Monday, October 28, 2013

In Lieu of 1000 Words: Bettye LaVette at the 18th and Vine Jazz and Blues Festival

The weather was ideal. An email last week thanked the 5000-plus fans who were there, so attendance was apparently down from a couple years back. But considering all the snakebites Kansas City’s 18th and Vine Jazz and Blues Festival endured leading up to this year’s event, the day proved to be a wonderful celebration, a fun and successful foundation on which to build.

Sure, I heard quibbles. Considering a majority of the acts on the main stage to be jazz or blues may require a forgiving definition of the genres. But my own big quibble was in scheduling the best act of the day at 3 p.m., when just a couple hundred fans stretched out on the lawn before the main stage.

Bettye LaVette channels the lessons of a half century in entertainment. On Saturday, October 12th, she sang and danced like a teenager with everything to sell. Call her music blues, call it soul, I don’t care. I heard a magic, sensuous voice that entranced the audience. I saw a stage scorched with the energy of sixty-something sex appeal (and how she moved like that in those heels is beyond my understanding).

I can’t recreate Bettye LaVette’s performance in a blog. I can only describe it with inadequate words. And I can share some photos. The shots below merely hint at the heat that burned from the festival stage. Some are of Bettye LaVette by herself, some are with her band, some with her drummer, some with her guitarist and bassist, and one with her pianist/conductor. Clicking on a photo should open a larger version of it.

Next week, I’ll share photos of a couple of the festival’s other main stage acts.

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