All the banter and crowd stroking were part and parcel of this type of performance, while McBride smiled and slapped his electric bass exclusively. What strikes one as curious is that if the focus was to be on Cleveland legends and particularly of a soul or R&B guise, why couldn't the realm of material been broadened to include songs associated with the O'Jays and The Dazz Band? Oddly inconclusive, McBride's homage pushed the envelope in more ways than one when Hendryx and an audience member dabbled in some sultry interaction.
Offering far meatier jazz fodder was the festival's conclusion featuring drummer Jamey Haddad
and his Under One Sun ensemble. Benefiting from the strong composing of saxophonist Billy Drewes
, this group found a collective synergy that often proved mesmerizing to the audience. Although a traditional jazz combo operated at the heart of these performances, additional layers of color were provided by Michael Ward-Bergeman's accordion and Simon Shaheen's oud.
Serving as facilitator to all he surveyed, Haddad's art is not about flash or show. His muse is squarely in service of the music as could be heard whether he was behind a traditional drum set, or up front utilizing a variety of hand percussion instruments in tandem with fellow percussionists Keita Ogawa and Dylan Moffitt.
Photo Credit: C. Andrew Hovan