her seated position.

Alexis Baró Quintet - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Alexis Baró Quintet – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

I started off Wednesday, the 29th with the amazing trumpet playing of Alexis Baró. The Alexis Baró Quintet was performing at the TD Stage at Festival Village in Yorkville.

I really enjoy Baró’s trumpet playing. I think he is one of the most expressive players in the Afro Cuban style. Baró performed songs from his new album Ma Raiz.

Larnell Lewis Band - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Larnell Lewis Band – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

I only stuck around for a few of the songs as Joy Lapps and Larnell Lewis were performing at the TD Main Stage at the OLG Grove, a few streets south. It is most unfortunate to have these scheduling conflicts. However, It is amazing to have so much talent at one festival.

Joy Lapps and Larnell Lewis performed on the TD Main Stage Wednesday the 29th – a dynamite performance. The band, made up of Larnell Lewis – drums, Joy Lapps – steelpan, Jeremy Ledbetter – piano, Elmer Ferrer – guitar, Rob Christian – woodwinds, Andrew McAnsh – trumpet and Marc Manhertz – bass.

Larnell Lewis Band with Joy Lapps - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Larnell Lewis Band with Joy Lapps – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

“Rejoice” was the title of one of the songs performed and to hear this band is to rejoice. When I listen to Larnell Lewis play I feel the pulse through my soul. I think this is the most heartful drummer I have ever heard. His music is uplifting, powerful, dynamic, his beats, fills and rhythms, just outstanding. He shares his heart with the audience, nothing is left on the stage. 

Now to get ready for a return to Koerner Hall, after 2 years of isolation, for one of the few ticketed events, the Gregory Porter band. Excited? Yes, indeed!

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