Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sony Holland Catalina Jazz Club Concert Review
Sony Holland Quartet:
Theo Saunders, piano: Steve Cotter, guitar: John B. Williams, bass: Tony Austin, drums: Special guest appearance by Jerry Holland, guitar.
I am so happy I flew to Hollywood to see this concert at the Catalina Jazz Club. It was one of those experiences that I will never forget.
Seeing Sony Holland in concert is always something I look forward to and she never disappoints. This concert was nothing less than magical. Her quartet which consisted of the players listed above are in a league all their own.
The piano player, Theo Saunders, played those keys to heights of which I have never heard. He was smooth as silk and fire on ice depending on the melody and tempo of the tune. A stellar class act.
Steve Cotter on guitar had those strings singing along with drummer Tony Austin who had dancing drums at his feet. These two as a duo would be fantastic.
Now I have to admit that I had never heard any bassist of whom I really enjoyed. I've always thought to myself "why even have a bass player" because there has never been any bass player who in my opinion has stood out on a concert stage. Well, John B. Williams certainly answered that question for me. He was absolutely on fire that night. He made that bass perform as if it were a living and breathing entity. I don't remember which song it was but he did a solo that simply rocked the house. It was amazing to see.
My favorite guitarist/songwriter Jerry Holland made a special guest appearance which added a special dynamic to the entire show. Jazzy Jerry plucks those strings to a frenzy like no one I've ever seen or heard. He contributed to the show that unmistakable edge only he can provide.
These players are of a totally different caliber than most I have heard. Maybe it's because they play with jazz greats or maybe it's because they are just that good. I don't know really but whatever the case they are THE BEST I've ever heard.
Sony Holland and that delicious voice I have heard on many occasions. The last time I saw her perform with a full band was at the San Jose jazz festival. I've always thought she had the most silky smooth and alluring voice around, no matter the song choice. Well, to hear her with these musicians at the Catalina jazz club was magical. She was simply on another level that evening. A level to which not only complimented and fit the music but a level that I never even thought existed. She was above and beyond sheer perfection and at her best - the best I have ever heard her sing.
Many tunes stood out. The Etta James classic "At Last" is a favorite of Sony's fans and a tune that is expected during her shows. This song in my mind is a true test of the musicians' abilities. They absolutely blew this tune out of the water, again, to a higher level. Sentimental Mood has been performed in the past by Sony and her various players both as a standard and swing tune. At the Catalina, the band performed it as a samba - it was fiery, sexy and hot! The Elton John hit Honky Cat had concert goers dancing in their seats. By the time the concert was ready to close Sony and her band had the audience in a frenzy, wanting more and more. With a couple of standing ovations and after about and hour and a half, we still wanted more. It was phenomenal.
The concert had us in complete awe. At one point during the concert my friends and I turned to each other in unison and uttered WOW! We were blown away. This was, in my opinion one of if not the best concerts I have ever seen or heard. I would fly anywhere to see Sony and this band again. Excellence does not even come close to describing Sony Holland and her quartet @ The Catalina Club.