Concert Review: Lake George Jazz Festival (Day 3) @ Shepard Park, 09/17/2023
Day 3 of the 2023 Lake George Jazz Festival featured three bands: the Brazilian-inflected music of Duduka Da Fonseca, the heavily R&B-influenced music of Richie Goods/Chien Chien Lu & Connected, and the contemporary Argentinean jazz of Emilio Solla & the Tango Jazz Orchestra.
Duduka Da Fonseca & Quarteto Universal
Duduka Da Fonseca, a Brazilian jazz drummer and composer, performed primarily with guitarist Vinicius Gomes. Pianist Helio Alves handled the comping, communicating the complex rhythms of Brazilian music alongside Da Fonseca on his drum kit, with Gili Lopes on bass. The band played music with absolute joy from their 2020 CD “Yes” (Sunnyside). “Samba Novo” musically transported the listener, flying rapidly over a Brazilian beach. “Dona Maria” showed an extraordinary bundle of energy. “West 83rd Street” offered a change of pace. Gomes’s tone closely resembled that of Pat Metheny.
Richie Goods & Chien Chien Lu Connected
Chien Chien Lu and Richie Goods, from disparate musical backgrounds, formed “Connected” during the Covid shutdown to battle hate and racism. Chien Chien, a classically trained pianist and percussionist from Taiwan, emigrated to the U.S. in 2015. Richie Goods began playing bass in Pittsburgh’s churches and clubs. The band performed a diverse set including “Water” and “Blossom in a Stormy Night,” representing Taiwanese folk music. Roy Ayers’ 1972 hit “I Live in Brooklyn Baby” and a cover of Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free” were also featured.
Emilio Solla & the Tango Jazz Orchestra
The traditional festival closing was by Emilio Solla and the Tango Jazz Orchestra, marking Emilio’s third appearance at the festival. This performance featured a 17-member big band, allowing Emilio to blend Argentinian/Uruguayan tango with folk and jazz. Pieces like “Four for Miles” and “Buenos Aires Blues” showcased powerful horn and brass sections, with brilliant solos played by multiple artists. Bass player Pablo Aslan added to the beat by hitting his bass like a hand drum.
The 39th annual Lake George Jazz Festival concluded with 70 musicians participating in 11 bands across two nights and two full days. The event closed with gratitude towards Dan Kelly, Tanya Tobias, the Lake George Arts Council, and the merchants of Lake George. Expectations for the 40th festival next year are high.