LIVE: Bridge Jazz Festival (Day Two) @ Massry Center for the Arts, 2/25/17
Review & photographs by Rudy Lu
Additional photograph by Glenn Kaplowitz
Opener Cyrille Aimee and headliner Maceo Parker teamed up at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts to deliver a very energetic closing night of the third annual Bridge Jazz Festival.
The utterly charming Aimee did not bring her usual band of guitars and bass with her. Instead, she led a quartet featuring trumpet, keyboard, drums and bass known as the Surreal Band. “It is kind of reunion,” remarked the vocalist. They were clearly having a good time, and selections from all of Aimee’s recordings were given a good workout.
Veteran saxman Maceo Parker – still sprightly and undeniably funky at the age of 74 – led his crackerjack band through a history of rhythm and blues – complete with plenty of the dance moves. That came as no surprise as Parker and the members of his band represent the entire history of the genre, and their sweat-inducing performance included covers of hits by everybody from James Brown to Ray Charles, from George Clinton to Marvin Gaye.
Long time band members Rodney “Skeet” Curtis (bass) and guitarist Bruno Spreight formed the backbone of the band. Curtis was sitting down while laying down a solid groove foundation, while Spreight provided the readily recognizable melodies, highlighted by a nifty medley of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On“ and George Benson’s “Breezin’.”
Mal Boulware added more finesse on his keyboards, while vocalist Darliene Parker and trombonist Greg Boyer often acted as back-up singers, and on occasion they were joined by Parker himself, showcasing some classic soul dance moves.
Drummer Nikki Glaspie kept the groove going and was given the opportunity to show her chops with one high-energy solo.
It was hard not to dance. Parker had much of the audience in the front of the stage dancing with abandon at the end of the performance – including Cyrille Aimee and her band who stayed to join in the funky dance party.
It was well worth driving through an unusual February thunderstorm, and a good time was had by all.
NOTE: Maceo Parker is slated to return to Greater Nippertown for Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, teaming up with the Ray Charles Orchestra and the Raelettes for a tribute to the Genius of Soul on Sunday, June 25.