Views on pop culture through my eyes

Smooth Summer Jazz Concert
Featuring the Men of Soul: Peabo Bryson, Jeffrey Osborne, Freddie Jackson
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Hollywood Bowl

Special guests: White Hot Summer Groove featuring Peter White & Euge Groove and Mindi Abair

Songs performed: (Freddie Jackson) Tasty Love, You Are My Lady, Jam Tonight, Rock Me Tonight (For Old Time’s Sake); (Peabo Bryson) By the Time This Night Is Over, If Ever You Are in My Arms Again, Show and Tell, Tonight I Celebrate My Love, Can You Stop the Rain, Ain’t Nobody; (Jeffrey Osborne) Stay with Me Tonight, On the Wings of Love, Back in Love Again, Love Ballad, We’re Going All the Way, Holding On (When Love is Gone), You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)

Comments: Smooth jazz and old school soul were in full effect for Sunday’s Smooth Summer Jazz concert at the Hollywood Bowl. So we were treated to almost 4 hours of music from talented musicians and distinctive vocalists. Presented by local radio station 94.7 The Wave, this annual concert is always a popular event.Men of Soul

First up was sax player/vocalist Mindi Abair. Mindi has done a lot of work with different pop stars (she’s on tour with Aerosmith this year), as well as recorded her own albums. She was famously featured in Season 11 of American Idol playing backup to Phillip Phillips. Highlights in her set included: “Be Beautiful,” “Lucy’s”, and the finale “All Star” which featured the Pasasdena City College Marching Band and Drum Corp. I loved the lyrics on “Be Beautiful” (a song she wrote to benefit breast cancer research). She also brought out Ambrosia vocalist David Pack to sing the group’s hit “Biggest Part of Me.”

Next up were veteran musicians Euge Groove and Peter White, performing under the band name White Hot Summer Groove. Peter is an accomplished guitarist who has played with Basia among other musicians. Euge Groove is a saxophonist, and has been featured on songs by Exposé. Their set had a sort of cool, Sunday vibe to it. Amongst all the songs were snippets of songs from Bob Marley, the Temptations (Papa was a Rolling Stone), Isaac Hayes (Theme from Shaft) as well as the James Bond theme. Euge Groove even got to shaking his ass while playing the sax and walking across the walkway near the orchestra section of the venue. Peter performed a nice solo Spanish guitar number. There also was a big beach ball being tossed around the crowd during their set.

The stage revolved one last time, revealing the band for the headliners: the Men of Soul. First up was Freddie Jackson. Known for his silky voice and sexy love songs, he was in a very playful mood with the crowd. He commented on how he didn’t have enough time to fit in all of his hits and how he lost over 100 pounds. Highlights of his set included “You Are My Lady” and “Jam Tonight.” The same band was used for all the headliners, with some slightly different back-up vocalists for each of the guys. The band featured Ming Freeman on keyboards, known for his work at Agape International Spiritual Center.

Next up was veteran soul man, Peabo Bryson. He seemed a little off at first (I was wondering if he was sick), but he quickly got into groove after a few songs. More the romantic than Freddie, he gave us his collaborations with Kenny G (Before This Night is Over) and Roberta Flack (Tonight, I Celebrate My Love — which he sang with one of his back-up vocalists). He also sang some popular cover songs like “Ain’t Nobody (Rufus and Chaka Khan) and “Show and Tell” (Al Wilson). No Disney duets tonight — he stuck to more R&B numbers.

The last of the headliners was Jeffrey Osborne. I wasn’t sure who would be the headliner in this show, Peabo or Jeffrey, but having Jeffrey last proved to be the right idea. Another great singer with a long and varied career, he put on a high energy set that had the crowd dancing and singing along. He came on in his suit and tie singing his hit “Stay with Me Tonight.” He took us back to his early career with the band LTD. He played quite a few numbers from that era, with “Back in Love Again” being the one I was most familiar with. He said he remembered the 70’s, and touring with the Commodores and the OJays.

He sang some of his big love songs like “On the Wings of Love” and “We’re Going All the Way.” Plus more uptempo numbers I was not familiar with. As the night went on, he ended up losing the jacket, tie, and dress shirt even — ending with him in a black muscle shirt by the time of the finale for “You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song).” He looked very fit and attractive for a guy in his early 60’s.

He brought back Mindi Abair, Freddie Jackson and Peabo Bryson to help him close out the show. They all took turns on the “Woo Woo Song” with Mindi showing what a nice voice she had behind that sax. This song also served as a bit of an audience sing-along too.

Thanks to everyone for another great summer evening at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. And to all of our friends from Agape LGBT Ministry for joining in the fun.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Hiking in the Spirit and Real Kilt Men Go Commando. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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