I walked in the front door of the DoubleTree Hotel Rockville and was greeted not by a member of the hotel, but by the sounds of music... sweet music - horns, piano, drums - and applause. Not every hotel greets its guest this way, except during the East Coast Jazz Festival. Musicians from around the globe are invited to showcase their talents. It's a warm, friendly and very inviting atmosphere. After getting my bearings, and there is a lot to see, everything from the vendors (clothing, paintings, memorabilia, jewelry, tapes & CD's and more) to the music, I wandered around. You really don't want to miss anything. Later, I settled in for the evenings festivities. The feature this evening was the Hammond B-3. And everyone was invited to JAM!
There was the Jacques Johnson Quintet
which featured, Jacques Johnson on sax; Margie Clark on vocals, a petite woman who is more like Cecila Cruz and Betty Carter all in one; Bill Clark on organ; David Panzer on guitar and Ricky Loza on drums. Their tunes included "If you Leave Me," a bossa nova number, followed by "Take the A Train" and "24/7" an original tune. This group really enjoys playing together and it shows. The Charles Covington Trio
with Covington on organ, Steve Abshire on guitar and Bertell Knox on drums turned quite a few heads. Covington set a groove to bop to and all you wanted to do was dance. No one did, but they should have. The group performed Ahmad Jamal's "Poinciana," G.G. Gryce's "Minority," and played some "honky tonk," much like the style of Bill Doggett. Covington at one point just played the melody on the foot pedals which had the crowd jumping - I know I couldn't sit still!
Irene Reed was down with the flu and under orders to just rest. Ernie Andrews
stepped in last minute and what a wonderful surprise. The rhythm section, Aaron Graves, organ; Steve Abshire, guitar; Ron Compton, drums; Buck Hill, sax and Ernie on vocals and flavor. By flavor I mean he really spiced it up. My favorites: "Mr. Jazz," "My Way" and of course "Girl Talk." Ernie walked off the stage for a moment but he left the rhythm section smoking... grooving. You know the kind of groove that James Brown gets you into on "Doin' it to Death" with Fred & the JB Horns? I could have listened to them all night.
Of course you can't have a "Hammond B3 Jam" and not include, Papa John DeFrancesco
with John DeFrancesco, Jr., on guitar and vocals, Ronnie Smith on sax and Glen Ferracone on drums. Papa did what he does best - take you "Back to the Chicken Shack," "Sonny Moon for Two" and "Blues for J." Of course, "Coming Home" was done a la Carlos Santana and in a Latin groove.
What an evening! Some of the best musicians and music you'd ever want to hear, but don't take my word for it, go to the East Coast Jazz Festival 2003 and see for yourself. I only made one day and can only imaging what I missed the rest of the weekend! One jammin' good time! To find out more, check out the East Coast Jazz Festival Web site or email them at:
for the 2003 schedule!