Sunday, December 09, 2007

well, i attended this Spike Lee/Terence Blanchard event yesterday, and I must say it was an absolutely beautiful experience. The first thing I noticed was that my ladyfriend and I were seemingly overdressed, although I would argue that the people around us were severely under-dressed. After all, this was the Kennedy Center for god's sake, it wouldn't have killed everyone to be dressed to the nines. Instead, I saw folks in jeans, tennis shoes and other casual gear, but that's just me and my neurotic mind nitpicking

Bill Cosby kicked off the evening, by telling a few jokes and then speaking a bit about Spike Lee. He then introduced Terence Blanchard, and from there it was all about the music. I know I said yesterday I would blog in detail about the event, but it was TRULY something that you had to see for yourself. Terence and his band played beautifully, and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra did a stellar job as well. The three guests Terence had: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Raul Midon, and Kurt Elling really impressed me with their range, their improvisation, and just their overall talent. I shall definitely be checking out their work. The only thing missing from this night was Spike Lee's presence, but the music, and the accompanying images of his movies that played on the screen above the musicians, more than compensated for that. Some highlights:

The most moving moment(s): 1)The replaying of Ossie Davis' eulogy from Spike's Malcolm X movie. That speech still gives me chills. 2)Terence's playing of the songs "Funeral Dirge" and "Levees" back to back. These songs were composed shortly after Terence's hometown of New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Very moving stuff.

The highlight of the night? Bill Cosby walking out to start the evening. As I looked at this man walking out, I realized the magnitude of this guy's body of work. Not too many people can say they have done as much as Bill Cosby both in and out of show business. I truly felt like I was in the presence of greatness, despite the fact that he's been very cranky and ornery in his recent public appearances.

Best performance? Kurt Elling's performance of the Marc Dorsey's "People In Search of a Life". The combo of the band, the way Kurt volleyed with them, was just easy on the ears

Worst performance: Dee Dee Bridgewater's rendition of the song I posted in yesterday's blog, "Be Sure You're Sure by Stevie Wonder. There are certain songs by Stevie that really should not be remade, and that was one of them. I could have done without that.

Overall, it was a really good evening, and it made me want to buy all of Spike's film and accompanying soundtracks.

People in Search of A Life - Marc Dorsey


Janelle said...

You know my pet peeve is people dressing like they are going to the grocery store for stellar events. I hope you and the lovely ladyfriend gave them the snobbish I can't believe you walked out the house looking like that down gaze. For shame.

I can't believe Spike wasn't there but overall it sounds like a lovely evening. Get up on that movie/soundtrack collection, son!!!

lex said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful time. You saw the Cos live! Dopeness. I'm sad i missed it. Also, it sucks that people don't dress up anymore - not even to things you'd think are dress worthy. I mean would it kill people to take off their jeans and sneaks for a few hours?? Savages.

jazzbrew said...

I was at that concert as well and you're right -- folks in jeans and sneakers... sad.

Kurt Elling's performance of "People in Search of Life" was the best with regards to vocals. It's a great tune and they did it justice... made me pull out my Clockers CD. Terence and his band always gets me out of the house. I think he is due in town again this summer at Blues Alley and in Rockville in Feb.