By Jill Hardy, Staff Writer
The Jazz Edge Orchestra brought the crowd to their knees in the awe-inspiring show “Tribute to St.Louis Saxophonists” on June 19 at 7 p.m. at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. Each tribute was organized into segments. The tribute began with the Jimmy Forest segment which featured such favorites as “Night Train,” “Caravan,” “Yesterdays,” and “Take the Train,” spotlighting Willie Aikens and Paul DeMarinis on tenor saxophones. Next was the Oliver Nelson segment, which showcased an up-tempo “Stolen Moments”; it also featured “Self Help is Needed,” a smooth, fluid sound that poured into the contemporary. “Early Morning (African Sunrise)” was reminiscent of the big band sound that we all know and love. Wille Atkins, who soloed on this segment, was exceptional.
The next experience was the David Sanborn segment. This segment featured the mind-blowing soloist Eric Person. “The Peeper,” one of David Sanborn’s albums, commenced this next segment with an upbeat tempo worthy of dance and exhilaration. It was difficult to stay seated through this performance. At one point one sax followed the other and then they all joined in unison. Next was “Slam,” a cool upbeat classic big band sound in which soloist Eric Person took the sax to another level. Another song that bought down the house was Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” This song had soloist Dwight Bosman jumping up and down while playing and conjuring up a roar that traveled unanimously through the crowd. “Chicago Song” began with some audience interaction as the audience was instructed by Bosman to clap along.
“Blues and the Abstract Truth” brought in flute soloist Oliver Nelson, Jr., along with Paul DeMarinis on soprano saxophone, Eric Person on alto saxophone, Willie Akins and Dwayne Bosman on tenor sax, and Dwight Bosman on baritone sax. This performance felt like an old school classic with an extraordinary solo by percussionist Eddie Brown.
After intermission, the crowd was delighted by a cute jingle, “Moody’s Mood for Love,” which featured the talented, smooth, and sultry vocals of Marsha Evans and Ron Wilkinson. The next songs featured included “Eiderdown,” with a remarkable solo by Paul DeMarinis on tenor sax, and “Old Hat Feathers,” with an exceptional solo by Eric Person on alto sax. “Many Moons,” which closed out the last segment, is a song composed by Dwayne Bosman. Dwayne Bosman and his brother, aka the great Bosman twins, led the solos, with Dwayne Bosman on flute and Dwight Bosman on alto saxophone.
After the main saxophonist concert, there was an Arts Leadership Awards Cermony. The awardees celebrated were Ronald Carter, Ron Himes, and Hugh “Peanuts” Whalum. The night closed with a stunning performance of “Down by the Riverside,” featuring Oliver Nelson, Jr. on flute, Eric Person on alto sax, Willie Akins, Dwayne Bosman and Paul DeMarinis on tenor saxophones, and Dwight Bosman on baritone sax. It was a night to remember.