With the casual air of a felon who knows he’s guilty, but doesn’t care, The Dave Spinner B3 Band swung vibrantly nonchalant and tasteful in the Big Tent Monday night. The band came out with its take on the Funky Meters before moving into Herbie Hancock territory. The set was even-keeled and steady in the heat. And the band made it look so damn easy…
The crowd was a little light last night throughout downtown, but managed to congregate big and noisily again in the Big Tent for The Sicilian Jazz Project. Despite the inconsiderate level of chit-chat from the hoi polloi, the group came off as just that -- a project. Not a band, an assembly, a group, or an experience, but a project with a mystical flair.
The project assembled slowly with members coming and going, ebbing and flowing as needed. At times a duo — ethereal vocals and really ethereal guitar — to a full out frontline of two vocals, guitar, and horns above a drummer who sporadically exploded when not plugging away beneath the band’s -- I mean, project’s -- slithering exotic tone. It had a gentle seductive wail that added to its Mediterranean swelter and linen-ensconced charm. Dramatic and beautiful.
Violet Mary’s set at the RG&E-LiDestri Spirit Tent was the best I’ve seen the band, ever. It was loose and totally plugged in as the audience — of all ages — lapped it up. The guitar had amazing tone and attack, and the band’s rockin’ boogie was a nice respite to the Jazz Fest’s tuck and pleat.
Never seen The Fabulous Thunderbirds? Seeing The Chris O’Leary Band at Abilene was the next best thing after the band’s classic “Girls Go Wild” line-up. Freight-train harp, twin sax attack, and a guitar player with a huge twang-cabulary had the place jumpin’ Texas blues style and the walls sweating like those felons I told you about earlier.