Jazz is making a mark in Charleston. With the founding of the Charleston Jazz Initiative and the Jazz Artists of Charleston and people like Jack McCray, Leah Suarez, Dr. Karen Chandler and Erin Fornadel toiling away, jazz is growing stronger every day.
Last night was the Holy City Homecomin’ at McCrady’s, who has welcomed the JAC back for a second year of Jazz Series Upstairs at McCrady’s. It was a sell-out show, yet again. This year’s theme was The Art of the Song, where they paired local musicians of the more rock n roll persuasion with jazz standards.
Nathan Koci, piano, Kevin Hamilton, bass, and Ron Wiltrout, percussion made up the corps of each song, with a different vocalist on each tune. Lindsay Holler, Cary Ann Hearst, Michael Trent, Joel Hamilton, Bill Carson and Michael Flynn sat in, bringing their individual and distinctly different flavors to well known jazz standards and some not so-jazz songs.
Joel Hamilton singing “Cherokee” through a CB radio
Lindsay Holler singing “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin (one of the not so-jazz songs I mentioned)
Michael Flynn playing piano and singing “Porgy”
Bill Carson dedicating “Young at Heart” to his sweetheart and “Write Myself A Letter” was really awesome too
Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent closing with “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me” backed up by the rest of the singers
Michael Flynn and Bill Carson were the most natural transitions from their typical styles into jazz standards. Joel is a good soloist, reminds me a bit of Ryan Adams (but should I compare? It may be violent…). Lindsay was awesome but it felt like she was holding back a little, but the restraint may have been necessary for these songs. Cary Ann and Michael Trent have a magical rock n roll authentic feel–they are a rich, raspy honky tonk, rootsy and passionate duo of awesomeness.