Having just released their latest CD, "Wandering", Kimbrough and Company, fronted by guitarist Brent Kimbrough, brought its hybrid of jazz, blues, and swing and played some of Franz's standards such as "Sunny Side of The Street" and the classic "Body and Soul" along with some of their own compositions including "Bail Out Blues". The band draws from a collective accumulation of backgrounds, disciplines, and educations as diverse as jazz, blues, rock, classical, R&B, and every Latin style and incarnation. Brent was a huge fan of Franz's, and, though he never had the opportunity to play with him, has immense respect for his music and life and he and his group were thrilled to be invited to play this concert.
The always outstanding Lisa Roti was one of Franz's proteges. He appeared on her debut CD, "Comes Love" and endorsed her as one of the up and coming vocalists on Chicago's jazz scene. She was also on hand as one of the performers for Franz's 95th birthday concert and still considers him as part of her family. As expected, Lisa captivated the audience with her amazing, smoky, sexy voice and brought new life to such old standards as "Cheek to Cheek" and one of Franz's mainstays, "Struttin' With Some Barbecue". Closing with another of his signature tunes, "What A Wonderful World", Lisa reminded us all how inspirational and special Franz was and continues to be.
And the crowd was in for a treat with a surprise guest, vocalist Judi K., on hand. Judi worked for a number of years with Franz and Jim Beebe's Chicago Jazz Band and made the drive in from Chicago with Lisa for this special event. Judi didn't just sit and listen, she performed two great classics, "Almost Like Being In Love" and "It's Been A Long, Long Time", a tune she recorded with Franz on her album of the same name.
Almost as fabulous as the music and performances was Wood Fire's menu. Larry Seurynk and his staff have been solid supporters of the Jazz Celebration from day one and always make sure that the audience has a great time at their restaurant.
Thanks again to Kimbrough and Company (Brent Kimbrough, Chris Greene, Kurt Schweitz, and Ben Scholz), Lisa Roti, Judi K., the Wood Fire Italian Trattoria, all the print and TV journalists who helped promote this event from Dowagiac to Chicago and everyone who came out to make the 4th Annual Franz Jackson Jazz Celebration another night to remember!
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Enjoy the videos and pictures below from the concert.......