Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Year in Review Part Four

The music kept coming.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival got underway and this year was a great mix for fans of all genres.

July

Gary Petersen – the original drummer for The Guess Who (and a man who started drumming before Rock n Roll’s heyday) took some time out to chat about his career and the future of The Guess Who. Petersen has never stopped playing for the band (he owns the name) and along with his mates; the first brand new Guess Who album in twenty years  hit the shelves in September. An educational chat for sure.

Lonesome George Thorogood took time to chat following the release of his first ever solo album (Party Of One) and previous to his show at The Montreal Jazz Festival and Trois Rivieres en Blues.

The word legend is tossed about too easily these days but not in George’s case.  He started his career busking and within three years opened for Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones.

Not too shabby.

Sometimes the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Mary -Lynn Doroschuk just happens to be the daughter of Stefan Doroschuk (Men Without Hats). Mary-Lynn has a new band called Wave 21. A Country -Alt unit filled with catchy tunes and classy riffs. A Montreal group to keep your ears on. A Montreal band that will only get bigger.

Joan Jett graced Place Bell along with Tesla and Styx.

Jett as powerful as ever with Punky licks and attitude while Tesla catered to the more Heavy minded fans in attendance. Styx – making their fourth appearance in Quebec in the past seven years commanded even more respect than before. They were hot and the night lasted longer than any Grand Illusion.

Beth Hart

If Beth Hart stayed home and sang lullabies to her kids, the world would be a much sadder place.

Hart and her trio were in Montreal for The Jazz Festival and Beth stole the hearts of everyone. Telling stories of her very dysfunctional upbringing between soaring vocals and soft balladry – Place des Arts was on the verge of a collective hanky giveaway.

On this planet – no female singer can reach into their souls so deep and raise the roof so high within a song. Multiply that by fifteen tunes and see how tired you are from a Beth Hart show.

Boz Scaggs

Boz was here as part of The Jazz Festival and what a surprise musician he turned out to be. Unless you were / are a huge fan or came from a certain decade, Boz (to the general music world) was a two hit wonder. Like many musicians from the 70s and even the 80s, the limelight and success don’t go hand in hand. Boz has more talent playing, singing and producing/ arranging than about 75% of those with hits before or since. Put that in your hat and smoke it.

Jordan Officer opened up for George Thorogood at Place des Arts as part of The Jazz Festival and blew the roof off the joint. Officer has turned the corner in his Blues comeback and had George’s Destroyers shaking in their boots. Trois Rivieres is Jordan’s latest record and it will be considered the turning point in a soon too be mammoth career.

Ranee Lee

Easily the concert of the year in Montreal. 

Lee’s husband / musical mentor Richard passed away the morning of her Jazz Festival show and for most artists – the plug would have been pulled. Not only did Ranee perform, she outperformed any of the numerous award winning shows she had done before. Emotions were high (the crowd knew of the circumstances) yet Ranee used the emotion to grow stronger with each song. The concert will go down as one of  the greatest  in Montreal music history.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Dr. Lonnie Smith; Doin’ Only What He Can Do

The word legendary. Tossed around like a flea – bit peanut monkey sometimes.

In the case of Dr. Lonnie Smith – it is he who is tossing the primate around …

Commencing his career in the late fifties alongside George Benson – Smith used his knowledge as a multi-instrumentalist and student of Jazz, Blues, Gospel and R&B to rise to the top of the Jazz world as master of the Hammond B3 organ.

Dr. Lonnie Smith has been the most sought after player in the Jazz world for over four decades and at Le Gesu as part of The Jazz festival, the good doctor and his trio showed why.

Jonathan Kreisberg and Jonathan Blake are both powerhouses in their own right. Trading unique craftsmanship with each other with Smith holding back to let them shine. If not for Smith’s ‘ jolt you from the seats’ playing – Kresiberg and Blake almost legendary themselves. Blake especially on the drums, combining fierceness and finesse – power and purring to go with a genius’ work.

