Jason Joseph & The Spectacular At The Hotel Cafe
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By Crystal Larsen
What began three years ago as a weekly Monday night gathering of three musicians for a performance at the Libertine in West Hollywood, Calif., has grown into an eight-piece collective of undoubtedly talented artists, all of whom somehow managed to fit onstage (and part of the floor) at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on May 21 to celebrate what has become known as SuperSoul Monday. Led by Los Angeles-based keyboardist and soulful singer/songwriter Jason Joseph, the band, dubbed the Spectacular (and rightfully so), celebrated the three-year anniversary, and inaugural night of their Hotel Cafe residency, in true fashion — a packed crowd, fine musicianship and a super soulful vibe.
Joseph kicked off the evening with "Just Move," a track from his 2009 EP Out Of My Mind: Side A. The performance seemed to carry on long after its 3 minute-plus album playing time, featuring a wide range of dynamics that were filled by a heavy-hitting (and always smiling) drummer, Donald Barrett, who's played with the likes of Colbie Caillat, Pink and Seal, among others; the Regiment Horns, one of Los Angeles' most sought-after horn sections featuring Kevin Williams Jr. on trombone and Leon Silva on saxophone; pedal steel guitarist Christopher Wray; bassist Brandon Brown; guitarist Martin Estrada; and the ever-energetic percussionist, Leddie Garcia.
The soothing "Don't Let Go" was next, a track from his forthcoming new album due in July, followed by "No Tomorrow," a song Joseph described as being about taking time "to love people before it's too late." That last point hit especially close to home for Joseph, who admitted he recently lost a close friend to a motorcycle accident, and for the music industry in general, marked by the recent losses of artists such as Robin Gibb, Levon Helm and Donna Summer, among others. "No Tomorrow" also featured a reunion of sorts with the Spectacular guitarist Brady Cohan, who is on hiatus while currently playing as part of the "American Idol" house band.
Before finishing "No Tomorrow," Joseph transitioned into one of the best cover medleys I've ever heard, beginning with Adele's "Rolling In The Deep," moving into Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" and ending with the recognizable pre-chorus of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Joseph followed with a jazzy take on MGMT's "Electric Feel," a song he said he's adopted as his own and released as a single in 2011. Joseph worked in a short excerpt from Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" with perfectly matched vocals before finishing "Electric Feel."
The final song of the set was "Restless Heart," which ended with enough vigor to keep the crowd hungry for more. As Joseph and the band left the stage for a break before returning for the second portion of the evening, his microphone lay dangling over the keyboards, perfectly executed in true jazz-great fashion.
The evening wasn't without its share of star-studded attractions. Opening for Joseph was GRAMMY-nominated artist Daniel Bedingfield, who began his set with a Kit Kat bar and ended it with an electric version of his GRAMMY-nominated Best Dance Recording "Gotta Get Thru This." Also spotted in the crowd was Daniel's sister, GRAMMY-nominated artist Natasha Bedingfield, and GRAMMY winner Queen Latfiah. It was certainly nothing short of a super, soulful spectacular evening.
You can check out Jason Joseph & The Spectacular every Monday night for SuperSoul Monday at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles.
"Don't Let Go"
"Rolling In The Deep" (Adele cover)
"Sweet Dreams" (Eurythmics cover)
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Nirvana cover)
"Electric Feel" (MGMT cover)
"In Your Eyes" (Peter Gabriel cover)