Kicking off a month-long residency at Red Square, The Chronicles paid tribute to the great Stevie Wonder, setting the tone for a month of musical tributes from Albany’s premier jazz/funk group. Opening up the night for The Chronicles was West End Blend, who set the tone with smooth hip hop sans the noise and rap without the frills. What was left was straight up funk and soul to open the night.
When The Chronicles took the stage at 10:30, they opened with Stevie’s instrumental “Contusion”, then invited Mike Thomas, lead singer of Albany’s Funk Evolution, to join the band as the featured vocalist this evening. Channeling Stevie Wonder for the next hour, Thomas was a firebrand, raging through the uptempo “Sir Duke”, the soulful “Livin for the City”, nailing “Boogie on Reggae Woman” and mastering the wordplay of “Do I Do”. Throughout, the horn section, led by Bryan Brundige and Jeff Nania, blared in and out of each Stevie tune, adding a layer to the songs that no jamband can equal. Tyrone Hartzog sat in to sing “Bad Bad Bad” and revved up the crowd for the final songs of the night, all originals from The Chronicles. The music was spot on from all in the band and got the year of music at Red Square started on the right notes.
Catch The Chronicles January 16th when they will pay tribute to John Coltrane, January 23rd with a full show of songs by Earth Wind and Fire (with opener Cedric Burnside) and January 30th with a tribute to the music of J. Dilla.
Setlist: Contusion, Sir Duke, Superstition, Livin for the City > Higher Ground, Boogie on Reggae Woman, Masterblaster, I Wish, Do I Do, Bad Bad Bad, Tag, Strasbourg, Mr. Clean, Just Knew, Village Livin’