The Cape May Jazz Festival was most fortunate to have one so capable and competent as Chip Shelton on its lineup, one who not only is a gifted flutist in his own right, but one who so readily shines the spotlight on those he admires, like Herbie Mann to whom he pays tribute during this live set. He also takes a small slice of Miles Davies, Thelonius Monk, and Al Kooper ("Flute Thing" and "All Blues Medley," the latter being my favorite here).
During the concert, Chip Shelton, his flute, & company would find just the right formula to spray some good ol’l jazz love & good vibes all over the place! That flute, with its infectious brightness, along with the subtle and seductive percussions and ever-melodic organ, naturally tugged at concert-goers' inhibitions to just shake them loose ever so easily and create such a carefree, peaceful atmosphere almost overripe with tasteful, sensuous rhythms and joyous melodies. Shelton brings with him some polished accompaniment, as well. South African drummer Sipho Kunene has played with Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, Harry Belafonte, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Guitarist Lou Volpe has recorded and toured with Herbie Mann, Les McCann, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, and Joey DiFrancesco. Veteran organist Doug Carn’s strong keys, bass lines, and harmonies have done an excellent job of filling any void that could have remotely been imagined here.
Stop 2 is a generous 2-CD set. Each CD contains 6 to 7 cuts, and each tune is about 7 minutes long with a couple of short 4-minute pieces included. You are surely not to be bored. Shelton’s strong sense of what to include and what not to include sees to that.
The band wraps it all up with an 11-minute jamfest on the classic blues giant "Comin’ Home Baby," already bearing a couple of others’ fingerprints, including that of Herbie Mann. To say that Shelton does the piece justice is to say ice cream goes "pretty nicely" with apple pie! A genuine piece of magnificence. The concert-goers had to be elated with the overall performance. Worthy of an encore or two? You bet!