Last night at Jazz Central resulted in some highly enjoyable jazz performances, collectively and individually. The brainchild of Ismail Muhammad, "Secret! Kept?" consisted of Jason Jordan (bass), Cliff Darrett (latin percussion and congas), Cameron Voorhees (guitar), Clarence Slaughter (tenor sax), Mark Smarelli (vibes), John Hampton Wagner (vocals and flugle horn) and Ismail Muhammad (drums). If there was even a miniscule complaint from the crowd, it might have been that the gig did not get off to full steam until about a half hour after the posted start time but I can tell you that nobody was leaving once things got started!! It has been about a year since Clarence Slaughter (who cut his jazz teeth at Jazz Central starting when he was around 12 years of age) and since that time he has recorded with Trombone Shorty on his release entitled "Backatown" and calling New Orleans home he has toured with numerous groups (I heard Ireland as a destination a couple of times) and soon will be leaving to tour again with the Hot 8 Brass Band. Welcome home Clarence. He was good when he left the area, now he is even better.
The Slaughter Brothers
Mark Smarelli is a vibes player extraordinaire, he is generally only available to play at Jazz Central when there is a school Holiday on a Monday but lucky us, last night was a Saturday and believe me, he did not disappoint. Cameron Voorhees is an outstanding guitar player who is currently playing with The Air Force Band and their jazz counterpart, The Night Hawks. No one walks away from a Voorhees performance disappointed unless it would be because he did not take more solos. He had the crowd going last night. Cliff Darrett, John Hampton Wagner and Ismail Muhammad are Sunday Night Jazz Central Jazz Jam regulars and last night they strutted their musical abilities once again. There were even a couple of guest artists, William Patrick Slaughter on trumpet (a.k.a Little Pops) and The G-Man, a blues singer who was part of the celebration and dedication of last nights performance to Cornelius Johnson (an original drummer with The Robert Ward Band and The Ohio Untouchables which ultimately led to the Ohio Players) and Greg Wood (long time Jazz Central Drummer who passed away a few years ago). Two empty chairs down front were staged in their honor. I could walk you through each tune played but I will note that the entire band kept the place happy the first set, especially with songs like Mr. Magic and All Blues. The second set seemed to feature Voorhees on guitar and Smarelli on vibes with such songs as Poinciana & Breezin' and everybody was pleasantly surprised with the bands rendition of Friends and Strangers. For those of you who read this today, you can catch the Slaughter Brothers again tonight at the 1-6-13 Sunday Night Jazz Jam. Hope to see you there.