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Bob Thomas


Theeeee Concert

Theee concert of the year was just held at Norfolk’s Town Point Park…..The Norfolk Jazz Festival!!  OH MY GOODNESS!!!  WHAT A SHOW!!  Not one but two nights of jazz fusion/contemporary jazz.  As the kids say or used to say…IT WAS OFF THE CHAIN or HOOK or something!!!  I don’t know what it was off but I do know, (in plain English) it was good!!  Friday night featured Lonnie Liston Smith, Tom Browne, Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws and Wayne Henderson.  They were billed as the Giants of Jazz Fusion and giants they are.  Each artist took the stage individually, and played some of their hits.  The artist that was on stage introduced the next artist (Lonnie intro’d Tom, Tom intro’d Roy, etc).  The band backed up each artist thereby eliminating set up time in between sets.  They flowed from one artist to the other with no lag time in between.  The roadies were loving it!!  They set the stage up to start and broke it down at the end and got PAID!  The finale was all these giants playing together as one, song after song after song.  Ronnie Laws even played two horns (tenor and alto sax) at the same time!!  The only person on the stage under the age of fifty was the drummer Lee Pearson and he took playing the drums to another level……blindfolded balancing one drum stick on his head while playing like a madman with the other hand and two feet.  The man never missed a beat!!!!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!  These cats played classic songs like “Expansions,” “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” “Jamaica Funk,” “Always There” and “Keep That Same Old Feeling.”  The audience and I were mentally transported back to the 70’s and 80’s by an everlasting timeless groove.  Add to that the gentle continuous breeze blowing across the Elizabeth River that made the heat of the day bearable and you have a trip that was inspired and blessed by God.  Even my wife left me alone cause she knew I had been waiting for this night a long time.  She hung out with Theressa Brown and Cocoa Butter........ hmmmmm.  I don’t think they heard any of the music, they were going from VIP tent to VIP tent to free food stand to everything in between.  By the time I saw them (at the end of the show), my thoughts were “man, if this was the 70’s or 80’s, all of y’all would be coming with me tonight.”  Later, I was re-living the show with my wife Pam and she had no idea what I was talking about.  She didn't see or hear any of what I was talking about.  I don’t know who had more fun……..ME or THEM!!  The entire evening was surreal.  Good people, good music, and good times. ……. and it continued on Saturday night.  That’s right, day two of the Norfolk Jazz Festival.  It featured saxophonist Pamela Williams (whose personality was as bubbly as the day was hot), Fattburger (whose latin infused grooves were the only thing hotter than the day) and Jeff Lorber Fusion (who brought the cool to close out a hot day) featuring Eric Marienthal  and Hampton Va’s own Ronnie Jenkins (on bass).  TWO GLORIOUS NIGHTS OF JAZZ AT TOWN POINT PARK IN NORFOLK, VA!!  I wish I could back those nights up and repeat them but like Suga says, “I can’t do this!” (you had to be there to understand).  Lord willing, I can't wait till next year's Norfolk Jazz Festival.

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07/26/2010 12:30AM
Theeeee Concert
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