Some Jazz leaders are perfectionists by birth. Not allowing others to breathe within a song as their visions are superior to others in their own advanced minds. Dr. Lonnie Smith is a genius as he paints with his ‘paint box’ in front of him yet he allows his trio to paint with him. He is the teacher yet his lessons are by participation and not by dissociation. Guiding – yes. Ruling with a steel hand – indefinably no.

What some have done for their instruments ( Hendrix on guitar) in the public eye – Smith has done for the Hammond B3 organ in not only the Jazz world, the music world period.

They don’t give the NEC Jazz Award to just anyone after all.

Visit Dr. Lonnie Smith here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Beth Hart’s Dynamite Show Steals the Jazz Festival

There are so many female vocalists on the planet. Great ones, good ones, average ones and yes – bad ones.

Beth Hart is in a class all by herself.

Think of the soul of Joss Stone. The power and rawness of Janis Joplin. The sweetness and velour of Adele. The danger of Amy Winehouse. Add the above together and Beth Hart is the sum of all their parts.

At Theatre Maisonneuve as part of The Jazz Festival – Hart displayed emotion and honesty. She wears her life on her sleeve and tells the tales between songs. It has not been an easy life for Hart and self admitting (on stage last night) – she takes medication to ‘make her less crazy’. That part of her personality is what propels the talent.Her demons shine through via pain, love and anger. Her vocals are the vehicle as she rides away from her very own highway to Hell.

Love Gangster, Your Heart Is as Black as Night ( Melody Gardot), Chocolate Jesus ( Tom Waits), Good as It Gets and I’ll Take Care of You. Just a few of the tunes which Hart uses as her very own ‘Morgan Freeman’. Narration through art and poignant lyrics which make hairs stand on end through Hart’s effortless singing and the band’s tight stops and starts. At one moment – a casual fan can hate Hart for her brash ‘barroom’ chat and ‘honky tonk woman’ appearance. In less than a second later – the same fans fall in love as Hart’s tenderness arises like the sun from the eastern shore.

Drummer Bill Ransom, Bassist Bob Marinelli and guitarist Jon Nichols back Hart with so much perception. A compliment to Hart’s sometimes ‘all over the place’ chatter and forgetfulness (the set-list).

Marinelli appears like a young Sam Elliot. Stoically keeping both time and Hart on track within the battery of himself and Ransom. Nichols supplies the chords and screeching solos when called upon. Amy Winehouse had The Dap Kings to make her shine. Beth Hart has her band to make her the star. That’s their job and they do it more than well.

Following an eighteen song set with odes to her Mom in a very powerful Mama This One’s for You and an effervescent Leave the Light On – emotions circulating the theater were on high alert. Hart won everyone over with her simple recipe. Truth through song and truth through words. If anyone in attendance did not want to bring Hart home to take care of her, they were not human …

Visit Beth Hart here !

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Ranee Lee Delivers A Performance For The Ages Despite Sadness

Ranee Lee has endured some tough gigs in her time yet nothing like the one last night at L’Astral.

 

Earlier in the day – Lee’s husband Richard Ring ( Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Ed Thigpen, Ray Brown, Michel LeGrand, Oliver Jones ) passed away following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Ring was not only her husband but her longtime guitar player and mentor. Emotions were high yet as they say; the show must go on. Richard would have wanted it that way …

Ranee ( a member of the Order of Canada, a Juno Award winner, an actress and teacher) took the stage with true professionalism. From the very start – a song was in her heart and the love for the material on her sequined sleeves.

The Dark Divas was the theme as Ranee both educated and displayed the talents of all the legendary African-American women who inspired Ranee as a young woman. Billy, Sarah, Dinah, Pearl and Ella to name a few. A who is who of American female musical history portrayed through a concept written and conceived by Ranee herself.

Andre Menard ( the co-founder of the Montreal Jazz Festival) introduced Lee and gave the audience a heads up on the morning’s events (perhaps for when Lee was not able to carry out a great performance or maybe not continue at all). If that was the case – Ranee disappointed any of those in attendance who thought the grief would be too much. In Ranee’s mind and soul, seated right beside her, was her husband.

