Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band/Jamie McLean Band @ Gramercy Theater – 1/27
Words: Brian Weidy
Photos: Carl Vernlund
In the final stretch of shows promoting their latest release, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band came to the Gramercy Theater in a co-headlining bill with the Jamie McLean Band. Renaissance Man, the band’s first release, is a melting pot of influences and song selection, featuring a mix of covers and originals.
[All Photos by Carl Vernlund]
Jamie McLean, known best for his work with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, opened up the evening with an hour-long set filled mostly with songs off his band’s latest album, Sunday Morning. The group, an eclectic mix of southern rock with blues and soul influences, turned in a lively hour-long set that featured a variety of highlights and guests. Three songs into the set, Jason Crosby, who has played with everyone from Robert Randolph and the Family Band to God Street Wine, sat in for the duration of the performance, alternating between playing keyboard and fiddle. Highlights from the set included a cover of Otis Redding’s Mister Pitiful featuring Jaimoe’s Trumpet player, Reggie Pittman, and a raucous set closing I Been Low which featured a hard-driving rhythm and vocals reminiscent of Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes.
After a quick changeover, the seven-piece Jasssz Band opened with a lengthy excursion into very jazzy territories, featuring rotation solos from everyone in the band. Up next was the powerful combination of Rainy Night in Georgia and Leaving Trunk, both soulfully sung by Junior Mack, guitar player and vocalist, who laid down lick after lick over the more blues-tinged rhythms laid down by the band and some well placed horn-stabs by the horn section. The highlight of the set came during Dilemma, which began as a slow blues song. The tune featured an Allman Brothers-esque drum solo with the whole band clearing the stage for Jaimoe to take the spotlight. After Jaimoe’s drum solo, the band segued back into the song, transitioning from a blues feel to a more jazzier one.
To close the set was the powerful one-two punch of the Allman Brothers’ Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, featuring Junior Mack doing his best Gregg Allman impression, and throwing in a Jessica tag on to the end of the song before closing the 80-minute set with a take on Albert Collins’ Black Cat Bone that sent the crowd home with a smile.
Here’s the full set of Carl Vernlund’s photos….