On Friday night June 6th, two consummate professionals took the stage at Atlanta’s Chastain Park; one, an iconic vocalist, the other a virtuoso bassist. Their performances took place on a balmy spring night in Atlanta that was absolutely perfect.
Al Jarreau, for the second time in 9 months returned to the metropolitan Atlanta area to share “the voice”. Al has one of those voices that the moment you hear it, you know not only is it Al Jarreau, it’s vintage Al Jarreau. When he performed at the Cobb Energy Center for Performing Arts a few months ago, he was good; at Chastain Park he was GREAT. Why the difference? Well, when you have the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra playing behind you, it can catapult your performance from just “good” to great.
Al sang, and rocked, and interacted with the audience as well as with the orchestra members throughout his set — always, with that Al Jarreau smile on his face.
Setting the stage, and opening up for Al Jarreau was the incomparable Marcus Miller. Marcus opened up with his song “Blast”, and from that point on had the crowd eating out of his hands. Just as with Al Jarreau, the ASO helped launch Marcus’ performance into the stratosphere. Days before, Marcus had facilitated the ceremony for the installation of Luther Vandross’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; think of all the funky bass riffs you’ve heard over the last 30 years in various Luther Vandross songs — you guessed it, Marcus played them all!
If I had one complaint of the evening, I’d say there should have been more Marcus Miller. Don’t get me wrong, saying I want more Marcus is not tantamount to saying I want less Al. It’s just that I’ve seen Marcus enough times to know that he was just getting warmed up when he finished his set, and because of that, I think the audience got short-changed.
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, the play was just fine …..