Jazz Fest in Albany, NY, Hits Good Stride
Singer Juanita Williams walked on stage after two tight and swinging numbers from the Washington, D.C.-based J Street Jumpers and took the music a bit higher. The band can really swing and play the jump blues, with some pretty good trumpet in Vince McCool's blaring big- band style and some slick solos from Charlie Hubel's tenor sax. Williams' strong and flexible voice was perfect for the repertoire that included the classic blues "Everyday and the romping "Mamma, He Treats Your Daughter Mean. She could be entertaining and bawdy, like when she crooned that she "liked her men like she liked her whiskey: slightly aged and mellow. She can also sing more in a jazz vein. The band was fun.
The Albany fest made good strides in 2005, with the best music since Jimmy Heath, Randy Brecker, Cedar Walton and Tootie Heath did a Brignola tribute a couple years ago. Another good tribute, and good stride, might be incorporating Nick's name somehow into the festival title.