Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Kirsten Ferguson
As the crowd in the amphitheater dwindled, the 36th annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center wrapped up with a typically electrifying set by blues guitarslinger Buddy Guy. Sure, some folks had a long, Sunday night drive home to NJ or Philly or wherever ahead or them. Others probably just came to hear Tony Bennett, who delivered a short, but impressive set just prior to Guy. And I’m sure that some jazz snobs, simply turned up their noses, thinking, “Buddy Guy? That’s not jazz.”
And of course it wasn’t jazz. It was the blues, reeled off with grace, ease and consummate showmanship by one of the all-time greats.
Even at the age of 76, Guy has still got it. “I’m gonna play something so funky, you can smell it,” he declared, and working the crowd with the finesse of an expert entertainer, the polka-dot clad Guy and his band fired up such signature tunes as “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” and “Five Long Years,” as well as tributes to his mentors – Junior Wells, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Albert King.