Simply put, the unassailable oeuvre of Earth Wind & Fire is a syncopated beacon of light guaranteed to uplift. And the capacity crowd that filled The Tralf for DP on Drums’ Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire this past Friday shouldn’t be coming down from that joyous night of impeccable musicianship any time soon.
With such hometown talent as Daniel Powell on drums, Will Holton on saxophone and Cal Palmer ( who envisioned this tribute three years ago ) on bass, and world renowned pianist and vocalist Frank McComb among the ten piece band, a stellar performance was to be expected. But what truly set this apart from a mere tribute was the passion and distinctive expertise showcased from the collective musicians.
Prior to the performance, Powell led the band and crowd in a prayer for his father who recently suffered a major stroke and a spiritual vibe was sustained throughout the two-hour set that kicked off with the polyrhythmic body-rock of “In The Stone.” The groove got even deeper with “Get Away” where the four piece horn section displayed some formidable chops.
“Shining Star” was McComb’s cue to take the stage on lead vocals and keyboard as the band stretched out with an adept solo from McComb and some bottom heavy finger work from Palmer while “That’s The Way of the World” and “Reasons” had the crowd singing along. Holton and vocalist Joy Little had a sublime sax/vocal mix on the latter.
Halfway through, the band took a breather for an intimate solo portion from McComb. With his keyboard as his only accompaniment McComb honored Donny Hathaway with a heartfelt “A Song For You” and “For All We Know” which blended together superbly. One of the more underrated artists, McComb also took the time to share advice for up and coming artists.
The band returned for “Love’s Holiday” and “After The Love Is Gone” yet the party truly ignited with “Let’s Groove” and “September” which had the audience on their feet. Opera singer Lorenzo Parnell helped take “Fantasy” into the stratosphere before the killer Afro-Latin groove of “Serpentine Fire” wrapped things up with some sizzling percussion courtesy of Carl Johnson.