And what an HONOR it was.

Last night I went to the legendary Carnegie Hall for the first time in my life. Very exciting!! Best known for its classical music offerings, I got to see something with a little more flavor -
HONOR: Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, And Beyond - on opening night.

Their website describes the show as: “Paying tribute to the great African American popular music artists of the past, the brightest lights in blues, rhythm and blues, soul, and jazz, as well as today’s daring innovators, gather for a magical evening of music. Each presentation will parallel an event in the bountiful history of performances by African American artists at Carnegie Hall.”

While that is all true, I would describe the show as simply AMAZING. It kicked off with music from the creators and the songs they sing which brought Ashford & Simpson to the stage of the massive Stern Auditorium. From the get go, it was everything I could do to not sing along to “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Ain’t Nothing but the Real Thing.” Moving on to the blues, Toshi Reagon joined Vernon Reid and James “Blood” Ulmer to jam. If you’re not familiar, Google Toshi and you can thank me later. From there it was time for jazz, both traditional and modern, where James Carter tore up his saxophone. He was feeling it so much that they had to bring that section’s moderator – the cool, Chuck wearing (that’s right, I can spot them from the balcony) Corey Glover – to have them wrap it up. However, James kept at it but then ended by turning his sax upside down and giving it a kiss.

After a short intermission, which was much needed to stretch the legs, it was time to rock…literally. From rock n’ roll to 1960s rock to r&b and soul; it was time to get down. With roof raising performances by Leela James, Kem, Anthony Hamilton and Freddie Jackson, the crowd definitely got into the groove. However, my favorite part of the evening - surprise, surprise - was the tribute to hip-hop. The one and only, MC Lyte took the stage with style in skinny leather pants (the girl is tiny!) and a smooth swagger. She broke into “Cha Cha Cha” before bringing it home with my favorite flashback “Ruffneck.” Following her was the master himself, Doug E. Fresh!!! He took us through the history of hip-hop and rap with about a 10 minute medley, ending in signature style by beat-boxing vs. the drummer. AH-MAZ-ING!!

Such a great show, who knew you could hoot and holler in
Carnegie Hall? haha. If you are in New York from March 4 – 23, do yourself a favor and check out HONOR. I definitely walked away thinking there ain’t no MTN high enough. ;) ;)

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