Jay “Bird” Koder and his SoulMates took the stage a little after 8:00 pm and opened the show with George Clinton’s “I’ll Stay.” The renowned Bobby Torres was in attendance to catch the performance and enjoy the party and so was the lovely Shirley Brown.
The SoulMates then continued and offered to “turn a Steve Miller tune on its ear” with their rendition of “Fly Like an Eagle.” As the band was bending the song to their will, an older gentleman behind me delightedly exclaimed “Aw, get outta here!” His enthusiasm, and everyone else’s, was kicked to an even higher level when Jay “Bird” turned in one incredible guitar solo. The SoulMates were in complete control of their audience.
Jay “Bird” introduced Jans (“As Bad as He Wants to Be”) Ingber to sing an unreleased Stevie Wonder song called “On the Right Track.” The composition is moving and exciting and at one point, Jay “Bird” was bouncing up and down in complete enjoyment. Then Paul Simon’s “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” became a soul tune under the SoulMates handling and even turned into a samba by then end of the song.
But the greatest responses always come for the original SoulMates compositions. Tonight was no exception as Jarrod Lawson’s “Everything I Need” gave evidence. The song is written around the theme of facing disaster and anguish. Despite the loss of property or means, the joy comes from knowing that—as long as we have close those who mean so much to us—we have everything we need. Possessions are just souvenirs and are nothing compared to what shall be revealed. It is the triumph of gratitude over greed. As Jay “Bird” embarks on one of his traveling solos through the audience, the spirit of the song and the SoulMates leave nothing but smiles in his wake.
One lucky audience member received a complimentary copy of the DVD for having traveled the farthest distance to be in attendance. One person was from Los Angeles, another from North Carolina, but the hands-down winner was from Lim Xiao, China. The winner happily came to the stage to receive the DVD and a hug from Jay “Bird.”
Then followed Jay “Bird”s own composition to his personal SoulMate, the love of his life. The song is “I Could Be the Man for You.” His solo guitar speaks of longing and loving and completion. During one of the interview vignettes on the DVD, Jay “Bird” explains the writing and significance of the song.
This is one of the fine aspects of the newly-released DVD. Michael Magaurn, the director and executive producer of the video project, inserts these brief interview moments with the SoulMates between several of the songs. They are quick but meaningful glances into the writing, arranging and meaning of the music; glances into the heart of the band. Mr. Magaurn has rendered an artistic and soulful view of the SoulMates.
Not only were Michael Magaurn’s efforts for the DVD recognized and praised but his birthday was celebrated as well. A birthday cake with candles was taken through the audience and the crowd responded with genuine gratitude and appreciation for Mr. Magaurn’s finished work and his sterling character; a fine man who deserves all the affection and thanks bestowed upon him.
Reinhardt Melz and Jans Ingber were turned loose on percussion with the Eric Ricco song, Love So Real.” The percussion duet just smoked. One can always see Reinhardt is in the groove when he turns his shoulder into the beat and he was in there with Jans this night. From there to the magnificent Stevie Wonder tune “Knocks Me Off My Feet,” which Jarrod discusses on the DVD by saying that the SoulMates usually bend songs to their style but this song remains untouched. The reason, Jarrod explains, is because “the song is already perfect.”
The journey continued to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love” and Prince’s “Strange Relationship” only to return and finish with Stevie Wonder and “I Wish.” One of the song’s memorable lines is “Momma gives you money for Sunday School / You trade yours for candy after church is through.” My suspicion is that anyone who attends any SoulMates’ performance would gladly trade their Sunday School money for the SoulMates’ DVD just released.
And God would have no complaints about it.