It was a reunion atmosphere as Jay "Bird" Koder put Reinhardt through the paces, calling on him for three extended drum breaks in one song alone. And Reinhardt responded with precision and confidence, as always. The reunion of the trio was smooth and seamless and why not? They are the SoulMates and time nor distance can keep them apart.
Somewhere in the second number, I'll Fly Away, Bird cut into one of the most heart-wrenching guitar solos ever. There was such a longing there that was reminiscent of that sustained oboe note from the Overture of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Bird's playing simply reached into the heavens and returned with the fulfillment that Wagner never seemed to find. He brought an answer to the emptiness. He brought atonement.
Quite simply, if it can be stated simply, it was one of those divine moments that will never be relived and cannot be revealed to anyone who was not there. This is why we sit at the Candlelight week-after-week, through both sets, because we do not want to miss even one of those moments.
The song I'll Fly Away is a SoulMates original composition and it is something that should be heard everywhere and by all. This is the feeling one gets from all the original songs that the SoulMates perform. From Everything I Need to Nose Knows and to I Could Be the Man for You there is a personal unveiling that happens; a look into the hearts of the SoulMates.
And then there is the wild ride that one experiences in the covers wherein you hear Jarrod's soulful enunciation of "Good day, bad day, half-way day..." followed by the Bird's guitar and Reinhardt's thundering. If I'll Fly Away is like a hymn, then this one was more like a Cub Scout kegger held in Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory. And I mean that in a good way. It was wild and it was electric and if you were dead when you got there, you were brought back to life before the night was over. It began the roller-coaster descent that continued through the rest of the night, except for the slight upturn after the return from the break which included a lovely Silent Night and Let's Get it On.
The finale was All Day Sucker and the trio were simply playing as if they had just started and still had all day ahead of them. Reinhardt's patterns were so varied and so intricate and so eye-popping that it can only be compared to a flock of Afro-cuban ducks being caught in a helicopter's rotors. There was flapping and throbbing and whirling and feathers flying everywhere. Okay, there were no feathers. But credit the SoulMates for creating an atmosphere where exhaustion gives way to exaltation.
It is also where, as I have said so many times, friendship is the result of the sharing of the music, the respect and the soul of Jay "Bird", Jarrod and Reinhardt. The walls that separate people come down like Jericho when we share together what they have to offer.
They make us all a part instead of apart. They make us all into a union of friendship. They make us all SoulMates.
As Jay "Bird" always says, "We going to join you for some cocktails and we will be right back..."
And so will I...