With fall finally catching its desirable stride in the city, it is apparent that good music naturally follows. To jump back in the jazz realm, musician Cameron Mizell, a talented guitarist in the space gave listeners a real treat earlier this week at Rockwood Music Hall. As luck would have it, Mr. Mizell was not alone, he was joined by his contemporaries: Kenneth Salters, Brad Whiteley and Charlie Rauh. Together, the group gave listeners a pure autumn escape.
The congregation for this night of jazz met at Stage 3 at Rockwood. Being one of the first shows of the night, drinks were easy for guests to come by with wide open access to the bar before heading downstairs. A dialogue with the bartenders and the security crew makes for rather insightful conversation unlike anything else. Cameron and his band mates lingered by the bar before their set began and made sure to mingle with family and friends. Everyone were all smiles and happily comfortable at Rockwood. Overall, the entourage was extremely tight with hugs and loud greetings to match.
Eventually, it was time to head downstairs to the darkest stage of them all at Rockwood Music Hall. The small room, with tables and chairs neatly arranged in jazz club fashion, only emitted a faint red glare on the walls. As listeners took their seats and continued to greet stragglers, the band quickly set up on stage. After an extremely brief soundcheck and a dimming of the stage lights, they began straight away.
From the start, it was easy to see that each one of these musicians were good friends who had a knack for staying in a perfect groove with one another. Although Cameron’s several thrums of the guitar took things off, the rest of the band, with slight grins on their faces, waited patiently for their instruments to come into play. An endless wail from Cameron’s guitar filled the room, which then led to some slick licks. Their set started with a twang of smooth jazz that offered a slow build up of musical welcoming to the room. Once the full band chimed in, the collective pulse was even more full of thrumming glory.
Brad on the keys and organ was sublimely cool with his instruments. He rarely opened his eyes and often contorted his face with focus as he played on. Although, a smirk sometimes popped in at times. Kenneth on drums remained relaxed and worked his magic with little improvisational bits that were soft but recognizable at the same time. He was bouncing in his seat every moment a groove hit its peak. Charlie came in with a passion rocking back and forth with his guitar as well, a smile never leaving his face. He was the happiest guy there. Each one of the musicians up there were intensely focused and often made eye contact with Cameron to make sure they were on the right path with the tunes at hand. Brad and Cameron seemed to have a special camaraderie and partnership that paired beautifully with the guitar and organ harmonies. While their collective sound was unique, they each had their moment to shine that always followed with cheers from the crowd. There was no applause for the first half of the set.
The set eventually shifted to echoed twangs linked with solid wails from Cameron. His fingers were flicking and moving so fast, the determination on has face was apparent. With quick shivers of vibrations, the stoic musicians were honing their craft well. This was driving jazz at its best. All of the lingering bits alongside the thumps were great. Probably the best song of the night, was one that had an unusually attractive uplifting melody that was met with slight finger plucks on Mr. Mizell’s guitar. After this uplifting tune, a cacophony of sounds came next. It seemed to be a catchy discordant song that brought the set into new territory. It was hard to keep up with the musicians as they made sure to transition from each song with impeccable skill.
As their show winded down to its final minutes, a boogie-woogie or samba vibe was unleashed. The groovy theme was made even better with the solo work of Brad on the organ. The fluidity was worth noting. Cameron gave a brief credit to each musician and mentioned his newest work, ‘Negative Spaces.’ With that brief interlude a rocky vibe entered the equation that quickly turned into a pure jam feel. Feet began tapping the floor easily in the crowd and everything reached an artful pinnacle of musical praise. The jamming included close finger plucks at every inch of the guitar neck. Kenneth was on fire with his timed speed and drive.
The last song of the night was toned down for a lullaby style piece that turned back into a rock and roll feel with head bobs to add. Smooth jazz and some wild grinding melodies brought the whirlwind of instrumentation to an end for a wonderful sync of musicianship. It was great all the way. Cameron Mizell and his crew will continue to grace venues in the city to come. Go check them out MONDAY, October 24th, from 8:00PM 9:00PM at LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101) to get a taste of their talent!