VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
16 JUN 08 JONATHAN WIDRAN
When the latest lineup of Guitars & Saxes launched their 2008 tour in April at Berks Jazz Fest, the beautiful and charismatic saxophonist and vocalist Jessy J played strictly a supporting role, backing up Gerald Albright and the rest of the band with just a tad of upfront time. G&S' rousing closing set on Sunday, June 15 at the 30th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl was a completely different story.
G&S is headlined by genre superstars Albright, Jeff Golub, Peter White and Jeff Lorber, but this time Jessy had much more in the mix as a full partner and soloist. She performed an improvisation-fused take on her titular smash radio single from her album Tequila Moon (No. 1 for five weeks at Radio & Records) and added a playful energy duetting with White on "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" and "Mister Magic." She hammed it up a bit too, strutting over to hand White some shades as he segued into a James Bond riff during a later number.
The truncated hour-long set (G&S usually runs at least 90 minutes) didn't allow Albright to feature selections from his upcoming soul explosion Sax For Stax, but he charmed with his sensual sing-along classic "My My My" and got the crowd dancing during a funky break in his always searing set piece "Georgia On My Mind." Albright, Jessy and the gang closed the two-day fest with a high octane grooving jam through Average White Band's "Cut The Cake."