The Lady sings … and Marcus swings…

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Festival International de Jazz in Alicante Friday, July 24th and a full Auditorio is expecting to hear and see Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield, Jr. and the New Orleans 7 to perform music from their recent release Dee Dee’s Feathers. And like the record they are opening the show with Harry Connick Jr’s One Fine Thing and all musicians are on top form from the first note: Dee is just such an amazing singer, she can do anything, is the best when it comes to scat and extremely sensitive to ballads, as she shows in Come Sunday and the Irvin Mayfield Jr. original C’Est Ici Que Je T’Aime, but can go deep into the blues as she does in St. James Infirmary and groove as needed in Big Chief. Perfectly supported by the band with leader, arranger and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield Jr a class on his own: emotional in What A Wonderful World, powerful in the groovy material and full of surprising ideas with musical depth, firmly rooted in the New Orleans tradition. And the rest: all great players within the ensemble and remarkable when ask to step forward and take the lead …a great duet by trombonist Michael Watson with Dee being one of the many highlights of the show; others come from pianist Viktor Atkins and sax player Ricardo Pascal, all set on the tremendous rhythm work by Jason Weaver on bass and Adonis Rose on drums. A great project with the big band, a great show with the smaller version – they all got new Orleans within themselves and brought a piece of the city to Alicante … and the audience simply loved it, dancing at the end and asking for more … all standing! Great music by the first lady of jazz and the amazing NOJO of Irvin Mayfield, great entertainment as well and fun. What else can we ask for?

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The following day it was up to Marcus Miller to close the festival, that over the course of a week had as well Avery Sunshine, Kenny Garrett, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman and Snarky Puppy performing in the Auditorio. Miller came with a great band of players: Adam Agati on guitar, Alex Han on saxes, Brett Williams on piano, Lee Hogans on trumpet, Louis Cato on drums and Mino Cinelu on percussion. Afrodeezia, Millers latest album provided the core of the material for the show … and it was truly great: amazing bass work by Miller – alone the solo in Papa Was A Rolling Stone would have made any other bass player jealous – incredible work especially by Cato and Cinelu, which laid the grooves and the rest simply walked on them confident and using the space given to them to express themselves by their leader. And the audience danced along with them, getting the requested encore, Blast from his album Free, and left with happy smiles for a late drink or two …. As we did.

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Something totally different: a recommendation of the documentary AMY, about the incredible singer Amy Winehouse. Surely worth to spend two hours on. Sad and tragic and therefore important to see.

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