SoulMates’ friend and supporter Michael Magaurn, of video fame and who is about to release the DVD of The SoulMates live performance at Jimmy Mak’s, pointed out some of the stellar visitors to us. Michael always gets that huge hamburger and we always get the fish and chips. We stare at each others' food and say to ourselves "Next week, I'm getting that" which we never do. Michael showed us a couple of guys seated in the middle section. It was Gordie Michaels the great keyboards player whose snowy, wavy long hair made him look like Wild Bill Hickock and next to him was Larry Pindar of guitar fame who looked like…well, Lex Luthor.
Now what is loads of fun is to watch these great musicians admiring The SoulMates. When Jaybird displays his virtuosity, these brilliant musicians would break into a smile and nod to each other in admiration and approval of what Jaybird was dishing up.
It continues to get served up when Jarrod sings "Everything I Need" a Gospel-style composition of his own. Come and dine, brothers and sisters, come and dine!
The second set was a like a big birthday bash for Reinhardt Melz, “the drummist” of The SoulMates, who was celebrating his birthday today. Coming to join in the celebration were Joe Hall, Dan Gaynor and Doug Rowell and also Chris Land who joined with the band to sing a couple of numbers after we were graced by young and gifted Nichole Burke singing an Etta James tune.
However, the nicest surprise was Billy Bradford who had come along with his brother. Both of the Bradford boys are sons of the legendary trumpet phenomenon Bobby Bradford (Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Quincy Jones). Billy sang backing vocals to Jarrod Lawson’s lead and the result was thrilling. He stood in for two songs and was delightful. Regular patron Tim had come in and politely asked Billy if the seat beside him (at the front) was taken and Billy offered it up to him. After adjusting his chair, Tim sat his drink down, banged knuckles with Jaybird, and assumed the position he takes very week--watching intently and absorbing everything.
Rhonda the waitress was also in especially good form. She delivers refilled water glasses to The SoulMates and does it without disturbing the music, the musicians...or the water-glasses. She slipped around Jaybird's guitar neck, sidled by Reinhardt's cymbals and dipped past and behind Jarrod's keyboard without ever bumping a microphone or pulling a cord. Poetry in motion.
Perhaps the most gratifying moment for Jaybird personally was the return of drum master Dennis Bradford. Dennis has known Jaybird for many, many years and they played with the Jeff Lorber Fusion and both of them appeared on the “Water Sign" (1979) album, with Dennis appearing the first five JLF albums. As Jaybird says, “When everyone else was copying Billy Cobham, Dennis was creating a new style of swing drumming.
Dennis, however, has been in Tokyo for the last 26 years and has only recently returned home. He had achieved permanent resident status but has now come back to the US, apparently for good.
And what a welcome home he received! The SoulMates treated him to wonderful renditions of “Stay” and “Knocks Me Off My Feet” alongside original numbers like “Man for You”(by Jay Koder) and “Everything I Need” (by Jarrod Lawson).
Reinhardt Melz was sporting a different drum kit tonight. I mentioned it to Jaybird and he said, “Oh, he’s got lots of drum kits. He loses a lot of stuff.” Reinhardt is away for 2 ½ weeks with Gino Vanelli in Europe. We will miss him.
The second set concluded around 1.30 am and one of the final numbers was Gershwin’s “Summertime.” It was a bit of a farewell to summer-time in Portland and was terribly ironic. When the night was over, the band packed up and we made our way to the door. Stepping out into the night, we were harshly greeted by near-freezing temperatures and the assurance that summer-time is over.
But inside the Candlelight, it is always warm and inviting with the food served hot and The SoulMates even hotter.
As Jaybird always says, “We’re going to join you for some cocktails and then be back after the break.”
And so will I…..
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