The traffic in Atlanta was particularly nightmarish due to rain on cold winter Thursday February 20 th. And the day had started rough. On the way to work, I realize I had forgotten my phone and, needed it to communicate with my good friend ,Dr.Connie who generously invited me to the JAZZ Concert . At the time, I had no clue who GREGORY PORTER is, nor had I listened to any of his songs. (strange, cos I am such a big JAZZ enthusiast. ) I had heard a few songs by his opening act LEDISI, but never seen her perform. I was more interested in Connie’s company, no matter where we go, even if it was a fast food place (like we had to stop at Wendy’s to get some bite that evening, no time for proper restaurant ) I knew we were going to share so much laughs about relationships faux pas or, hilarious jokes about body parts sliding down south with mid -age . Anyway, I digress, I wasn’t expecting my mind to be blown away, by JAZZ that night, I hardly knew the artists, I thought, at the time...(smile).
It took an hour in traffic to Cobb energy performing Arts Center, another half, locating a parking space , even if we prepaid parking,( which we didn’t) we still had to survive the bumper to bumper grind, despite heavy presence of Law enforcement officers directing traffic). Finally, got the third to last available space in the 1000 car parking lot. Woohoo! we were the lucky 998 (if you play this number in lottery, and win, remember to cut me my slice wink-wink).we were as deliriously happy as the last two would be!.
LEDISI ANIBADE YOUNG – Grammy Nom, SOUL TRAIN AND BET AWARD WINNER, the indefatigable American R& B SINGER /ACTRESS
Her style is sentimental, sultry, silky-smooth, intimately soul- stirring and sexy! ( yes ,a lot of S’s to describe this phenomenal woman). All similar attributes to one of her “biggest fan”, Legend American singer, and activist, Nina Simone. whom she paid tribute by doing a a philosophical version of her song titled; ” BALTIMORE” . A song that reflects, hardships, murders, and starvation of people in the city. She earned my respect with that and several renditions.
She has been singing two decades now, since late 90’s she told the audience, ” I was told I would not survive long in this industry, because I was not Pretty enough, did not look like the others so called successful.” But the 47 years old crooner didn’t let her doubters destroy her dreams or confidence, she forged ahead anyways, and with her Mom always speaking words of encouragement and affirmations, she made it.” Now not only am I still standing, I am a CEO who owns her own recording LABEL! And now, my mom wants 15%” she laughs.” I am unapologetically strong black woman.You have to be careful, whom you surround yourself with, who speaks in your ears.”
Turns out she has a great sense of humor too, teasing us , once while doing a provocative dance, she pause, and said;” I am wearing shorts underneath” (in other words , don’t allow your imagination get the best of you) Lol. Also, she jokes about how women bodies go through changes, saying how the body have a mind of it’s own, and often you need to push some parts back, or “poke them,” and if you got none, “just hold strong” with a strong arm”
LEDISI is an African Yoruba name meaning “to bring forth“. A brilliant recording artist, song writer and also actress. some of her popular songs borders on relationships ups and down, unconditional love and dysfunctional relationships such as : “ So into you”(2011), Alright-Everything is Everything! “I blame you“, ( 2014 )” Pieces of me“,(2011) ” Stay together“(2011) and” All the way” (2017) “, Goin thru Changes”– the turn me loose if you are not gonna love me the way I should song (2009) . The movies include Selma, The Tale of Four and leave it on the Floor.
GREGORY PORTER -44, Nicknames include ” STINKY”,( when he and his bother were playing in young days, and he fell into um…something Stinky) ” G-Force” (when he played American football back in the day).But I like to nickname this hunk Human Teddy (as in Teddy Bear ). The GRAMMY Award winning Jazz Singer lives in California with with his wife and 7 year old son Demyan.
He has been played in popular cities all around the world. The versatile artist who rose from streets to wealthy place of prestige, becoming a Grammy winner against all odds, once told his audience how he learned to sew quilts inspired by women in Mississippi Delta . “The quilts were made by children of slaves.” No doubt , this is a place where inspiration for the song “INSANITY– take me to the Alley came from. He sings this with so much compassion and heart from deep inside his guts, it was impossible not to shed a few tears. some of the lyrics are “take me to the alley, to the afflicted ones, the lonely ones, who have somehow lost their ways. Let them hear me say , I am your friend, come and meet the King, and eat at my table, brother, sister, you will have a pardon”. It had a level of spiritual connectivity that stroke a cord and you just know you want to be part of this positive change too.
The band was sync in their elements; drummer, pianist, guitarist, however, the saxophonist took us to heaven and back ! Some of the moving songs where “Liquid Spirit”, and “holding on“, but my favorite (tough decision, I must say) is the up coming song from a peek into upcoming album ALL RISE “ If Love is Overated, Let me be the one that is naive“!” It is a love song in a negative environment such as the world is in, ” he tells us, ” Love is the energy that excites the heart and the head !” what a pulsating ride of musical ecstasy. And , when they played the jazzy version of Temptations’s “papa was a rolling stone”, you could put a fork in me, cause I was literally done! As for my hearing?, well, my friend, Connie and fellow screamers and whistlers, made it perfectly clear, I may be in need of ear drops soon !Lol.
BY MILLICENT OLAGHERE BLAST
REMEMBER YOUR IMAGE MATTERS SO LIVE EXCELLENTLY!