The good thing about live recordings is that they often give the musicians in the band a chance to shine. In the case of Jeanine Mackie’s latest CD, Live at the Drake, this is more than evident, and it’s what will have you listening to this recording over and over. Mackie has assembled (assembled might be the wrong word, implying as it does that she got these guys together for the recording, when in fact most of the musicians featured on this project have been playing with Jeanine for years!) a tight blues/funk band that grooves with the best of them. They are: Bob McAlpine on guitar; Matt Horner on keyboards; Byron Stoehr on bass; Al Cross on drums; Arturo Avalos on percussion; John Johnson on sax; and backup vocals by Quisha Wint and Jarelle Christie. On each selection Janine announces the soloist either before or after his riff, and praises his contribution to the recording. You can tell they all – especially Jeanine – are enjoying this performance.
Jeanine Mackie has been singing R&B, soul and funk for years, and has been a regular player at the Beaches International Jazz Festival, Taste of the Danforth and Taste of Little Italy, as well as a veteran of the club circuit. Fans may remember her side project with Blue Martini, which featured the jazz stylings of saxman Pat Perez. It was cool, and they were great, but this is really where Mackie shines; belting out hits like Respect, Fever, Shotgun and the like. I mean her rendition of Let’s Get It On rivals that of Marvin Gaye himself! And the crowd is loving it as well.
You can grab a copy of Live at the Drake at jeaninemackieband.com or through iTunes.