[Harp-L] Jason Ricci in the Rain


After first hearing about him on this list and being
amazed by the recordings I've downloaded, I finally
got to see Jason Ricci and New Blood perform live this
past Friday.  It was at the Red Bank, New Jersey Jazz
and Blues Festival, and you could not have asked for a
less ideal day for an outdoor event, with grey cloudy
skies dropping a ceaseless light rain.  But I'd been
looking forward to seeing him play for months, and
since this was the first time I was anywhere near one
of his shows, I wasn't going anywhere, no matter how
wet it got.

Needless to say, the troupers in the audience who
stuck out the rain got one hell of a show, and it was
so worth the drenching.  He and his band were in great
form and the show was so involving I even thought it
had stopped raining at times, and I'm sure I wasn't
the only one.  While I'd heard some of the tunes off
of the one CD I have and on the live shows up on the
net, there were still plenty of surprises.  There were
new songs I couldn't name, and fun elements tossed
into the jams like the sudden crowd pleasing
appearance of the Mannish Boy riff, which Jason and
his band just tore into for quite a few bars.  I was
particularly impressed with the interplay between
Jason and his excellent guitarist Shawn Starski. 
Between trading licks note-for-note or just feeding
off each other's vibe, the way those two mesh was
incredible.  It was refreshing to see a virtuoso such
as Ricci quite content to go silent and let his
partners shine (and which then let him light up
another cigarette!).  All in all, words can't do
justice to the energy that these guys put out to a
small damp crowd.  Even though there was rain, and
even though the city shut the concert down so fast and
hard that Jason coudn't finish the last tune and folks
couldn't go over to the sales tent to get shirts or
CD's, the obvious dedication and joy in the music made
it all worthwhile.

I wish Ricci and his band would come to San Francisco
so I could see them somewhere a bit dryer, and where
they could play as long as they wanted.  But if
someone asked me tomorrow to go stand in the rain for
another show of that caliber, I'd say heck yeah.

Just had to share.


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