The smooth jazz community is international. One likes to travel to faraway
places to meet with like-minded people. So you can enjoy not only the
concerts of popular artists but exchanges views among themselves. Many
have formed friendships with each other and are also linked via Facebook
or other platforms. This multiplies the impressions gained for all the
senses, especially when one meets in such illustrious climes as the
5-star Protur Biomar Hotel in Sa Coma.
Concert promoter Christian Bößner had invited for the third time and they came to this outstanding event from many countries. We were particularly pleased to see so many American friends who had after all to cope with a wide approach path. And there were very prominent among them such as Melody Warren, who is very active with her JAZZ IN M.E.E. magazine. She equipped many artists with her t-shirts which maps the logo of her magazine. We could also welcome Sandy Shore known by her website and radio station SmoothJazz.com.
Regulars at this festival include Jaume Nebot from Spain, the competent general manager for the Protur Hotels, Peter Boehi from Suisse, who has already written his personal impressions on his website Smooth Vibes, Sascha Brezina from Austria, who always comes closest to the artists with his camera, Michel Mathieu from France, Len Seward and his wife from London, UK, Hilde Jervsjø and husband from Norway, Andreas Büchel, who is responsible for all prints of this festival, and the list goes on and on.
At the heart of of the festival, of course, were the artists and their music. It began on May 1 with the saxophonist Elan Trotman, who is haling from Barbados and now lives in Boston. He started the show with the song 100 Degrees from his album This Time Around (2009). Noteworthy are his harmonic sounds with which he implements a lot of feeling.
Elan Trotman performed next Chick Corea's classic fusion jazz piece Spain as third song. Of course, this title was well suited to this location. Among the wonderful love songs Heaven In Your Eyes from his album Love And Sax (2010) has an outstanding position. Lutz Detera's keyboard solo was just divine. There are songs that always stimulate an audience, no matter who plays the track. Such one is without a doubt Bill Withers' Lovely Day. A real party poppers especially with the surprise guest Evita!
Also very popular was his medley of Earth, Wind and Fire songs. I recognized Reasons, Getaway and Can't hide love. The Caribbean flavored Tradewinds presented guitarist Peter White in his best role, the entertainer. Elan mentioned Peters' great support in producing his new album Tropicality (2014).
He had the audience into atmospheric with the cover of Stevie Wonder's Master Blaster. The energetic original is recalculated in Elan's version to a melody sequence enriched with a strong horn engagement. Jessy J shared the stage with Elan on this track. The song is recorded on Tropicality , which was sold very well on this festival.
Richard Elliot is the designated showman, a pure bundle of energy. He shaped the second show on the Thursday night. His starter was Aretha Franklin’s soul classic Rock Steady, the title song of the same named album (2009). Follower was a great cover of Curtis Mayfield's monster hit Move On Up. Marvin Gaye's Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) he devoted to the late Grover Washington Jr., his legendary idol. Written in a time of economic trouble the song returns with a message for the underprivileged people.
Richard continued the show with Retro Boy from the album Rock Steady. A very vivid and funky tune. EWF's love ballade Reasons (That's the Way of the World) was also a theme for Richard's night show. The cover could be the B-side of the original. Richard recorded the song as part of the Summer Horns (2013). Boom Town offers on the original recording a heavy guitar loop by Dwight Sills elevating the song to one of smooth jazz radios' darling. This time bassist Günter Asbeck took the solo on his slap bass.
Percy Sledge's soulful hit When A Man Loves A Woman was of course on the menu card too. Richard Elliot knows the massive power of this classic. He often plays Night In Tunisia by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers with the formation The Three Tenors. This time he showcased his straight ahead skills as solo artist.
Memorable was Richard's show playing the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). EWI is a wind instrument capable of controlling one or more music synthesizers or other devices. Richard performed this instrument like a Vocoder or Talking box modulating his vocals. Keep On Truckin from Rock Steady also presented Shilts as supporting sax player. Finally Elan Trotman and Nick Colionne joined the stage for the encore I Heard It Through The Grapevine, what the audience replied in bright enthusiasm.
The concert on Friday was opened by the attractive saxophonist Jessy J. Her music is inspired by her Latin heritage, which she embodies in a wonderful way. The started the show with Remember The Night from the album Hot Sauce (2011). Andy Pilger's urban beat and Jörg Lenhardt's guitar sound created the right environment for Jessy's sophisticated sax show. Manha De Carnaval (Morning Of The Carnival) is the most popular song by Brazilian composer Luiz Bonfá and lyricist Antônio Maria. Jessy has covered this song for her album True Love (2009). She revealed her fresh and unspent vocals in combination with her sax skills.
Sin Ti (Without You) is from her debut album Tequila Moon (2008). A true gem because Jessy shined on sax while Lutz Detera delivered an exquisite solo on his keyboards. Mas Que Nada was originally written and performed by Jorge Ben in 1963, and later widely known by a cover of Sérgio Mendes. Jessy J's rendition fascinated with a warm young voice full of tenderness. Of course, the title track from her debut album Tequila Moon had to be there too.
