An atmosphere of excitement hovered outside the Paramount’s doors early on Saturday evening. An hour before the doors even opened, a crowd of women dressed in bright, colorful dresses and men in linen suits with snakeskin loafers, started to form in the 100-degree heat awaiting the concert of the season, “Summer Jam.” Pamela Hart, producer of the Women in Jazz Concert Series, depicted the unique showcase as having a “West Coast feel to it.” The 18th production of Women in Jazz was saturated in smooth jazz with R&B influences, funky overtones, soulful lyrics, and sultry singing. The line-up was scorching, beginning with Charmin Greene implanting her clear sound deep in everyone’s hearts on her soprano and tenor saxophone.
Pamela joined Charmin, collaborating on a soulful version of “Come Away With Me.” The mission of Women in Jazz is to honor the works of female musicians, also giving performance opportunities to aspiring artists. “My goal is to expose artists who may not have that chance otherwise,” Pamela explained backstage, introducing 17 year-old vocalist, Shanice McKissick. Shanice grabbed the attention she deserved, soloing radiantly on one of Pamela’s tracks, causing jaws to drop with her powerful voice.
The night’s highly anticipated, featured guests were Grammy-award winning guitarist Norman Brown and saxophonist Richard Elliot. The two Los Angelites brought the West Coast down South, with their laid-back style and high-energy performances. Richard Elliot’s rendition of “When A Man Loves a Woman” received a standing ovation as he hit the highest note known to man. As the night came to a close, “Encores!” reverberated throughout the Paramount, the crowd wanting more, unable to go home. Brown and Elliot satiated the appetite of all, ending with Marvin Gaye’s, “What’s Going On.” Although it was Brown’s first time to Austin, the singer and guitarist promises to return, while Elliot claims to have “never been let down,” by Austin’s audiences. To compliment Austin’s weather, “Summer Jam” was blazing hot, leaving those in attendance melting into the music for a night that will never be forgotten.
by: Molly McManus