Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Pianist Dave Brubeck Last Sunday, I posted my five favorite albums released in 2008. Today I want to share with the readers Of I Dig Jazz my top five concerts of 2008. First, I should explain I attended many performers, and received quite a few good albums. I challenged myself. I only selected five concerts; choosing more would have been too easy.

1.) Dee Dee Sharp
2008 Detroit International Jazz Festival

The others vocalists who performed at the jazz fest should have scheduled their lunch break around Sharp’s set to take notes on how to stage an unforgettable show. The sixty something journey-woman tank was on full. By the time Sharp reached the fourth song of her set, she had to give her band and back up singers a coffee break. They were worn-out.

2.) Sean Dobbins and the New Jazz Messengers
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge

The drummer had a lot to live up too, naming his quintet after the late drummer and bandleader Art Blakey. Dobbins succeeded. The drummer has a gift. He can swing while playing patterns and melodies. His quintet played hard as the original Messengers.

3.) Joan Belgrave
Cliff Bells

I heard the vocalist with her own band for the first time in 2008. The crowd was noisy and unruly. Her voice tamed them. That’s a character trait of an experienced chanteuse. Her performance was a mix of classic jazz, blues, and pop selections. My ears were satisfied after the first set.

4.) Earl Klugh
Orchestra Hall

The guitarist is an unselfish bandleader. Instead of hogging the stage, Klugh shared the spotlight with his band-mates. Klugh bragged about their accomplishments and upcoming project, but he said little about his future aspirations.

5.) Dave Brubeck
Orchestra Hall

As I drove to the pianist’s concert, I wondered if he could still swing. He is 88. After Brubeck soloed on the opening tune of the set, I had my answer. Yes! All night, the pianist worked harder than a contractor.

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