I celebrated the end of the week by partying with Ester Rada in the Unity Health Big Tent. Rada and her bandmates brought a highly contagious, joyful energy to the stage. Her rumbly vocals were backed by a full band of keys, bass guitar, guitar, tenor saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and drum set. They came all the way from Israel to share their love with us, Rada said.
The breezy venue is the perfect location for such a lively show, and the crowd was extremely attentive. Indeed, Rada was the first act I saw that legitimately had me dancing beyond just a polite back and forth. Her sound is a mix of soul, jazz, and pop & something that could have mainstream appeal here in the US. I imagined hearing her music on the radio alongside Top 40 hits.
As I looked around the venue, it became clear that these kinds of shows are the heart and soul of Jazz Fest. People were enjoying the breeze blowing in from outside and visibly having a great time. Rada could clearly feel the energy and fed off of it. The more she sang, the more engaged she became and danced with even more enthusiasm. It was the highlight of a wonderful week, and the perfect way to close out an amazing experience.