Theatrically, joyfully and triumphantly – Lee hypnotized the crowd with vocal depth, power and control. Lee was no longer a Grandmother. She was that young woman from Brooklyn with stars in her eyes. The young woman raised by a musical single Mom who taught Ranee piano under the stairs. The young woman who Richard Ring believed in so much.

As the night weaved through classic after classic. As the night steered through the magical musicianship of Ranee’s band, everyone kept waiting for the moment or the song which would cause Lee to break. That one memory shared between two people which would evoke emotions too strong to stop the sadness from coming. It never came in the form of an outburst. Inside – who knows yet Lee did not show she was struggling. Joy and her obvious love for both the tunes and her late husband was all that came across. In the end the crowd stood. The punters well aware of what they saw from an artist so pure and so strong.

On such a sad day – music and the togetherness brought on by the Dark Divas’ songbook turned a ‘normal’ performance into brilliance. A not-so-normal day into a historical Jazz Festival moment.

With Richard Ring high above on guitar …

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Boz Scaggs Redefines His ‘Public’ Image

Admit it. Lido Shuffle is all you know …

Boz Scaggs is that type of artist.

The masses think that if an artist is outta sight – outta mind, they must be dead or their career is. True fans know – artists such as Scaggs do not care about hits.

William RoyceBozScaggs – is known for vocals with The Steve Miller Band. he is also known for Lido Shuffle and Lowdown, both of which were from his critically acclaimed album Silk Degrees (released 1976). The 1970s were very kind to Scaggs and that decade is what brought many people to Theatre Maisonneuve during the Montreal Jazz Festival.

What Scaggs and his formidable band did bring was intense and tight. aside from the aforementioned ‘hits’ – Scaggs et al were a highly professional unit led by the voice of an angel. At seventy-four years young, Scaggs can sing better than most people half his age.

Jojo (1980) led things off and in no time – the punters were standing at attention as the reality of a musical night hit like a ton of piano keys. Drowning in the Sea of Love, It’s Over and Gone Baby Gone set the table for a tune that established the groove that most bands strive for live. The Feeling Is Gone – a Bobby Bland cover saw Scaggs and his mates hit that ‘small club’ feeling. The sold out crowd picked up on it immediately and as they say; the rest of the night was ‘gravy’.

Scaggs knows music as his tutelage with The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section dictates as well as having the future members of Toto play on his album Silk Degrees. Those acquired skills and knowledge shine through live as Scaggs not only holds court on vocals – his guitar playing with just the right space; a pleasure to witness. Scaggs’ knowledge also dictates to let his band play their parts with freedom and respect.

Cadillac Walk – the Moon Martin cover, led the crowd into familiar territory as Lido Shuffle and Lowdown played out hard and with appreciation by all. The show ended with the ‘we know you will be back applause and that is when the music took over from the hits.

What Can I Say, Somebody Loan Me a Dime ( Fenton Robinson) and Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell gave the BAND and Boz the room (and joy) to say thanks to both the fans and the history of where they came from. The latter giving proof that Rock n Roll once ruled the world and that swing was a big part of it.

Visit Boz Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Interview – Jordan Officer Blows the Roof Off Place des Arts !

Jordan Officer is a groundbreaking artist. Kinda …

Groundbreaking in a way that combines his talent with old school tools and old school sounds.

You see – Jordan is a scholar. A student of where music comes from. Blending Dick Dale with Joe Bonamassa. Bob Wills with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Guitar with the fiddle. All elements of music that make music what it is today in all genres.

Please listen below as Jordan discusses his ‘roof shattering ‘ show at Place des Arts as part of The Jazz Festival. A show that should place Officer into the music stratosphere.

Jordan? What’s up?

Visit Jordan Here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – Music To Do The Sunday Crossword Puzzle

What to do on a Sunday?

images (3)

Open the curtains, make a cup of coffee, grab the paper and do the Sunday Crossword Puzzle.

It is – a no brainer!

Oh – don’t forget to listen to some great tunes! Right here on Rick Keene Music Scene !

Thanks !

images (8) copy

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

Visit Procure Here !