The band's area was assembled on the Palladium's stage , one organ on the left and another organ on the right, drum set-up in the middle, guitar amps and guitar stands filling the space in between: A stage set-up that telegraphed the spirit of interaction that was to come.
The show started out with the band doing a few soft, rootsie type, acoustic/electric blues numbers and then continuing on into some serious electric blues.
The crowd seemed to particularly enjoy the long jam style grooves the band constantly fell into - the kind that made every hand in the place tap every knee in the place while heads bob back and forth and feet tap all in time.
Band members were Ron Gregg, drums; La Rue Nickelson, jazz guitar; Joe Ishikawa, blues guitar and Dale Horton, bass.
The battle began with blues organist Dean Germain seated at the organ playing an energetic introduction and with a crack of drummer Ron Gregg's snare, the band kicked in behind him, fueling the stage with a crisp and vital energy that takes the crowd completely by surprise. During Dean's performance you couldn't help but give him your undivided attention.
Kitty Daniels, jazz organist and singer, has a beautiful touch with great fluency as she begins with "April in Paris", her band provides a clear accompaniment that does her voice right,giving the program plenty of comfort. Her voice resembles that of Billie Holiday and yet no part of her program is any kind of copy. Ms. Daniels, as well as her stellar band, Majiid Shabazz, drums and la Rue Nickelson, guitarist, works from original and standard sources that squeeze the jazz from a heartfelt experience.
Jazz singer, Edgar Wilcox sang one of Lou Rawls classics," Tobacco Road". He sang it brilliantly and respectfully and to perfection.
Blues organist Michael Johnn's performance was a toe-tapping, hand clapping show which has him digging deep into the blues while flaunting his blues dexterity. Johnn pulls out all stops (literally) during his exuberant solo,which builds gradually and dramatically culminating in a show-stopping crescendo.
Singing from the heart blues vocalist, Julie Black contributes a soulful delivery. She belts a powerful spirited song called " Love this Mama" and unleashes a whirlwind of emotion. As she sings, you can feel the blues running through your veins.
Jazz organist, Stan Hunter's technique was electrifying. His music was bright, spirited and carefully chosen; as he demonstrates this throughout his playing. He mixes up instrumental combinations, leads, solos to keep things interesting. It was versatile and vigorous..,powerful yet subtle, sonorous yet never overwhelming.
The entire concert itself was more of a reminder of when bands, rife with true musicianship and a passion to play, would convene on stage to experiment, to solo, to play hard and bluesy, then soft and jazzy...whirling through the dynamicism of the music, influences in tow but never phasing, and personal subtleties on display. The audience responded rapturously, their recognition of each song is confirmation of what is right and real about jazz and blues.
As the fantastic Battle of the B3's (Blues vs. Jazz) event came to an end, it was apparent that this end was also a beginning ......The Battle of the B3's
The 2nd annual battle of the B3's was sponsored by the Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association, the Suncoast Blues Society, Keyboard Specialties, and the Palladium at St. Petersburg College.
What A Great Night! What A Great Show! What A Great Band!