11

Carmen Lundy at Lakeland Jazz Festival

Carmen Lundy at Lakeland Jazz Festival
C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Carmen Lundy Quartet
Lakeland Community College
42nd Annual Lakeland Jazz Festival
Kirtland, Ohio
February 22, 2014

It had been well over five years since Grammy award-winning vocalist Carmen Lundy had been in the vicinity of Cleveland and she certainly made up for her absence by delivering a powerhouse performance as the Saturday evening headliner for the 42nd annual Lakeland Jazz Festival. As heady a performer as she is in the true tradition of jazz vocalizing, it would not be an exaggeration to state that many in the audience had also come to check out the talents of the legendary Patrice Rushen on keyboards and Ralph Peterson on drums.

Over the course of almost two hours, Lundy would weave her magic spell on a sampling of her originals, culled from over a dozen albums that she has recorded since her debut set, Good Morning Kiss, in 1985. One thing was clear throughout; Lundy is the genuine article when it comes to jazz vocalists. Too many today claim to be jazz artists and they merely rise to the ranks of singer with an instrumental backing ensemble. Lundy tantalizes with the phrasing of her melodies, like a horn player, and tells a story with each one of her performances. She is invested in the spirit of the moment and her body language and movement hints at her deep obligation to the music.

Lundy had the crowd hanging on to her every word and by the third number, "Blue Woman," it was evident that her ensemble mates were locked in tight for the euphoric ride ahead. As Lundy waved her hands in the air, Peterson punctuated her phrases with kinetic fills of his own. In fact, much of the credit goes to the drummer when it comes to the overall arc of each of the performances. A pleasingly busy and forceful drummer, Peterson allied his performance to Lundy's needs and one would be hard pressed to think of another drummer who could have so supremely fit the bill.

You could hear a pin drop during Lundy's several ballad performances. One of the best of the night was her "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." The gentle melody buoyed by Rushen's crystalline piano touch, Lundy recalled the simple beauty of Maya Angelou's singular poetry. It was also after this number that Lundy took the time to engage with the audience. They felt her graciousness and in response, Lundy would remark on a particularly boisterous section as being her "amen corner."

One of her most popular numbers, "Walking Code Blue" brought the house down with its modal groove. Rushen ripped off one her best piano solos of the evening and proved that she still has the chops that had once brought her on the scene as a teenage prodigy. For the first time, this reviewer could hear the Tyner influence in her modal approach. Peterson and bassist Kenny Davis nailed this one with a sync locked accompaniment that Lundy unmistakably found inspiring.

Now in full stride, Lundy would bring forth "Dance the Dance," an ebullient number marked by the chorus line of "what it feels like to be free." She would have a ball with this refrain as she went around to each band member with her mic so that they could vocalize this phrase. It was a special moment, indeed. When the crowd then rose to their feet after this performance, there was no choice but for Lundy and company to respond with an encore. "All Day All Night" was the perfect foil for the occasion, concluding an absolutely glowing evening of jazz and leaving one to wonder why Lundy still falls under the radar of most jazz critics and followers.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
Read more articles
Code Noir
Afrasia Productions, Inc.
2017
buy
Night And Day
Afrasia Productions, Inc.
2010
buy
Solamente
Afrasia Productions, Inc.
2009
buy
Come Home
Afrasia Productions, Inc.
2007
buy

More Articles

Read The Seth Yacovone Blues Trio At Red Square Live Reviews The Seth Yacovone Blues Trio At Red Square
by Doug Collette
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues Live Reviews Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues
by Walter Atkins
Published: July 22, 2017
Read My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum Live Reviews My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Garana Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Garana Jazz Festival 2017
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Penang Island Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Penang Island Jazz Festival 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2017
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Ambrose Akinmusire at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Ambrose Akinmusire at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers at City Winery" Live Reviews Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers at City Winery
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 17, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!