Just an hour after the announcement of President Obama’s victory of being reelected to a second term in office I found myself venturing into the night and stopping at Char’s Has the Blues, a jazz and blues nightclub in downtown Phoenix, AZ better known as simply, Char’s. The club was small and intimate; I noticed the cozy atmosphere right away that was created by extremely dim overhead lighting and exclusive seating areas near the entrance and also within the interior flanks. The crowd, mostly consisting of patrons approximately 30 years old + sat in various places in the club, including near the full bar where the bartender provided friendly service and delicious beverages.
To celebrate my mother’s birthday, we indulged in Vodka Cranberry’s and Pina Coloda’s at amazing prices and settled at a side table to enjoy the live music. Essence, the headlining band of the night, excited the crowd with dazzling jazz melodies that were mixed with beautiful nuances and splendid subtleties that clearly showcased their talent. Shaun Johnson, the lead vocalist, smoothly crooned through many classic hits such as Michael Jackson’s, “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” and “Bustin’ Out (On the Funk)” by Rick James. At one point in the evening, Johnson invited my mother on stage and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ with soulful accuracy, much to her extreme shock before continuing on with the designated set list.
The band, which is comprised of Sonte Vales, the lead guitarist, Dbazz who plays bass and Lawrence Ross on keyboards, delivered each song with marked passion that showed a deep and genuine appreciate for performance and music. The drummer, Jamarl Baker aka JB That Drum Killa executed every beat with brilliant precision and gracefully carried the quintet through each moment. The tiny crowd in Char’s Has the Blues responded to classy and equally impressive lineup with applause; a few of the club-goers took to the dance floor to sashay to the melody.
At the conclusion of the band’s lively set, the crowd disbursed for the night, either exiting from the small parking lot or lingering outside of Char’s for a smoke and conversation. As a whole, Essence was thoroughly impressive and deserves much recognition for their inexplicable talent and prodigious showmanship.
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