The moment vocalist Carmen Lundy stepped out on the stage, her radiant persona emanated out to the audience in an electrifying manner. The word command comes to mind. As it is often used to describe how a vocalist has command of an audience. However, it doesn’t feel right. The audience was immediately drawn to her. Wanting ever to be closer to her performance. Not in the physical sense. In a way that the very essence of your soul wanted to be closer.
A powerful performance it was. What separates Carmen Lundy from other singers is her composing and songwriting. Singing songs that are from the depth of her heart, life experiences, and her soul. Carmen Lundy is a pure revelation. A singer uniquely her own in the world of jazz.
Singing tunes with titles such as “AfterGlow” and “Kumbaya” from her recent Code Noir album release, Lundy offered up passionate expressions of her music and lyrics. The group featured Patrice Rushen on piano and Ben Williams on bass also. With Jamison Ross on drums and Andrew Renfroe on guitar. Rushen and Williams are also on her recent release for these tunes. The bond that has formed with Rushen and Lundy is magical.
That is how, to sum up, Carmen Lundy’s performance at the festival in one word. Magical!
Preceding her was Curtis Lundy. The legendary bassist and brother of Carmen. With Ben Rosenblum on piano and Donald Harrison on alto sax with Eric Kennedy on drums, the group presented uptempo jazz that was in the classic hard bop mode. The audience loved it and loved when vocalist Drea d’Nur joined to sing the classic, “Summertime”.
A superb Sunday afternoon of jazz, with music from Bilal Nugravee’s Jazz Example and the Brian Freeman Quintet. Impressive was the performance of a Latin tinge tune from Doug “Trigger” Gaston and Brian Freeman’s playing on Freddie Hubbard’s tune, “Little Sunflower”.
Congratulation to Dawn Berry-Walker and the crew of folks who put this festival together this year. A lineup of international jazz artists that would be on anyone’s list of must-see. It is a tremendous tribute to Pappy Martin and the legacy of wanting to keep the spirit and joy of jazz alive. No doubt, from heaven above, Pappy is smiling and saying “well done.”