Updated: Sep 15
Written by Seth Washington
In the year 2021, the Lake Arbor Jazz Outdoor Concert Series resides by the waterside of the Potomac River with a stunning view to the National Harbor that partners everso well with live music. This weekend marked the first of five, in the series, to be filled with some of the nation's finest artists entertaining DMV audiences. The festival itinerary features musical excellence, each night from Thursday thru Sunday.
Just before twilight, this holiday Sunday, show headliner and trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and Friends arrived by private motorcade waving to the crowd as the vehicles headed toward the backstage area of the National Harbor's Southpointe venue.
By this time, the multi ethnic though mostly African American attendees had filled the white seats socially distanced in pairs of two and four situated within the tented venue and located merely steps away from the parking area. The walk from ticket gate to performance space leads thru a gallery of vendors offering up food, arts, apparel, information and today, CDs by Bradshaw including his current album, "Stronger"
As the temperature began to cool, Veteran broadcaster Tony Richards summoned the crowd’s attention, sharing energized opening remarks followed by a thunderous introduction of the star. With eternal swag, Bradshaw boldly emerged suited in pale pink, brimmed in a white fedora and, just like that, the early evening sun took it's vip seat beyond the clouds, as the show began.
Early in the set Bradshaw exquisitely delivered Stevie Wonder's "All I Do" inclusive of audience participation wherein the showman first had the men singing then closed with women sweetly serenading their men. From there, he made the trombone sing with the original "On My Way" from his first album "Bone Deep" released in 2003 and the mood was set.
Further on, D'Angelo's "How Does It Feel" featured magnificently emotive solos by Bradshaw, guitarist Malachi and rousing keyboard vibrations by Musical Director, Brandon Young, that surely evoked audience memories of how amazing it felt when that song first came into the musical universe. Part two of that sentiment came later during the sensational performance of Floetry's "Say Yes".
In between these and other moving musical renditions, Bradshaw spoke of love's impact upon his life. This included mention of his parent's 57 year marriage, the support of friends during a very serious recent illness, his musical beginnings in the beloved United House of Prayer Church and God's distinctive plan for his life of music.
Shortly after nine the Gap Band's "Yearnin' For Your Love", the concert finale found Bradshaw, the soulful praise leader from North Philadelphia, leaving the stage wading down the aisle of the venue, shoulder to shoulder amidst concert goers. With the band in full crescendo, he voiced harmonious shouts from his trombone, a spirited acknowledgement perhaps of true blessings that had been exchanged between the anointed artist and a thoroughly satisfied audience. His melodic work was completed, fulfilling the gifted musician's triumphant return to the stage.
Around that time, the 4th of July holiday fireworks ensued, a fitting end to Bradshaw's electrifying performance and a timely birthday nod to event co-founder Lisa Alexander. Therein concluded a vibrant first weekend of the Lake Arbor Jazz Outdoor Concert Series.
Founders, Lake Arbor Jazz, Kevin and Lisa Alexander
For details about upcoming concerts in the series, visit the Lake Arbor Jazz website:
Rebirth - Lake Arbor Jazz
Seth Washington writes about performing arts for V&P Magazine and brings a first-hand appreciation of the art spectrum.
As a very active spoken word artist and master of ceremonies, his performance work routinely partners him with the kinds of musicians, singers dancers and other creative souls that he writes about.
During a previous period along his aesthetic path, Washington also captured 35mm film portraits and performance photos of jazz, rock and hip hop entities including national ,as well as, local DC area artists.