Bobby Lyle Puts It All Together

by Sheldon T. Nunn

The Verizon Wireless Theater, Houston, Texas, United States, November 4, 2005. Individuals who adopt worthy causes in support of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised people in society have a very difficult endeavor, especially when attempting to rise above other organizations trying to achieve the same objectives. Often times, the overall approach becomes easier when a celebrity or person of note becomes involved to garner support for a given charity. That is exactly what happened when pianist Bobby Lyle and some of his friends put on a special benefit performance for Family To Family Network, whose mission is to achieve “Success for Children with Disabilities.” There is an ongoing vision as well, one that bodes well with assistance and empowerment in order to obtain the best possible results for families and friends who care for children with disabilities. Because the cause is such an important one in the mind of jazz musician Bobby Lyle, he has adopted Family To Family Network to draw attention to the superb work the organization is doing. For the second time in as many years, Bobby invited some musicians to Houston to help elevate the consciousness of how important Family To Family Network's goals are. With that in mind, drummer Rayford Griffin, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., vocalist Howard Hewitt, as well as saxophonists Eric Darius and Everette Harp came together to perform in a very special concert to highlight the organization’s goals and objectives. As a stand alone musician, Bobby Lyle is one of the most complete musicians of his generation. He has the ability to transcend the confines of most artists by achieving considerable acclaim in all aspects of contemporary and modern jazz. His skilled approach to jazz has not often been recognized in the minds of some, yet he remains one of the most influential creative minds in jazz. As a supporter of Family To Family Network, Bobby has the clout to pull off one of the most dynamic concerts of its kind, especially in a city where jazz is not a dominant source of entertainment. Collectively speaking, this event was well-suited towards pushing the organization into the forefront of community support.

One of the most unique aspects associated with this event is Bobby Lyle the musician. Anyone who has ever experienced him in a live setting will acknowledge his considerable talent. He is energetic and pushes the envelope of perfection in whatever his musical endeavor, whether it be performing or recording. His performance on the evening of November 4th was not any different when it comes to examining Bobby’s unique approach to his craft. His performance was a funk-filled groove that was augmented by melodic nuances and compelling harmonies, while also drawing energy from Paul, Eric and Everette. Individually, each musician in his own right proved beyond the shadow of any doubt that they too were highly stylized dynamos. The highlight of the show was Everette Harp’s passionate embrace of Janet Jackson’s tune “Let’s Wait Awhile, ” which received a rousing response from the audience. Everete’s highly emotional and eclectic interpretation was passionate and very enlightening. Paul Jackson, Jr.’s tribute to the late Luther Vandross was filled with nostalgia and appreciation for a singer whose influence on music is without question. Bassist Keith Vivens was another intrepid highlight during the concert with his superb bass licks. He exhibited a three minute course on the art of funk and all the percussive elements surrounding his talent. Howard Hewitt’s magical and mystical vocalese was another high point of the evening. He mesmerized the audience with musical memories of his days with the group Shalamar, as well as with romantic love songs that he has thrilled the world with over as a solo artist. Collectively and with Bobby Lyle at the helm, the force was definitely upon the crowd of fans and supporters, where music and jazz were elevated to new heights. In addition, it stands to reason why Bobby was able to pull all of his resources together to make “Bobby Lyle & Friends” come together.

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