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2008 Newport Jazz Festival: Finale!

Timothy J. O'Keefe By

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The band pressed on with a relentless energy. Breaking into "Jesus Children/Stay," the soulful singer Anthony Hamilton took to the stage, teasing the audience with call and response vocals. In a dizzying frenzy, the music sped up, slowed down, and then raced forward again—hammering away at the captivating runs for which the band is known.

After a brief exit, Soulive returned for an encore, playing "Tighten Up," the funk standard written by Archie Bell and the Drells. Again, Neal Evans' organ steered the band, repeating bass phrasings while providing layers of embellishment. One by one, each musician took a solo, pushing and driving the music, before finally bringing the party to a screaming close.

Off in the distance, the saxophone work of Sonny Rollins shrieked and wailed on the main stage. Forty-five minutes later it was over—Newport had come to a close. All that was left were memories. While each and every person who attended will take away his or her own unique memories, Fred Wesley shares what he thinks will be some of his: "I'll take away my performance and I'll take away what I'm hearing—Dave Holland, Herbie Hancock, and Sonny Rollins."

The rest of us will take away your performance too, Fred.

Photo Credit

Michael Weintrob

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