By Author : Isabelle Doll Ngcobo
June 25, 2016, 10.55 a.m
Jazz fusion guitarist Jonathan Butler and GRAMMY Award winning songstress Regina Bellle performed at the Jazz 91.9 WCLK 42nd Anniversary Benefit Concert headlining Peabo Bryson. Music fans definitely had the opportunity to watch legends perform before them this weekend at the. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on Friday , June 24, 8:00 p.m presented by Jazz 91.9 WCLK radio station.
Fans including Atlanta celebrities showed up in droves to attend the One Night Only ” benefit concert allowing fans to relive favorites of yesteryear”s musical bliss .
The evening was a celebration of music and special presentations as Jazz 91.9 WCLK. honored its recipients of the 2016 Jazz Legacy Awards
Opening act started the night with a Bang!, performing a one – hour set with audience totally immersed and drawn into his fusion sounds of Jazz, R&B and South African melodies reminiscent of the pain and sufferings of blacks in Apartheid South Africa.
South African born jazz fusion guitarist and vocalist Jonathan Butler, is known for his Christian based smooth jazz and R&B sound. When he sang his new song “I am falling in love with Jesus” the audience were on their feet waving hands up in the air like it was Sunday morning worship hour as he sang and testified to the glory and healing power of love . Playing the guitar, his fast fingers innately found notes of passion and divinity. His moving renditions of Bob Marley‘s “No Woman No Cry” was a fusion of african melodies that had the audience screaming for more. Shouts of ” Yebo ! Yebo ! ” echoed through the theater , giving you assurance that some of Atlanta’s population of South Africans were in the house to show their support to a man who’ve put South Africa on the map in the world of jazz music. Jonathan Butler’s performance was captivating and powerful , pouring his heart into selections from his immense catalogue with songs like “Sarah, Sarah;” ” Pata Pata” and ” You Are the One ” from his latest release, “Free.” Thriving on interacting with his fans, shining as bright as singer and guitarist. Butler’s laid-back jazz-tinged mixed with African rhythms and approach to R&B sounds has brought him accolades across the decades from smooth jazz afficionados.
Butler also blends new world influences with gospel, his silky stylings at once reminded the audience that in fact, the South African expatriate is considered a forerunner in bringing world music influences into the jazz genre, a status that the artist doesn’t shy away from.
“I’m a world music artist. I don’t just live in the world of jazz, I live in the world of music, and that is the world I choose to live in,” Butler explains. “Music is wider than just the sun, and because of my culture in South Africa, it influences my view of music. We speak 11 languages, our music has very rich sounds and rhythms and melodies, and incorporating that within jazz and gospel is what is unique with how I view music and the way I hear it and experience it and the way I want my fans to experience it.
Following Butler’s set was WCLK’s Jazz Legacy Award Cerenomy. Each year, the station pays tribute to individuals, businesses and organizations that have helped it sustain the legacy of jazz. This year’s recipients included Jonathan Butler who picked up the coveted Jazz Legend Award. Atlanta magazine’s Tribune Publisher Pat Lottier,
who received the Corporate Partner Award and Eufala Garrett of the Eufaula Garrett Charitable Gift Fund, who walked away with the Community Engagement Award.
dassled fans when she opened the second half with a show-stopping medley of hits including her remake of the Phyllis Hyman classic. No walk down R&B memory lane is complete without a rundown of Regina Belle’s discography. From “Baby Come To Me” to “Make It Like It Was.” Belle’s wide vocal range and strong expressive versatile
voice continues to impress. Almost two decades in the business , the Academy Award-winning and Grammy-winning singer’s musicical performance was on heavy rotation singing both gospel and Jazz at the Cobb Energy Center. Belle shared lessons learned , performing for 30 years in the music business and recently celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary to former NBA player turned minister John Battle. She finished her 20-minute set with an uplifting favorite ‘ If I Could ‘ that brought on a standing ovation as she uttered through vocal breathers that the key to her happiness is family, music and ministry.
One of the premier performers in music. Peabo Bryson who celebrated 40 years in the music business showcased his vocal clarity and range that still mesmerized his fans. Bryson took the audience down memory lane with his classic hits, soft-rock ballads and soulful interpretations with fan favorites like ” If ever you in my arms again” , ” Show and Tell” , “Tonight I celebrate my love”. A very memorable performance also came when he paired up with Regina Belle and performed an arousing reppertoire of duets including ‘A Whole New World” from the Disney film Aliddin. He also did covers of Sade‘ and Chaka Khan .
Hosted by WCLK’s radio personalities Morris Baxter, Debb Moore, Jamal Ahmad and RivaBlu. The star studded concert proceeds will help Jazz 91.9 WCLK continue to preserve the legacy of the genre
The evening ended with a private meet-and-greet for VIP ticket holders featuring Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson along with passed hors d’oeuvres, wine and a variety of desserts.