Seatown Rhythm & Blues Players
ABOUT THIS ALBUM
On Friday night, February 22nd of 2013, my wife and I attended a lounge show at "Angel Of The Winds" Casino featuring the band SEATOWN RHYTHM & BLUES PLAYERS (www.seatownrhythmandblues.com).
This was a 4 piece band with keyboards, bass, guitar and drums. The lounge was fairly dark with three televisions silently playing an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs; the size of the lounge was fairly small with a stage to the front just big enough to place the equipment for the band and a few speakers directly to the front and rear of the band. The side of the lounge is dominated by a large bar with a food preparation area directly behind, and the wall of the bar area was lit up with a red and orange kaleidoscope of lights inset a recessed wood enclosure. The single bartender was busy making drinks for the three bartenders taking care of the patrons from the lounge area waiting to see the show. Some 15 round tables were located in the center of the floor with several high bar style table and chairs ringing the outside of the center. A warm gas fireplace was to the rear of the lounge set into a large rock mantle setting. The audience was mostly middle aged people with a good mix of men and women and a nice blend of Caucasian and African-American music fans who sang and/or danced to the music and the rhythm. The band, SEATOWN RHYTHM & BLUES PLAYERS, all clad in red shirts to recognizeValentine's Day, took the stage and as they went through their warm up and tuning steps, especially the keyboardist/lead singer JAYAR MACK, and the bass player the stage remained dark and the audience could only see dark figures and hear the tuning notes from the instruments. After about 5 minutes of this, all 4 band members took the stage and played a warm up number in the dark. I didn't recognize the tune (turns out it was "Mr. Magic" which is the first tune on this album/CD), but it was well played and set the stage for a great show for all to enjoy. At the end of "Mr. Magic", the lights came up and the band started into an instrumental version of "Moondance" the Van Morrison song released in 1970 on the album with the same title. The version they played featured a solo performance by the bass guitar, lead guitar (Steve Black), and keyboardist (JAYAR MACK).
The drummer (Vernon Petry) set a great beat and rhythm for the other members to play to. His black hatted head bobbing to the beat as he worked the drums coaxing the different sounds from the drums and cymbals to set the pace. The lead guitar player named Steve Black, sat on a black box situated to the right side of the stage with his shirt sleeves rolled up to above his wrists, wore a white golf style hat that shown the colors of the lighting during the performance which ranged from blue, to violet, to red, orange, yellow, green, and back to blue again. He looked towards the floor, but not really at his guitar and he tapped his right foot in rhythm to the music to keep time.
The bass player, a tall imposing figure with a bald head worked the strings of the bass in a masterful manner
to give each song its own unique sound. The keyboard player (JAYAR MACK) worked either one or both of the keyboards set
in front of him in an L shape to the left side of the band. His wonderful mastery of the keyboards was evident
from the very beginning as he played each number with passion and pleasure, smiling and singing
throughout. Another trait he exhibited was rarely if ever looking at the keyboard and keeping a focused eye contact with the audience. He performed like a true professional.
The second number the band played was a soulful funk number that I did not recognize, but it was wonderfully played by all members with the lead guitar setting the chords for the rest to follow.
The third song was a modern jazz number sounding like George Benson or someone similar. The group was tight and had a great sound that left the listener wanting more.
The fourth song was led by the keyboard player JAYAR MACK and was a an adapted version of "Stand by me" the Ben E. King hit from the album "Don't Play That Song" released in 1961 which peaked at #4 on the US charts after its release(and incidentally, also on this album/CD). During this song as with all the rest Steve Black the lead guitarist kept the pace with a steady strumming rhythm and a fluid control of his left hand to hit each note on his Fender "6 tuner on one side" electric guitar. During the faster songs his fingers moved swiftly and without hesitation to accomplish a smooth full sound showing his more than 30 years of Blues, Jazz, and Funk experience playing with some of the best in the business.
The fifth song was a montage of the songs "Spooky", (the lyrical version was performed and recorded by "Classics IV" in 1968) and later "The Atlanta Rhythm Section" in 1979, and "Lowdown" a "Boz Skaggs" hit from the "Silk Degrees" smash album recorded in 1976. The band played this song with a funky blues twist keeping tight control of the song making it fun to dance to with a majority of the audience gathering in the front of the stage to shake the night away.
The last song we got to hear was another montage of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and "My Girl" the 1965 hit singles by "The Temptations", and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by "The Undisputed Truth" in 1971 and redone and rereleased by "The Temptations" in 1973 for which the song won three Grammys in that year. The songs were well blended with good transitions in and out of the songs and the band had great fun playing these wonderful Motown hits.
The group then went on a break before their next set and it was at this point in which we had to leave. I thanked the band for playing for us and found out they were from Seattle and that they would be returning
to Anacortes and to the "Angel of the Winds Casino" in the next couple of months and they invited me to come and watch them again, which I quickly agreed to. This was a fun and entertaining show and will likely become one of my new favorite local bands to go and see whenever they come to the North Sound area. - Mike Apple