Concert Review Chip Shelton/Peacetime @ Twins Jazz Club in Washington DC (5/17/2008)
Chip Shelton's CD release party for his EIGHTH ALBUM, "Imbued With Memories" at Twins in Washington DC, was quite simply an amazing event, in front of a PACKED HOUSE FOR BOTH SETS. By the way, you can listen to Chip Shelton's New Release, "Imbued With Memories" (featuring the entire album + an interview with Chip) exclusively on Soul-Patrol.Net Radio at: http://www.soul-patrol.net/chip_memories.ram
(and sometimes there is "elegance in simplicity")
- It was a GREAT evening for Chip Shelton.
- It was a GREAT evening for Twins Nightclub.
- It was a GREAT evening for Jazz.
- It was a GREAT evening for Black Music/Culture.
And it all really did happen, on a warm spring night, right in the middle of America's ORIGINAL..."chocolate city"
(the home of DUKE ELLINGTON)
And I have no doubt that the "Duke" was looking down on us and smiling...
First let me tell you about the music. Chip and his band were "on tha one" in more ways than one. They simply flat out SMOKED. Some jazz artists & fans traditionally have a problem in trying to classify things by musical styles. They get caught up into so much of a terminology game ("smooth jazz" vs. "straight no chaser" vs. "fusion", etc) that I think that sometimes they forget that the music is supposed to be fun. If I had to describe the type of music that Chip played last night I suppose that I would say that it was very "CTIesque". But for those of you who don't know or care what that term means, I will tell you that musically it was a whole lotta fun. Chip Shelton "channeled" Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Ronnie Laws, Herbie Mann, Louis Jordan, Eddie Harris and more during the show. One of the highlights for you Classic Soul fans was Chip's cover of Donny Hathaway's "Valdez in the Country" (taken from Chip's new album "Imbued With Memories.") Another highlight was the song "Cliff Notes" (also taken from Chips new album "Imbued With Memories) a very funky cut inspired by the artistry of the legendary Clifford Brown.
Longtime Soul-Patroller and longtime Washington DC area radio personality "Dr" Nick Johnson was the emcee for the evening. Nick can be heard worldwide via XM Satellite Radio daily as the host of "Soul Street" every morning. "Dr" Nick is someone that I have known for a long time and I was honored to have him introduce me to the crowd. When he did so the entire room greeted me with warm and enthusiastic applause. Did my ego a whole lot of good, but more importantly that told me that the that the online promotion for the show had been effective. Twins Nightclub (www.twinsjazz.com) was full for both sets. It was a classic jazz club type of setting, with a twist. They had a menu of fantastic Ethiopian food that my family of picky eaters thought was off the chain.
The crowd was 99 & 44/100 percent Black. That certainly wasn't by design, but I thought that it was most interesting, since the racial mix at most jazz clubs that I have been at over the past few decades has been overwhelmingly white. That's not a bad thing, but it always causes me to wonder just why it seems that Black folks seemed to have abandoned jazz? I don't pretend to have the answer to that question, however I do think that it's worth pointing out that the presence of BOTH the hosts of "Soul Street" and "Soul-Patrol.com" in the house says volumes about the "soulfulness" at the heart of Chip Shelton's music. Thinking about the "CTIesque" nature of the music, the "Saturday night fish fry 99 & 44/100 percent Black crowd, the "chocolate city" location it all had a "Grover Washington Jr." type of vibe, that left me smiling.
On a personal note...
In addition to "Mrs. Earthjuice", I brought my daughter 15 year old daughter Rachel. Soul-Patrol's Greer Muldoon brought her 15 year old son Tyler. For both of these two young people it was their first time ever at a jazz club.
Some of yall will remember meeting Tyler at the 2004 Soul-Patrol Convention and seeing just how excited he was at seeing a live band
(RioSoul) perform for the first time in his life and how excited he was to have been a part of Badal Roy's Tabla Drumming workshop.
And of course as you all know, Rachel runs hot & cold with this kind of stuff. Nevertheless both got quite a bit out of being there to hear the music, meet the musicians and more. The club was packed for both sets and both Tyler and Rachel hung in there for most of the three hours of live jazz. They both got to meet the musicians as well as many of the folks in the club.
Does this mean they will become lifetime fans of jazz? http://www.chipshelton.com
But I'll bet they will never forget last sauturday night as long as they live. And they both will always know, just what it's like to see/hear LIVE JAZZ done in a classic setting surrounded by
a whole bunch of people simply enjoying themselves, as they groove to some GREAT MUSIC.
They will know what it's supposed to be like. And to me that is worth all of the money in the world. How's that for ..."putting skin in the game..."
The last song of the first set was a Chip Shelton original called "Chip's Blues". The song is a "jump blues" (think Big Joe Turner/Louis Jordan) that Chip had the entire audience "tappin", "clappin" and "rappin" to. Both Tyler and Rachel were "tappin", "clappin" and "rappin" right along with the rest of the packed nightclub filled with "grown folks" 30 to 50 years older than they were.
Overall, this show was just about "as good as it gets", because Tyler & Rachel were there. But also for several other reasons as well.
As I observed all of this Duke Ellington's famous line, flashed thru my head:
"There are only two types of music.....GOOD AND BAD"
I thought about the irony of this show being in Duke Ellington's hometown of Washington DC. One of the songs that Chip Shelton played was a cover version of Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)."
I had a great big smile on my face, thinking about just what the future of Jazz might just sound like in the hands of artists like Chip Shelton. It might just sound like a whole lotta multi generational fun, filled with lots of "good music" (to quote "the Duke"), with a crowd of smiling faces in my opinion. To this "1970's old head" that sounds a whole lot like that late/great record company called CTI which was able to successfully bridge the "terminology gap" in Jazz and bring an entire new generation of listeners (like me) to the genre in a way that connected the listeners of the past, present and future.
I'll leave the answers to the hard questions about jazz to the "experts." But I have no problems answering the easy ones. If you want to go out and listen to some great music, played by virtuoso musicians and have a whole lotta fun at the same time, be sure to go and check out Chip Shelton/Peacetime, when they come to your city.
And if you can't check him out live, check out his website online at: http://www.chipshelton.com
There is a good reason why Chip Shelton is one of the core artists of Soul-Patrol.com. There is indeed a "message in the music."
Listen to Chip Shelton's New Release, "Imbued With Memories" exclusively on Soul-Patrol.Net Radio at: http://www.soul-patrol.net/chip_memories.ram
--Bob Davis: Soul-Patrol.com