Just settling in now, I had one hell of a day at UCLA Jazz Reggae today, obviously! Per my usual tradition, I showed up hung over and late, so I can’t tell you about anybody who performed before Foreign Exchange. But considering my tardiness, I was glad to see the Grammy nominated group get some shine in the West L.A. sun. Having never seen the group before, I was basing my knowledge on what Takstar had muttered about the fusion between rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte and producer Nicolay, I was all ears. The group came out with a lot of energy, and some swagger that only Grammy nominated groups thrust to the forefront of their set like they did. But ulitmately the group was frustrated about being rushed through their set by UCLA techies (a common theme for all performers today), and FE failed to deliver a memorable performance, though they kept promising the real deal when they perform at the Roxy in a few weeks. One note from Takstar that I found relevant, Phonte should sing less. Agreed.
Oh yeah, and I forgot my digital equipment today, that left me clicking off film all day, hence the lack of aesthetic goodies, though the quick snippet I grabbed from my G1 of Raphael doing his thing late in the night is worth listening to more than watching.
After the frustration of Foreign Exchange seeped from the stage, Bilal graced it with some Philly old school swagger that was reminiscent of D’Angelo in his heyday. Bilal absolutely destroyed it, and for me was a personal favorite for the day. I got some amazing shots of him close up and look forward to developing that old school film with the quickness. He was belting out some great material from back in the day that was sung along by the faithful on Intramural Field, he also closed his set with some material off his upcoming album this August, I think he said. He too was rushed off the stage. Tsk. Tsk.
Next was Q-Tip, and let me say I was doubtful of his ability to come out in that hot sun and put down a energized set. I couldn’t have been more off the money! He came out in shorts, like he was just another Bruin, and he perfectly melded Tribe favorites with some of his solo work, mostly off his last album, Renaissance. Raphael Saadiq came out and did a track with Tip, that was pretty dope in its own right. Overall, Q-Tip was the star of the show, even though he made sure to pay his homage to Raphael, specifically making references to the fact that he was a “visitor in the Master’s house” for the day.
By the time Raphael graced the stage, many of the patrons of Jam Day had left, though the crowd in the front was more active and had bulldozed the blanket area that had plagued the front stage area all day. Admittedly ignorant of Raphael’s work for the most part, I can’t say I was devastated to only have 3 shots left in the Canon. Once again, I was mistaken, I wish I had more. The Raphael Saadiq show is legit, a whole bunch of polished looking men in black suits, a team effort supports that man, but he’s a one-man show. That’s entertainment. Overall, this set reminded me of being around in the late 50′s, and in the context of Jazz Day at UCLA JRF, you can’t ask for more than that.
My bad on the lack of footage, I am geared up for tomorrow and will deliver goods no dizzy, tomorrow. Till then, smoke well,sleep better. See you tomorrow. Peace.