Hot & Cool NEC Jazz 40th Summit, B.B. King Blues Club, 3.27.10

Tonight was a celebration of Jazz and the students of the New England Conservatory at BB Kings in Times Square.  All the musicians on stage were alumni of NEC.  The proceeds of tonight’s show will go towards scholarships for the NEC.  Cool, right? All the musicians came on for one song each, there was a short set break, and the gig was over by 10.  There is no dance floor, the atmosphere is a sitting down culture, and… well, let’s just say sometimes I like to dance.  Yeah, that’s how BB King’s rolls.

I walked in and Sarah Jarosz, a student was on stage.  Adorable and oh, yeah, way talented.  Great singer, really nice and bluesy, she played a banjo, then went into this plucking thing.  Ran Blake comes on piano and does this amazing song alone.  Wow.  It blew the room away.

Bernie Worrell receives the NEC Lifetime Achievement Award.  He got a bit emotional saying a few words.  We got a bit emotional listening.  So, so, sweet.

Medeski, Martin and DJ Logic play.  Starting all sparkly with little bells and soft tapping from the drums, Martin ends up wailing on the drums before Medeski or DJ Logic start to play a note.  Once Martin cools down a bit, Medeski went all experimental jazz on us and notched BB Kings up a bit.  DJ Logic starts spinning and that “chcka chcka” thing accentuates the half-steps going on up on stage.  Yes, it was lovely.  Yes, it got loud.  Yes, people were boppin’ their heads.  It sounded incredible.

Finally, last song, Bernie Worrell, Anton Fig and another woman with a bass joins the stage and we are off into a nice funky jazz thing going on.  Bernie was all sorts of funky incredibly jazzy up there on the electric keys while Medeski is on the grand piano.  Everyone did a little solo, and I’m sorry to say I don’t know the bass chick’s name, wish I did. (if you do, please pass along that info!) Bridget Kearney is her name, thank you Brian!  She rocked it out with these guys.  They were all amazing.

I promise to send along any evidence of this show.  It was very special, indeed.

NEC Jazz 40th Summit

MC Josh Jackson (WBGO)


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