The MJ Freed Theater will be rolling out the red carpet on Saturday for two of the top performers in their field. Bassist Gerald Veasley is among the best in the business and singer Jaguar Wright takes no prisoners in her dynamic performances.
Gerald Veasley was born and raised in Philadelphia and was an early fan of the jazz fusion band Weather Report and its bassist Jaco Pastorius. In 1988, Weather Report co-founder Joe Zawinul hired him as a sideman. Veasley, who stayed with Zawinul until 1995, signed with Heads Up International in the early ’90s and recorded his first album for the label, Look Ahead, in 1992 before providing Signs in 1994 and Soul Control in 1997. Veasley continued with the label, issuing the mellow, smooth album Love Letters in 1999, then returned in 2001 with On the Fast Track, an energetic, funk-inflected return to the grooves of his early career. Veasley is one of the most sought after bassist for studio work and is on constant tour at jazz festivals across the country and jazz cruises on the oceans.
Veasley plays for a lot of people and it’s not unusual for him to bring a friend or two along who might surprise you. You never know who might show up when Veasley comes to town.
Jaguar Wright was born and raised in a small town near Philadelphia that many of you are very familiar with and was brought to the attention of hip-hop group The Roots in 2001, which eventually led to her going to tour with them. She later appeared as a back-up singer for Jay-Z in 2001. Since then she’s release a few CDs, toured Europe with “Philly Sounds”, sang back up on Al Green’s ‘Lay it Down’ CD, and started her own band of Philly musicians. Known as a hip-hop performer, Jaguar Wright is a singer first and performs R&B, jazz, and whatever else she’s called to do.
I just happened to catch Jaguar Wright opening for The Roots at Lincoln Center in 2002. It may have been a few years ago, but I’ll never forget how she tore up the house that night…and she was very pregnant.
I hear there are a few tics left as of last night. This is one you don’t want to miss.