Suze Diaz — Vista, CA -What a special treat for music lovers that attended Vista Library’s First Sunday Series! One of the Series’ favorite-featured artists returned to give another afternoon of fantastic musical delights. Saxophonist Jerome Dawson, along with San Diego pianist Wayne Thames (a member of Dawson’s band, Wazabe Blue), thrilled concert patrons with a lively set of pop and rock favorites with a sassy smooth jazz twist. Originally from Northern California, Jerome Dawson has been making a name for himself across the country as a sought-after musician; opening for many talented artists including Mary Wilson (from The Supremes), Chris Botti, Aaron Neville, Roger Waters, Jazz in Pink, Sista Monica, Maruga Booker (from George Clinton P-Funk All-Stars), David Benoit, Pete Escovedo and Buzzy Linhart. With over two hundred of R&B, Rock, Pop, and Reggae songs included in his musical repertoire, Dawson fuels his passion for his upbeat and contemporary jazz style infused with a funk attitude.
The County of San Diego operates the Vista Library. The First Sunday Series has been a concept for quite a few years; its purpose is to offer opportunities to bring more of the arts to the city of Vista. Marcia McGee is the library contact for the Series and shared that it has been a wonderful success and an added bonus to the patrons that frequent the library. For artists wanting to share their music with the community, the number to call is 760-643-5100 to schedule a show time on the calendar. The venue has a strong stage set up and there are plenty of seats to bring in a nice crowd for an audience.
On a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in the sky, patrons were charmed by the warm, personable, friendly humor of Dawson and Thames as they started the set with Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now”. Accompanied by Thames on the library’s grand piano mixed in with the sultry sounds of Dawson’s saxophone, the duo captured the audience’s attention from the first note. Displayed on the stage were three of Dawson’s saxophones: tenor sax, soprano sax and alto sax. Included in the performance was an interesting informative lesson of the musical instrument. The saxophone was invented in the late 1800s. Classical or orchestra music written before this time did not have saxophone parts due to this fact. This could be the reason why the flute and clarinet were more prominent. Wikipedia has a wonderful saxophone page with further details regarding its history (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxophone). Engaging the audience with humor, banter and stories, Dawson also imparted a few music lessons to give clarity to his performing style. As he switched between the three saxophones to perform various songs, Dawson gave minute details explaining distinct differences of each instrument. A small Q&A with different patrons sprinkled throughout the show gave insight to the way saxophone players perform with their instruments. An explanation of the importance of proper reeds and the use of different reed materials gave a clear picture of what a saxophonist deals with in the maintenance of tone consistency while playing. Dawson himself plays with a natural vibrato. The rich, vibrant and full sounds flowing from his beautiful brass instruments gave a pleasurable nod to the soulfulness of the leisurely sweet spring day.
As the show progressed, more patrons from within the library entered the community room to enjoy the performance. Songs included: Alicia Keyes’ “If I Ain’t Got You”, Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Matisyahu’s “One Day”, Sarah Mc Lachlan’s “Adia” and Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman” with a fantastic highlight of a long sustaining note during one part of the song beautifully played. Time and again the artist made his way around the audience to give the intimate impression of an up-close personal experience of a private performance.
With a song from one of his top musical influences (and the man who many feel put smooth jazz on the map), Dawson ended the set with Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mister Magic”. Patrons were eager to speak with Dawson for a little chat as they purchased available CDs. A refreshing and uplifting afternoon with one of the county’s premiere musicians is truly a gift to be shared. Check for information on upcoming shows at the website listings below.
For more information of events at the Vista Library and opportunities to volunteer, please visit http://www.sdcl.org/locations_VS.html
To listen to more songs by Jerome Dawson and Wazabe Blue and a calendar of their future shows, please visit https://jeromedawson.com/home for details. Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WazabeBlue/