LIVE Performances at Annual Catalina Jazz Festival Honoring LUTHER VANDROSS
I had the opportunity to attend the last show of the 2005 Catalina Island Jazz Festival honoring the music contributions of Luther Vandross. It was simply a joy to be at the historic Catalina Island ballroom. Even though my native state is California as I did grow up in the bay area and lived in southern california for numerous years, I just never really seriously considered visiting this island which is just an hour boat trip from the LA harbor. This hilly and romantically beautiful island is definitely a mini tourist excursion from the main land offering many places to stay, shop & eat.
As we approached and entered the ballroom, the detailed architecture of the edifice could not be ignored with all the detailed external and internal visual embellishments…words couldn’t really accurate describe the beauty of it along with ambiance that fills the place and surroundings.
The artists line-up for this particlar show included: Mindi Abair, Paul Jackson Jr, Layla Hathaway, & Kirk Whalum with Rex Rideout being the music director! Everyone did an outstanding job with Luther’s recordings. I’ve seen Paul Jackson perform numerous times which was always a treat but I never saw Layla perform. Her deep resonating voice tones are so eloquently presented and I could even hear in a way her father, the late Donny Hathaway in her style.
Mindi Abair performance was great as well. She has an energetic manner of playing and her style is similar to Dave Koz to me. Now Kirk Whalum played and poured his heart out as he performed. I mean his whole being went into every song that he performed. Awesome.
The icing on the cake was to see and hear Rex Rideout perform. I’ve heard so many of his songs he has either co-written or produced of others whether it be a big screen movie, tv commercial or artists including his work with Luther Vandross. It was indeed a special treat to see him perform on the keyboard with all of his zeal and passion while he functioned as the onstage music director that evening. I was honored to meet him as well when exiting the boat back to the main land from Catalina Island!!
Now I know that I haven’t mentioned any song titles but I would rather you hear the performance yourself as the promoters of the festival will make sound tracks available of the performance online again. When I find out when these tracks are available, I wil make it a point to post it.