Summer nights could not get any better than our night at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield on Sunday August 7th. The sun was starting to set and hundreds of people gathered into the venue to have a once in a lifetime experience with Igmar Thomas & The Revive Big Band. We were in for a treat and one that we will never forget. We took a journey through the legacy of black culture.
It created a soundscape of taking us back in different time periods to some of the greatest musicians that ever existed in black culture. Igmar introduced himself and the band, and we had the pleasure of getting a true history lesson in time of the music and sounds of the decades. The band spent the night combining Jazz, Blues, Rock & Roll, R&B and Hip-Hop into a storytelling concert that flowed so organically and we felt full after leaving the show.
The Revive Big Band are a special dynamic that blend the sounds of nostalgia with the sounds of the new era and make it one entity. The band was formed in 2010 by trumpeter, Igmar Thomas and they have become New York’s voice for having one of the most electrifying and progressive bands in the world. The band’s repertoire consists features original compositions from the likes of J.Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest and Lauryn Hill. Needless to say, they are a big deal.
The band kicked of the night with the time period of the 1920’s with Louis Armstrong “Potato Head Blues” giving us the soul and essence of jazz in the 1920’s. We couldn’t help but feel like we were right in New Orléans on a warm summer night.
As the night continued we were introduced to Tarca Patterson who came out to sing Thomas A. Dorothy and Aretha Franklin classic, “Precious Lord”. Igmar told us that this was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite song, and we could see why. It was refreshing to hear the gospel reigning loud and clear.
As we moved on to the 1940’s we had the pleasure of hearing the angelic voice of Esperanza Spalding cover the Wayne Shorter gem “Infant Eyes”. We immediately felt like we were in a night club in the 1940’s and Esperanza was singing just for us in that intimate special moment.
Also during the 1940’s period we were blessed by the talented Nicholas Payton who played the trumpet like his life depended on it and he left his heart and soul on the stage.
To finish out the 1940’s we were blessed with the amazing talent of neo-soul singer, Bilal. He came out and brought the heart and soul to the “Smokestack Lightning” and “How Many More Years” by the bluesy Howlin’ Wolf.
As we moved through the eras, in the 1950’s we we were treated with the likes of Little Richard and Ray Charles. The band through in a surprise by adding Kanye West’s “Golddigger” during their Ray Charles dedication.
Our favorite part of the night was the 1970’s, when Nicholas Payton, Esperanza Spalding and Bilal returned back to the stage to sing a Donny Hathaway classic, “Someday We’ll All Be Free”. Bilal and Esperanza sang with ease and brought back life to the essence of Donny Hathaway and his incredible music.
The show was truly a special one and a night we are so honored to be able to be a part of. If you ever get the chance to experience Igmar Thomas and The Revive Big Band and their journey through black culture, make sure you don’t miss it when it comes back around.