Ladies Sing The Blues
Carnegie Hall, June 20, 2006:
Kathy and I travel into Manhattan for our first JVC Jazz Festival 2006 event. Tonight we are very excited to be seated front row center for: Ladies Sing the Blues. Tonight’s bill features: Etta James and Susan Tedeschi. I say a big hello to my friend Ray Cameron, who’s been an usher here for many years.
Susan Tedeschi takes the stage at 8:00 P.M. She is dressed in a beautiful black dress, with a pleated skirt and spaghetti straps. She opens with, “Little by Little.” Her rendition of the Junior Wells blues classic is excellent. The boogie swing groove is solid and sultry. The ever so familiar Buddy Guy rhythm guitar riff is inspiring. The tenor sax solo from Ron Holloway is wailin’, with well executed melodic runs and succinct stops for dynamic contrast. There is a catchy group vocal refrain, “baby, that’s the way I feel,” that features excellent harmony.
The next song, “It Hurts So Bad,” is a moderate rockin’ blues in a 50s style melodic progression. Susan Tedeschi delivers a soulful and expressive vocal. Susan’s guitar leads are true to the blues genre. It is refreshing to hear the blues guitar played with respect to its original form and phrasing. The creative tenor solo is staccato and deliberate.
“Just Won’t Burn” is a very slow minor blues. Susan’s vocal delivery is heart wrenching, sensual and very personal. There is a nice stop and dynamic change. Susan Tedeschi’s guitar lead is tastefully delicate, emotional and genuine. Again, she demonstrates true traditional blues guitar form. The melodic phrasing is slow, expressive and staccato, with clever use of rests for space. The tenor solo begins a bit more moody and ethereal and then builds to strong crescendos and sustained wailing high notes.
“Evidence” has an audience capturing intro that is a lively, strong and a staggered 4/4 tempo. Susan delivers a powerful, ballsy vocal presentation. The vocal refrain, “your meeting some other woman in some other place,” clearly conveys the fiery emotion of the composition. The song builds stronger and stronger into a wailin’ tenor sax solo. The band is impassioned. William Green executes a magnificent Hammond B-3 solo that is ‘fat’, soulful and spirited. The band is trading solo passages to display talented musical chemistry and capture the audience’s imagination.
The next song, “Lord Protect My Child,” a Bob Dylan composition, is from the latest CD release: Hope and Desire. The melodic progression is in the gospel style. This is excellent storytelling about parental devotion toward children. The band is exceedingly tight and the comforting four part harmony is tremendous. There is a well timed stop for dynamic emphasis. Another excellent tenor sax solo rings through the Carnegie Hall rafters. The piano solo delivers a delicate touch and exemplary musical expression. Susan’s country blues lead is succinct and staccato while her vocal delivery is expressive and genuine.
“Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” is a blues rocker that is full and strong. The band is cookin’. The groove is powerful. This is get up and dance music. Susan’s raspy, growling vocal delivery is soulful and sexy. I have goose bumps all over. William Green’s piano solo is double-time, with vivid hand percussion accents and crescendos. The tenor sax solo squeals, long high sustain notes. Smokin’! Ron Perry on bass and Aaron Turner on drums, fills out this inspirational rhythm section. Yeah Baby!
“Sweet Forgiveness” is slow and sincere. This composition contains an endearing melodic progression in the gospel style. There is a delicious and embracing tenor solo.
The closing song is, “The Feeling That Music Brings.” It was written with Susan’s husband, Derek Trucks. I saw Derek Trucks perform last year, at Les Paul's 90th Birthday Celebration. He was exceptional in his featured musical spot. This song is a sultry swing with great melodic changes. Susan’s vocal engages in a captivating answer/response passage with the Hammond B-3. The subsequent B-3 solo reaches the heavens. Wow! The entire audience is clapping along as the tenor solo is hot! The arrangement goes into double-time and is truly inspiring. Now, William Green on keyboards is going wild! What incredible showmanship.
I have heard only great things, over the years, about Susan Tedeschi. This tremendous performance validates everyone’s claims. Her compositions, powerfully captivating vocal delivery and close to the vest blues guitar style, are excellent. Her band gives an incredible performance tonight, which is integral to the overall presentation. Now, I am a Susan Tedeschi fan and will rave about this gig to everyone. Yes!
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