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Live Reviews

The Fantastic Freihofer Jazz Fest

By Published: March 12, 2004
Ray Charles closed the great event. He’s been at the fest maybe a half-dozen times, always with a big band that is tight and swinging. This evening, Charles was having some trouble with the on-stage monitors and let his dissatisfaction be known, expletives included (perhaps he didn’t know we could hear him because he couldn’t hear himself). Grumpy throughout, when he got to the songs, they were great and no one cared. His comments made people chuckle, if anything. There are always obligatory hits like “Busted,” and “Hit the Road Jack,” but he throws in jazz gems and his heartfelt rendering of the Beatles’ “Till There Was You” was a delight. Can we stand to hear “Georgia on My Mind” on more time? From Mr. Charles, you bet we can. It was pleasing and packed with emotion.

The event, in total, drew high musical marks. The SPAC festival is a can’t-miss good time and for people wanting to see a festival done in the good old-fashioned style, in a gorgeous setting, at a facility that is first-rate, they should really do themselves a favor and plan a trip to this classy event in the future.

An do yourself another favor: Go see Matt Wilson.

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