The John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival in High Point, NC was a wonderful way to spend part of the Labor Day weekend. The festival was jumpstarted by the Coltrane Youth Workshop, followed by The Coltrane All-Star Band. Next up was acclaimed trumpeter, Christian Scott. His performance displayed just how talented a musician he is. He and his band were fantastic. It was about that time when the skies opened up, followed by a brief storm. Although the storm caused a delay in the performances, it also made the temperature about 15 degrees cooler. It was the perfect formula for a beautiful evening, and as the rain stopped, the crowd once again filled the park. Before the show continued, some very talented winners who attended the Coltrane Institute of Jazz and wrote essays were awarded instruments so that they could continue their musical endeavors.
The rain had ceased, and the park was full again as Music Maker Revue came to the stage and showed us how Blues is done in Louisiana. Afterwards, the stage was set for Summer Horns comprised of Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, and Richard Elliot. They came out to a huge round of applause and an audience that endured a storm to see them perform. They opened with “Serpentine Fire,” grooving in harmony with the crowd on their feet. The four were playful and entertaining during their thrilling performance. They did amazing covers of Sly and The Family Stone’s “Hot Fun In The Summertime” and James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” The foursome ended their performance with a medley of old funky tunes and a standing ovation. Last and most certainly not least, the most anticipated artist of the night, the legendary Al Jarreau, made his way to the stage. Without making a sound, he had the crowd on their feet and clapping for him. With cameras flashing and roaring applause, Al greeted the crowd. He sang songs of old and shared a couple of his new ones. As I sat mesmerized and elated, my body never stopped swaying and moving to the sound of his voice. Al and his band of fine musicians were absolutely incredible. It’s a night that I will always remember and treasure. Afterall, I had been graced with a performance by the legendary Al Jarreau.