Let us not forget – The Blues came before Jazz.
The Jazz purists cringe at the ‘not Jazz’ genres at The Montreal International Jazz Festival. The artists who ply their crafts to be near the top of their specific genre, often shunned by the Jazz stuffy shirts.
In 2016, at the 37th edition – it was The Blues stage which, night after night, attracted the largest amount of knowledgeable music lovers. Take that Jazz !
One of those acts was The Justin Saladino Band with guest – Jamiah Rogers. An outfit and ‘duo’ young in years yet very long in talent. Justin from Montreal and Jamiah – straight from the home of The Blues; Chicago, Illinois.
Saladino and his troupe started things off with ‘Nobody’s Fault but Mine’. The Nina Simone cover which was filled with the Gospel element profound in Simone’s version. Justin proving in the first four minutes, he is not just another Blues guy from Montreal.
‘Blackhead Bone’ – the Albert Collins’ tune picked up where the first song left off. Elevating the groove and energy into heights normally reserved for guitars and bands of much later years. Saladino providing calm within sparkling solos. An experience beyond his years welcoming the masses in.
‘Purple Girl’ – an original track from Justin’s debut disc, shredding any pretense of a cover band on stage. The hook, the melody and chorus – straight from the late sixties / early seventies era when Blues, Funk and Rock merged in the West Coast. Purple Girl is one of those songs which should be on radio. Crossing into friendly territory as it tosses it’s Bluesy roots into shadows and struts it’s stuff. Another sad case of Montreal radio not taking care of their own.
‘Feelin’ Alright’ ended the Saladino’s band’s segment. An easy groove which magnetized the pull of the band. A sound which drew more and more spectators to the stage. Justin pouncing on the opportunity to raise his prowess on the five string instrument. Easy stuff for a guitar officiendo.
‘Jamiah Rogers’ – he of Chicago origins, he of Gary Clark Jr. studies upped the ante in the high stakes Blues poker game. The Ace in the sleeve. The ‘Heart’ of the Blues.
‘Something About You Girl , an original – ripped the joint up. Saladino and his band, already loose, providing the controlled sloppiness to Jamiah’s frantic energy. Rogers – once more, upping the ante and venturing to the front of the stage to sparkle in the Montreal lights. Sounds of Buddy Guy and Hendrix emerging from the amps. Rogers creating and increasing the energy with every note. Setting the stage for …
“It’s All Right to Cry’.
A slow Blues filled with passion and sorrow within happiness. Emotion reigned as Rogers’ vocals implanted another talent into the psyches of the crowd. Jamiah – a true student of The Blues and a guitar wonder. His solo reaching epic proportions as he attempted to and succeeded in reaching new heights.
“Irish Bordello’ and ‘No Worries’ saw Justin do his ‘thang’. Rogers departing and becoming the student offstage as Saladino played his hand. Combined with finesse and an intricate style of playing. Saladino laid a ‘straight’ onto the Blues table. At the end of the match – Saladino and Rogers came to a draw. The friendly competition completed and outlaws created.
“Everyday I Have the Blues’ – the B.B. King classic, a celebration of both men’s talents. Together, two future stars – enjoying and sparring in a genre that started Rock n Roll.
A genre that preceded Jazz and The 37th Edition of The Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Take that purists !