The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival Sizzled!!

The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival just wrapped up last night in Wilmington, DE.  Shawn and I have made it a point to stay at the Sheraton for the last two years.  We even got a chance to attend the Block Party after Kim Waters blew the crowd away last night.  I had last seen him play at Zanzibar Blue when he still had dreads.  I was actually on the elevator with his daughter when I was leaving the hotel.  Many of the performers at the show stayed at the Sheraton.  His daughter also played keyboard while accompanying her father on his final numbers.

The crowd at the event is always grown and sexy.  You can come out to this event and really relax and enjoy the blessings that life has bestowed upon you.  I wondered who Clifford Brown was to enjoy this kind of dedication by jazz fans.  He was only twenty-five years old when he and his wife died tragically in a car accident.  He played the trumpet and only left behind four years worth of recordings. I say 'only' but the size of the crowds indicate otherwise.  He had an album entitled, Study in Brown, released in 1955.  He also recorded an album that was released posthumously that was entitled the Clifford Brown All Stars.   His impact must have been intense to his peers.  His legend has grown with this jazz festival and it is the best free concert on the East Coast.

We planned meticulously for this event.  The rooms were very reasonable and included free parking.  I missed my Sister Kia this year.  She was in New York hanging out.  I also missed my cousin Kia Clements.  She wasn't feeling well.  We did get a chance to see Rab, Javett, Marta, Sweep, Charlie Moose and others.  I saw Mama's husband, Rick Wallace.  We actually got a seat on the lawn this year.  I had to work last year and missed out on arriving early.  The concert started at 1:00 PM but people were in position at 11:00.  I want to give a shout out to the Delta Restaurant.  We ate breakfast there for two days and will visit again next year.

I was most impressed with Andra Day on Friday night.  She said that we were actually having a conversation.  She mentioned Nina Simone as one of her favorite singers.  Her voice was powerful and she sounded like she could have been singing in the fifties.  I mean that as a compliment.  She wasn't pop at all.  She was straight from the heart.  Nadjah Nicole was alright.  She had a nice band.  The Aniya Jazz Ensemble was smooth also.  My MVP for the night was Andra though.  I need to get her CD.
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Robert Glasper led things off on a blazing Saturday.  He plays the piano and he was excellent.  He was first because he had an evening gig in NYC.  He is a serious jazz musician and I have one of his CD's. Dr. Lonnie Smith took way too long to come on.  I would classify his music as Acid Jazz.  He played an old organ that looks like it came from Bethany Baptist Church.   He made noise as opposed to singing.  I realize that he might be formidable.  Also, he looked like a Raja from India.  There was a sixteen piece band that played Clifford Brown songs.  I cannot find them on the line up but Shawn and I both enjoyed the Big Band sound.  They were from New York and were one of the best acts.

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The highlight of my night was the performance Euge Groove.  I love the songs of this group.  The leader of the group is a Saxophonist by the name of Stephen Grove.  He is extremely talented and led us on a musical journey during their time on the stage.  He is from Hagerstown, MD but lives on the West Coast.  I have Born 2 Groove and House of Groove in my collection.  His group is coming out with a new CD on July 22nd.  I will be sure to get a copy for my birthday.   He was also a member of Tower of Power.  He did work for Expose.  He got the audience involved and actually played in the crowd.  All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  We are heading to see Spyro Gyra tomorrow at Wiggins Park in Camden, NJ.  Let's keep the jazz flowing.

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