Sometimes the shadows are long.
In the case of Jake Clemons (who happens to be the nephew of the late Clarence Clemons of The E Street Band), comparisons will always be there. The fact the saxophone is one instrument that Jake plays, only adds to the mix.
Let’s get one thing straight – Jake Clemons is a star all on his own.
Jake and his band-mates took the stage at L’Astral Wednesday evening on the heels of Jake’s second record (Fear and Love being the first). ‘Eyes on the Horizon’ is the name of the new disc and if art imitates life; everyone better keep their eyes on the horizon to witness Jake eventually disappear into the stratosphere. He is that talented.
Jake Clemons does it all. He writes, he plays Sax, he plays guitar (electric, acoustic), he plays keyboards, he sings, he raps (sorta) and he sends poignant messages. Add effort and passion beyond what most front-men do; Clemons is a beacon of positive energy and his messages are not empty-jump-on-the-bandwagon type stuff. Combined with a band who are equal in their passion – a hair raising concert took place.
Consumption Song, Ayuda, Nothing Left, Regression, We the People and Eyes on the Horizon – all tunes from the new album were delivered with substance. They combined R&B, Funk, Soul, Jazz and even a hint of Country. Clemons displaying his vocal range like a red carpet. Unrolling the power and then delicately walking around the perimeter to balance the soul.
The only time a hint of Uncle Clarence arrives is the introduction of the Sax solo in a song. If the punter did not know of the Clemons connection – a definitive connection to a Springsteen song (with Clarence) would be inevitable. Once that fleeting moment passes, Jake becomes all Jake and his Sax takes the audience on a magical journey. The beauty of a Sax is it’s versatility and the ability for improvisation. Like a paintbrush in the hands of a madman; the Sax runs all over a song with softness and hardness. Jake is the madman with enough sanity to keep things clean.
Rarely does a guy like Jake come along. While outpouring his legacy through certain sounds and the name, it is not something he relies on. On stage or off – Clemons is an artist in progress and his work ethic to grow and learn shines through in a live show. His work ethic leaves a very long shadow …