The Music of Simon & Garfunkel Celebrated at Central Park Summerstage, June 8, 2010

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
The Music of Simon & Garfunkel
Central Park Summerstage
New York, NY
June 8, 2010

On a balmy spring night in Central Park, Art Garfunkel took to the stage after a brief introduction by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. He gave a brief speech where he mentioned that he never felt the songs he recorded with partner Paul Simon were the "definitive" versions of those songs, but just the "original" ones, and that he was excited to hear what the musicians participating in the event were about to play. He also mentioned that he was "tickled and honored" for this tribute.

The first artists to take the stage were Dar Williams and Stephen Kellogg, who opened the proceedings with "We've Got A Groovy Thing Goin," a rather obscure tune originally released as a B-side. Their take was very similar to the original single, which had a surf-rock feel to it. They were followed by the Holmes Brothers, who attempted to create a Gospel version of "Mrs. Robinson." Unfortunately, they chose to perform it in a key that was too high, and their voices cracked throughout the tune.

Ollabelle, the house band for the evening, played a stirring bluegrass arrangement for "Scarborough Fair," with plenty of space for guitar improvisations alongside their impeccable harmonies. Also memorable was the duet of Loudon Wainwright III and Lucy Wainwright Roche on "Bleecker Street," a song whose lyrics talk of bygone Greenwich Village, and a time when "$30 pays the rent."

The concert was divided between lesser-known tunes and more obvious hits. While Aimee Mann and John Roderick performed the very folky "The Only Boy Living in New York," which she described as "the reflections of a very angry young man," other artists preferred to go with songs the audience would sing along to, such as "El Condor Pasa" and "The Boxer," the latter beautifully performed by Alejandro Escovedo and Willie Nillie.

Among the best moments of the show were Shawn Colvin and Paula Cole's take on the very demanding "America," arguably the most complex tune on the Simon & Garfunkel canon (Simon has since written harder material, but as far as the duo goes, this is definitely it), and the grand finale with the entire ensemble sharing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."

Contrary to the rumor, Simon and Garfunkel (who were both present at the venue) chose not to perform that evening, which came as a minor disappointment to fans who were expecting yet another reunion. However, the entire evening was a testament of how those tunes have held after all those years, and it was a pleasure for all present to revisit them once again.


More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Gregory Porter At The Ulster Hall, Belfast" Live Reviews Gregory Porter At The Ulster Hall, Belfast
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 6, 2016
Read "Jazztopad 2016, Part 1" Live Reviews Jazztopad 2016, Part 1
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Swingin' In The Rain: Portland Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Swingin' In The Rain: Portland Jazz Festival 2016
by Chuck Koton
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Bibi Ferreira at Symphony Space" Live Reviews Bibi Ferreira at Symphony Space
by Ernest Barteldes
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Ralph Peterson's Triangular III at Nighttown" Live Reviews Ralph Peterson's Triangular III at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Hilary Gardner and Ehud Asherie at Caffè Vivaldi" Live Reviews Hilary Gardner and Ehud Asherie at Caffè Vivaldi
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!