Waves of shimmering notes crashed the Narrows stage in unbroken sets, save only for occasional quiet and beautiful eye of the storm interludes. Eric Johnson Mike Stern and their indomitable bass and drum section rocked and jazzed up the full Narrows house Tuesday night. Beauty and raw power charged from the stage with lightning fast arpeggios punctuated by wailing climaxes- it was the Mahavishnu Orchestra with Jimi Hendrix sitting in and John Schofield serving an occasional reminder to slow down and deliver an occasional sweet desert rose. A performance for the ages.
Before getting too far into a phenomenal fall lineup of inter/and/national musical talent, if you missed Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge you missed talent that is deep and honest. One omnidirectional mike and a couple of old Martins and one singularly rich voice gave a form of jazzAmericana/bluejazz/dawg music a pure and crisp delivery that demonstrates how simple, unaffected music can be a powerful and occasionally spiritual force. While steeped in American Bluegrass, Julian and Critter are adventurous and talented enough to claim as their own old standards: one of the prettiest affecting versions of “Someone to Watch Over Me” you’ll ever hear. Song structures occasionally gave way to unexpected and rich improvisations that reminds us how a simple wood box with six strings (two of them in this case) can sometimes connect best with the muse.