It is always interesting to see what songs grab people. On different nights, it may be different songs that have the powerful effect. Some songs always seem to do the job for one person or another. Some always seem to work for the entire audience.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the SoulMates original compositions seem to fall into the last category. Man 4 U and Everything I Need (by Jay "Bird" Koder and Jarrod Lawson, respectively) are perennial crowd favorites.
Stevie Wonder's Knocks Me Off My Feet is no shock as another audience-pleaser. As Jarrod has said, "It's the perfect song. Just play it straight." And each and every week the listeners are enthralled by the song, especially SoulMates style. Can't Hide Love is another such pleaser.
Monday night, the SoulMates came ready to thrill and captivate. During the instrumental warm-ups, the Candlelight crowd was treated to Night Crawler, another SoulMates original. The Bird's guitar solo was melancholy and emotional and a bit haunting. Reinhardt's drum solo was like watching Shiva on crack. It was only the second song of the first set and Reinhardt proved that he came to play. In fact, Reinhardt wound up as the go-to guy on a couple of occassions this night--for different reasons.
During One Mo 'Gin, "Bird" played his guitar percussively and traded with Reinhardt hit for hit. That was fun! Even Jarrod appeared as if he were watching a ping-pong match, looking back and forth between the two hitters.
Late in the evening during I Wish Reinhardt pounded the living daylights out of a drum solo that made our pal Toray walk away just shaking his head. That happens a lot at the Candlelight on Monday nights; we all shake our heads in disbelief with these guys. And I mean that in a good way...
Then there is Reinhardt playing that Steve Gadd beat (Jay "Bird" calls it "the Hogan's Heroes" beat) that introduces 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover or what "Bird" calls a foray into "the seedy underbelly of love." I don't know what that means but the way he says it makes you want to go home and shower. And I don't mean that in a good way...
Reinhardt's most memorable and light-hearted moment was at the beginning of Lovely Day. The song started in its lovely way and Jarrod...could not remember the opening line. He looked back at Reinhardt ("Nose") and said, "How's it start!?" Reinhardt called out "When I wake up in the mornin', love..." I'm not sure which was funnier--Jarrod forgetting the lines or Nose knowing the lines. But the "Bird" just shrugged his shoulders and said "Nose knows!"
But what was the most unforgettable part of the night came early and the feeling stayed late. Jay "Bird" said "This goes out to one of our very favorite people in the world and she's right here with us." The SoulMates then soared into the most beautiful, heart-tugging, and tear-inducing rendition of Sukiyaki. Of course, it is the English-speaking world that calls it that. In Japanese, the title is literally I Shall Walk Looking Up. The original was sung by Kyu Sakamoto and was sung entirely in Japanese and still was a huge hit in the U.S. in 1963, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It even reached #18 on the R&B charts.
The SoulMates, however, gave the most emotional of instrumental treatments of the song. This was the song of the night. This was the song that stuck in everyone's mind. People were absolutely "oohing and aahing" at the end. One woman called it "the most beautiful thing I ever heard." Another said, "I have heard it sung and I have sung it myself many times but I never heard anything like this!" as the melody faded away.