In 2002 Bradley Quick created The Cool Change Foundation a non-profit foundation to carry the message of positive change, recovery, motivation, and life enhancement to a broad demographic that might not otherwise receive it. Bradley Quick’s Los Angeles based radio show, Help Your Self, airs weekly on KRLA 870 AM, which often features various celebrity guests, authors, and specialists.
On June 1st, I attended the Cool Change Live recovery benefit concert and expo. The amazing lineup for the concert consisted of, Marc Antoine, The Philippe Saisse Trio, David Longoria, and Spyro Gyra.
Marc Antoine was the first performer of the evening to take the stage. His set opened with an acoustic solo with a reverberating melody with an intensity that is comparable to melodic thunder. Marc then introduced the continually inspirational Philippe Saisse Trio or as Marc called them, The French Connection. As The Philippe Saisse took the stage David Finck displayed his amazing gift on bass immediately as did the other members. The Philippe Saisse Trio and Marc Antoine together prove to be the ideal combination for both improvisation and masterly musicianship. During the course of the evening, each artist was in their element as evidenced by the fervor with which they performed. The crowd became zealously excited as they played Do It Again, made famous by the incomparable Steely Dan. The Philippe Saisse Trio while maintaining the pop tempo and the keys of the original creates a new sonic event. Philippe Saisse is a furious mastermind on the piano and it is as though the piano must sustain the pace set forth by Philippe. Marc is an expert on the guitar he plays as if the instrument is a physical extension of his body. As the Philippe Saisse Trio and Marc continued to play the old standard Poem, the title track of Marc’s most recent release Modern Times, and the Sergio Mendes classic Mas Que Nada, a musical explosion occurred and the audience became incredibly thrilled; their performance that evening ended with the homage to Earth Wind & Fire in the form of their celebrated sensation, September.
The next set of the evening commenced as David Longoria took the stage with his band to perform. The amazingly vehement Latin songs from his upcoming CD release, Castles In Spain, and ¡Baila! All She Does Is Dance opened this set. On both these songs David Longoria showcased his unique talent. The tone of his trumpet is reminiscent of that of both Herb Alpert and Arturo Sandoval. He is an exceptional trumpet player and he demonstrates his expertise continually with each song that he performs. He is also a very skilled vocalist who communicates wonderfully with an audience. The son of the famed Thomas "Coke" Escovedo an original member of the early Carlos Santana band of the 1970s Paris Escovedo is building upon his father’s legacy. That evening he displayed the essence of percussive genius throughout the set. Other members of the band, Carl Strand, Arthur Pruit, Jonathan Goldman, Rayford Gilliard, and Eddie Rouse equally established that they were indeed in their element. Del Oro recording artist April Diamond and Fausto Berragone provided vocals for the band. The Face Of An Angel was sung by Y-Nita Hall, the song was rather evocative of Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues. David awed the audience when he hit the high notes on Que Pasa Con Mi Corazon. Jonathan Goldman had an amazing trombone solo, and Arthur Pruit on Saxophone along with Carl Strand on the acoustic and electric guitars, and Rayford Gilliard on bass did as well on No Turning Back. The final song Muy Caliente, was just that hot. Each song had a very strong and fluent flow. Each seasoned player rose to the occasion and displayed their unique gifts.
The final musical act of the evening was the renowned band, Spyro Grya. Spyro Gyra has been in formation for over twenty-five years and the camaraderie is apparent when these tremendously gifted and astute musicians take the stage. Jay Beckenstein, Scott Ambush, Julio Fernandez, and Tom Schuman. They each led inspired solos during the course of their set which opened with Spyro Time from their latest release, "Wrapped In A Dream" which was smooth and the perfect segue into "Daddy’s Got A New Girl Now." Spyro Gyra always delivers and never disappoints a captive audience. Each member is a consummate musician that exhibits their extraordinary talent at every moment in everything from their breaks to their rhythm changes. The audience was enthralled by their expertise and followed along tapping their feet and getting into the groove. As I heard Spyro Gyra perform I could not help but ponder that they personify the essence of jazz. I thoroughly enjoyed this evening of music and was in awe of the musicianship and dedication that each artist exhibited through their individual performances.