The Attucks Jazz Series kicked off the 2017-2018 season with bombastic vocalist Nicole Henry
backed by John Toomey Trio
on piano, Jimmy Masters
on bass and Chuck Redd
on drums. Ms. Henry, winner of the Soul Train's "Best Traditional Jazz Performance," presented a varied repertoire including songs by Joni Mitchell
, Aretha Franklin
, Bill Withers and many jazz standards sung in her own powerful style. She just doesn't have pipes, she has PIPES! Defying the label of "jazz singer," Nicole Henry
is equally at home with blues, gospel, and soul, delivering each with the passion and feeling of a master storyteller. Songs as varied as Lerner and Loewe's "On the Street Where You Live" to Jobim's "The Waters of March" filled an evening of original, obscure, and well known numbers which took the audience on a surprise musical journey. They didn't know where the journey would lead but they sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Norfolk, Virginia (and neighboring Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and more) is not only lucky to have this fine jazz series but enough cannot be said about John Toomey, Jimmy Masters and a variety of drummers as it's resident trio. Backing such musicians as John Allred
, Vic Juris
, Kenny Washington
, Randy Brecker
, Denise Donatelli
, John Abercrombie
and so many more. These are consummate musicians with extensive pedigrees that can play anywhere, anytime. With a number of albums under their belts this group is at the top of their game and will be for years to come.