The bobbing head with the van dyke be-bopping behind the B3 was its reigning king, Joey DeFrancesco. DeFranceso spent the better part of an hour wringing the instrument out as if it were a washcloth.
With an abbreviated yet capable crew --- guitar and drums --- the cat slathered and slaughtered with exuberant execution and deadly dynamics. While winding a song down into the depths of a lower register conclusion, I swore I could make out words; he made the goddamn thing talk. And he plays the trumpet beautifully a la Mr. Baker. Who knew? That was a pleasant surprise.
I caught just the beginning of blues legend Buddy Guy’s set as the evening’s most excellent offerings had me torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool. The polka-dotted Mr. Guy painted Kodak Hall’s walls blue with his brilliant Strato-twang.
But alas, I had to agitate some gravel and split off the grid to check out Lucinda Williams at Party in the Park. Williams was hot and on top of her game as she drawled her bluesy American over the shag laid down by her awesome band.
The audience, well over 4,000, was filled with sing-along diehards as Williams plucked out hits, new songs --- watch for one called “Protection,” that sucker rocks --- and Neil Young’s "Rockin’ in the Free World.” And as I wiggled my toes in the grass, I didn’t miss the old site at all.
Return to Jazz Fest and Abilene’s asphalt jungle. Selwyn Birchwood brought the Tampa heat and had the crowd out of its seat. These cats were funkier than a porta-potty at a chili cook off. But they also brought the classic swing with tunes like Louis Jordan’s “Caledonia.”
Music was electric and in the air all over town tonight. C’mon sluggo, it can be like this every night. Dirt Daubers tomorrow night. Duck…