ASPEN (6/27/16) – Soul artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Booker T Jones rocked the Benedict Music Tent Sunday night, performing classic Stax hits and songs by the MGs. Jones spent most of the night on the electric organ and occasionally the electric guitar. He was accompanied by a full band (which included his son on guitar) and backing vocalists.
Throughout the performance, the 71-year-old Jones displayed an ease and control that comes with age and experience. Smiling and rocking back to every chord he played, sharing personal anecdotes in between songs, applauding his accompanists appropriately, and changing instruments midway through a song – the musician was comfortable, and both the band and the audience appreciated that.
But the passion and enjoyment Jones emitted is what raised Aspenites to their feet and loosened their hips. From the exits of the tent where ushers were clapping and shimmying, to backstage where the extra band members were grooving along, Jones’ timeworn music imparted new moves and a familiar warmth. As The Lonely Island eloquently state in their song “Boombox” – “It was a bunch of old white people dancing.”
Jones played everything from “Purple Rain” to “Respect” to his own classic, “The Green Onions.” The dissonant chords and their resolved finishes engulfed the tent with rich harmonies. Each song, regardless of initial style and texture, would finish in a grand finale of sorts, with all of the instruments playing and the sound euphorically engulfing the tent.
In “The Green Onions,” a song he composed when he was 17, Jones started off in a comfortable tenor range, and then progressively worked up to higher and higher pitches. Like a coil being twisted, Jones built up the tension, and then released it with a resolution that encouraged one satisfied fan to yell, “I love Booker T…[He’s] a legend!” While the music tent was not completely full, the respect and admiration the audience felt for Jones was filled to capacity.
** Thank you KSPNAspen for the tickets!