I had the chance to catch Maxwell with NextBop editor Anthony Dean-Harris a few weeks back. Good timing too, as after listening to a lot of Otis Redding the week before, I was on one of my periodical ‘they just don't make bands like they used to trips. It took Maxwell and his 7-piece backing crew about three songs to wipe those thoughts right out of my head. These dudes were fierce: navigating start-stop tempo shifts on a dime and subtly showing flashes of their individual sound without overshadowing the band.
Come roll call time at the end of the show, I was pleasantly surprised to recognize a couple names from Maxwell's backing band: bassist Derrick Hodge and organist Shedrick Mitchell, both of whom feature on Otis Brown III's excellent Blue Note debut The Thought of You.
Bassist/vocalist Maria Demus has an earthy sound that's an easy listen. The Lubbock, Texas, local is rooted more in an R&B vibe that works and is worth a listen. She's poised to release an EP of music this coming October, but in the meantime, check out her version of the jazz standard "Black Coffee" after the jump.
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The crowds at the Chicago Jazz Festival are always the best. The central location at the beautiful Millennium Park and free admission make for a wonderfully diverse crowd coming from all racial backgrounds, age groups, and neighborhoods, all sorts of Chicagoans (and others just visiting for the festival) spending Labor Day weekend together for almost four decades.
This week I feel three particular moods in three particular sets-- I wanted to dabble in small guitar groups, journey into the weird, and the third set somehow got heavy into organs. Everything here embraces the new, as usual, and I think this hour has an interesting mix.
The Line-Up for 22 August 2014