The show's artist rotation was different than the typical serial performances, where one performs for a certain time after the other. This time, each artist took the stage, shared three songs each and then rotated the mix. The new system brought a nice flow and change of pace throughout the duration of the show. Angela Johnson illustrated why she is heralded as the Roberta Flack of the indie soul scene. Her opening track, a cover of Chaka Khan's "You Got The Love," was dynamic, intense and surely would have made Chaka proud. Angela's duet with Eric Roberson on the sensual track "Let's Get Together" was a stark reminder that a duet on either one's upcoming album would be welcomed with open arms (subtle hint). The Al Green inspired "I'll Always" is always a welcomed inclusion in any set of Angela's, and is by now a song her fans always expect to hear. As her parting track, we were treated to a new song entitled "Better," from her upcoming release. It is an up-tempo Michael Jackson influenced ditty, with Angela's MJ quips and all. The track incorporates Angela's joviality and allure along with her impeccable writing skills that we as her fans, hold in high regard.
Grammy Award nominee Anthony David hit the stage with his cool demeanor, mic in hand and raspy voice in tow. Starting off his first set with "Kinfolk" was superb; it was a handshake and nice to meet you greeting, all in one. Breezing through "Stop Playing Games" and his sensational cover of Level 42's "Something About You," brought us to an acoustic set that had the patrons digging in the crates with A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation." His new 80's synthesizer-heavy track "Girlfriend" hypnotized us with its melodious hook, while the around the way joint "Smoke One" kept everyone in step. Asking Angela back to the stage to sing "Words" (the duet he recorded with India.Arie), was Anthony's finale and the right way to cap of his sweltering southern sets.
Eric Roberson is not only a lyricist, logophile, and singer extraordinaire, but he is also one who guarantees a good time. At times, it was as though he pulled double duty as the MC and performing artist. Commencing his set with "Been In Love" and "Please Don't Leave Me" he then proceeded to take the crowd to B.B. King's Tabernacle Church, with Rev Roberson proceeding of course! The most memorable portion of Eric's performance was his tribute to J Dilla's creativity and love for music. Eric discussed how Dilla produced and created, doing what he loved right up to his last moments. Eric evoked his inner Prince breaking down "Adore" in the middle of "Softest Lips" and the mere mention of Eric's dating instructions, a technique 101 intro, incited an uproar, because it was comedy at its best. From a go-go and reggae version of "Right and Wrong" to his ode to President Obama in "Pave A New Road," Eric covered ground. His last track, "Obstacles," was polished and pulled the events of the night together effortlessly.
The Jazzy Soul Collective will be making a stop near you soon as the three embarked on their tour that night. If they stop in your area, do take some time out of your busy schedule, do yourself a favor and immerse yourself into the collective brought to you, for you.
By Ann Marie Collymore