Concert Review: Endea Owens Cookout @ Lake George Jazz Weekend, Shepard Park, 09/15/2023


Endea Owens opened the 39th annual Lake George Jazz Weekend in Shepard Park with her band, the Cookout. They entered the stage with a snippet of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” They played a set that celebrated life and joy with a strong flavor of gospel and R&B.

Her original “Feeling Good” was an exuberant expression of energy. She interspersed her originals with her newest and first solo recording, “Feel Good Music,” with a wide range of covers of older tunes from the wide gamut of the jazz catalog. “Where the Nubians Go” showed off her strong horn section of Louis Fouche and Kris Johnson on trumpet. “Cycles” showed off the skills of Jerome Jennings on drums. Miki Hayama on piano was strong, whether comping or soloing throughout the set.

Photo by Rudy Lu

Her phat bass lines were featured prominently in the entire set, no matter who the composer was, and strongly exhibited the influence of Charles Mingus on her music. Her bass solo interludes spoke volumes and spoke a language that demanded to be understood.

Covers ranging from Pharoah Sanders’ spiritual chant “The Creator to a Master Plan” to the bluesy “Moanin” and “God Bless the Child” were heavy with the beat. The singers demonstrated soulfulness, and the harmonies/interplay were uncanny. J. Hoard and Shenel Johns added a lot of visual appeal to the stage by wearing pink and white clothing. Per Endea, the matching outfits were accidental.

We were taken to the churches of Detroit with the closer “For the People,” with calls of rhythmic harmony and joy by the band. You could not help feeling good at the end of the concert.

Photo by Rudy Lu

Incidentally, many of the musicians will be playing in other bands as the festival continues on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday features:

  • 1 PM – The Indian Jazz of Naya Baaz, Rez Abbasi, and Josh Feinberg
  • 3 PM – Aubrey Johnson Group
  • 5 PM – Jared Schonig Quintet
  • 8 PM – Afro Cuban Jazz – Jane Bunnett & Maqueque.

There will also be jazz at many of the bars/restaurants in the evening following the 8 PM performance. There is no charge for any of the performances.


  • 1 PM – Duduka Da Fonseca & Quarteto Universal
  • 3 PM – Richie Goods/Chien Chien
  • 5 PM – Emilio Sola & the Jazz Tango Orchestra
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