Saxophonist Gerald Albright promised a big party when he, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair and Richard Elliot graced Robert Morris University’s Sewall Center for Koz’s “Summer Horns” Tour.
And that’s exactly what the audience got.
The concert, which was sponsored in part by PNC Bank and Eat-n-Park , was hosted by the Manchester Craftsman Guild.
“This band has the number one record for Smooth Jazz and that’s fantastic. How about that for Smooth Jazz in Pittsburgh,” said Marty Ashby executive producer of Manchester Craftsman Guild’s MCGJazz program to a sold-out crowd of eager Jazz lovers who traveled as far as Ohio to see the foursome preform.
Koz and company took the Robert Morris audience on an easy, breezy Jazz-filled journey through some of the most well-known and loved R& B, Rock and Blues songs of all time.
Earth Wind and Fire’s “Got to Get You Into My Life” set the tone for an evening of four consummate musicians truly having a good time on stage playing live music with each other and vibing off of each other.
“It’s so great to be here!” said Dave Koz. “This is the first time that I’ve been to Moon Township and we’re thrilled to be here and debuting the music of ‘Summer Horns’. It came out three weeks ago and it showcases the golden age of music from the late 1960’s to the 1980’s when songs had tight horn sections.”
Albright played a funky rendition of James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” which garnered a standing ovation from the audience.
The standing o’s continued throughout the night as each musician played solos that proved why they are known as some of the greatest contemporary jazz musicians of this generation.
Koz and company paid homage to Tower of Power with a moving rendition of “So Very Hard To Go.” The vocals, which were originally sung by Michael McDonald, were performed to perfection by “Summer Horns” keyboardist Tracy Carter.
Next came Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summer Time.” Then each artist performed their own individual hits which included Koz’s 1993 hit “You Make Me Smile,” Albright’s 2012 “Champagne Life,” Abair’s “Ordinary Love” and Elliot’s hauntingly beautiful rendition of “When A Man Loves a Woman.”
“It’s an honor and a privilege to share the stage with such amazing artists,” said Elliot. “This is an evening about classic songs that we grew up listening to.”
Abair agreed with Elliot.
“We’re having such a great time here tonight!,” said Abair. “This record was such a blast to make. The four of us have over 150 years of saxophone playing between us.”
That was evident as “Summer Horns” was one of the best summer concerts to make its way to the outskirts of Pittsburgh.
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