The planets had not aligned for quite some time for Boo and I to catch Sharon Martin at the JuJu Bag on a Friday night for several months. But on Friday September 9th we showed up to what became a really informal evening as it seems that most of the JuJu Bag "regulars" were at Dillard University's Black Arts Historical retrospect, and we were few but mighty in the audience.
Well, those of us in attendance were treated to being able to observe Sharon and her accomplice keyboardist and band leader Clark Knighten work magic on their expansive repertoire. These two, together are amazing. Sharon has firmly established her ability to create a truly enjoyable musical experience with her vocal range and soulful renditions of popular songs she makes her own. She has a genuine love for and ability to engage an intimate audience, but sometimes she has had to work harder. Not so with Knighten on the keyboard. Because of Knighten's commitment to including a baseline in his two handed chords, flourishes and his use of the piano's percussionist property for keeping time and expressing rhythm, the music was full and driving and satisfying even without a drummer or bass instrument. They are magical together, with an obvious confidence in one another's ability to hear and respond, both filling the musical space provided by the other in a way that that left us all as full and satisfied with the music as we were with the great food we had consumed with it.
Sharon Martin and Clark Knighten are a complete and thoroughly engaging music act that I can visualize filling an auditorium with grateful applause just as well as they did the JuJu Bag Cafe.