The John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival held on September 1st -2nd began with the Coltrane Youth Jazz Workshop. Every year they are always the festival openers. Following them were the 2018 Coltrane Jazz All Stars spearheaded by the director of Jazz Ensemble at North Carolina A&T State University Mondre Moffett. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans had the crowd on their feet with their funky big band grooves. Grammy nominated Jazzmeia Horn blew onlookers away with her incredible jazz vocals. The rain made its way in and even caused a brief break in the performances, but in the end it didn’t stop the music. Renowned guitarist Lee Ritenhour was everything fans expected. Gregory Porter graced the stage with his fabulous band and flawless vocals to end the evening. It was the perfect finale to a day of incredible music. The last day of the festival included vocalist and guitar player Jackie Venson, Michelle and Ravi Coltrane, Diane Reeves, and Pete Escovedo with Sheila E.
Phil Perry has a voice that is timeless and intoxicating. For decades, the storyteller has created music and moments never to be forgotten. Phil has shared his gift with artists such as Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan. The legendary Al Jarreau fondly referred to Phil as the “real deal,” a sentiment everyone shares. “Breathless” is Perry’s 12th album, and quite honestly, it will take your breathe away. Collaborating with his long time friend and producer, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, once again proved to be a formula for success. Phil says that with them, it’s about “friendship and relationship. However, the music is paramount.” He says his music feels like home. When listening to songs like “Someday We’ll Meet Again,” “Moments In The House Of Love,” and his cover of “Loves In Need Of Love Today,” you are sure to feel the same way. On “Breathless,” Phil says: “I’m just a mouthpiece.”
Fourplay: a legendary group that needs no introduction, much like its iconic band members Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason, and Chuck Loeb. The rarity of a group sustaining longevity and success for twenty five years is virtually unheard of these days. Even more remarkable, each member is successful and has amazing careers individually. To celebrate the timeless essence of this group, Fourplay will release “Silver” on November 20th, 2015. “Silver” is a collection of all original songs quite apropos by representing silver in some manner. Former members of the group Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenhour were asked to join the project for this monumental recording. Additionally, long time friend of the group Kirk Whalum lent his one-of-a-kind sound to “Silver.” Bob, Nathan, Chuck, and Harvey share an undeniable cohesive bond and share language that illuminates with every note they play.
I spoke with guitarist Chuck Loeb about the groups’ “Silver” anniversary: