Concert Review: Gerald Albright at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle - 10/29/16

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Contemporary jazz favorite Gerald Albright graced Seattle audiences with six soul-infused workouts at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, October 27-30. The veteran saxophonist is currently on tour in promotion of his 18th album, G. The audience for the late show Saturday night was in the mood for steamy grooves—Albright was more than happy to oblige. He opened with his current single "Taking Control" (number one on Billboard's Smooth Jazz Songs chart) and from that point onward he was indeed in full control of the capacity crowd.

Throughout the 90 minute set Albright dipped into G, including highlights like "Boom Boom" (it's insistent kick drum giving the song its propulsive drive and its title) and "Frankie B." (a tribute to Albright's friend and R&B legend Frankie Beverly of Maze). But the set was also peppered with favorites from throughout Albright's career, going all the way back to his rendition of Luther Vandross' "So Amazing" (originally released on Albright's 1987 debut, Just Between Us). The Great American Songbook was represented by a soaring take on "Georgia On My Mind," a tune Albright pointed out he has recorded twice (including on his Grammy-nominated New Beginnings from 2006).

Sticking to alto for the entire show, Albright frequently exhibited his breathtaking mastery of the horn's altissimo range. His band provided ample support, occasionally stepping forward with showstopping solos of their own. Drummer Jerohn Garnett, expertly regulated the pulse of each jam and was duly rewarded with an intense spotlight moment during the encore. Bassist Cory Baker laid down thick funk lines that anchored the grooves. And Chris "Big Dog" Davis handled keyboard duties, not so much in a soloing capacity but providing a bed of sumptuous chords and occasional samples (snatches of backing vocals, additional horn stings) for Albright to twist his sax lines around.

For a full tour itinerary, visit Gerald Albright's official website.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is film and music. His new jazz album Good Merlin is now available.

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