The final was decorated with Hot Sauce serving Latin flavors in a jazzy way. Baila! is the Portuguese invitation to dance and that was the character of the song indeed. As encore Jessy performed Gloria Estefan's mega hit Conga from the album Primitive Love (1985). Jessy knows how to stimulate the audience and bring them to the legs.
Guitarist Nick Colionne is not to be overlooked in his picturesque suits. He opened his concert with songs from his album Keepin' It Cool (2006). The best and most infectious song on this album is High Flyin'. Head bopping and dancing was certainly the first reaction. And if the song sounds familiar to you: it was the first song on his previous album Just Come On In. Rainy Night In Georgia was featuring Nick's vocal potential. His smooth guttural expression reminds me at the singer Jon Lucien (Endless Is Love).
Hurry Up This Way Again was performed for example by Regina Bell, Phyllis Hyman, Patrice Rushen. Originally a hit of The Stylistics from their same-named album (1980). Nick's interpretation was another highlight of his concert especially when he took contact to several ladies among the audience.
Further songs of his repertoire were Some Funky, Godfather J, Did You Know and Hurry Up.
A real bundle of energy and ultimate entertaining was his Super Bad. Acting like the great James Brown and supported by Jessy J, Peter White and Shilts he enthused the audience over the limits. That was party time! The crowd demanded with loud applause for an encore. Nick served Got To Keep It Moving from his new album Influences (2014). Nick presented his guitar ideas on a throbbing bass rhythm. Deserved applause guided him to his meet and greet. It was very late. For tireless guests there was nevertheless the after-show party.
On Saturday night the concert was opened by singer Spencer Day, who is searching is own way as crooner between Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker and Paul Simon. He describes his style꞉ "Fusing the Great American Songbook with a contemporary pop aesthetic, the more confessional singer-songwriter world with the classic jazz idiom."
He showcased his skills as heart breaker with love songs like
His next song he announced with something from Sinatra and than performed Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made For Walking. You Don't Know You're Lonely and The Mystery Of You were also part of his show. As encore he sung the Frank Sinatra song One For My Baby accompanying himself on keyboard.
Spencer Day has been well received by ladies among the audience, they bought all CDs that were offered to them at his stand.
Saturday brought the actual highpoint of the festival with guitarist Peter White. He started his show with Could It Be I'm Falling In Love from his album Reflections (1994). Originally the song was performed by the Spinners. Peter made the piece to his own standard. He was nicely accompanied by two Spanish sax players from the formation Saxophobia Funk Project.
Another often performed piece is Who's That Lady from the Isley Brothers. You find this tune on his album Glow (2001) in a superb and perfect version. Peter used on this show his WahWahcombination. Gregg Karukas shared the stage as surprising guest. The presentation fluently went over to the former hit of the Temptations Papa Was A Rolling Stone.
Next song was Desert Night, a return to the Spanish guitar culture. Providing a great ambiance of romance is the result of his inspiring performance. A fine cover is also I Can See Clearly Now, Peter knows about the magic reaction. Peter White has a special relationship with Costa Rica. Many fans will remember the trip to this fantastic venue listening to Peter's concert in a homely environment. Peter payed tribute to his past trip with this wonderful song.
Peter produced more emotion with How Deep Is Your Love from the Bee Gees and Walk On By by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. He captured both songs on his album Reflections. Shilts took the sax on the second tune.
With the Latin-tinged Bueno Funk Peter brought the audience to the next level. Peter White as James Bond behind sunglasses is an integral part of his show. Bob Marley's Get Up Stand Up is another popular cover, which Peter shared with the lovely Jessy J. We forgot the critical background of this song and enjoyed the entertainment.
The audience got two favorable encores with San Diego from the album Perfect Moment (1998) and Marvin Gaye's classic What's Going On from the album Promenade (1993). Spencer Day performed the vocal part with great sovereignty.
The fourth day of the festival presented keyboardist Gregg Karukas (Kuh-ROO-kiss). He opened his show with Wildwood from his album GK (2009) straight going forward. He was accompanied by saxophonist Miguel Ramon, a local musician keeping the level professionally. Next song was Nightshift, the title song he released in 2000. A pleasing piece that is not only displaying Gregg's exquisite keyboard playing but also his profound knowledge of contemporary music.
He went far back in time with Severna Park from his album Sound Of Emotion (1991). A contemplative piece that was well suited for this Sunday morning. Girl In The Red Dress from Looking Up (2005) has a slightly accented rhythm and woke the tired minds.
Nick Colionne and Gregg Karukas joined Shilts performing Lambeth Strut from his album Going Unterground (2010). Nick Colionne added brilliant guitar riffs to this song. By the way he also recorded this song with Shilts on the album. Back on the Hudson from the album Jigsaw Life (2008) was the next pleaser. Also to mention is the song All Grown Up, the title song of his newest album from 2012. Thus came the festival to a glorious end with great applause.
The next Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca 2015 will be held at the same place April 30 - May 3, 2015. Hope to see you again!
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