LIVE: INDELIBLE FESTIVAL, Highline Ballroom, NYC
by Keya Maeesha
Its not a secret that New York City is known for showcasing the “best of the best”. Its true. There is not a week that goes by where an artist isn’t winning over fans at a local hall or venue. Some of the best representations of talent have come from being a part of Jill Newman Productions. Simply put, Newman has a way to bringing together some of the those most amazing talents, famous and almost famous alike, and putting together a memorable experience. So when word came out about the Indelible Festival going down at Highline Ballroom, anticipating a packed crowd would be an understatement. Not the mention the fact that you hear that super producer, drummer , all around ill individual in the form of ?uestlove will be serving as the deejay for the evening. The night already teased moments of a good time for all.
Imagine a lineup where the only thing that you as a fan has to do is get lost in the music. Its not hard when you have Bajah & The Dry Eyed Crew opening the show with their energetic, West African flow. You may or may not remember them from the Roots Picnic, held in Philly about 2 years ago. One thing is for sure, these two men hailing from Sierra Leone definitely know how to open a show. Up next, the amazingly talented bassist, Derrick Hodge. As a lover of the bass, it was definitely easy to get lost in Hodge’s composition. As soon as Hodge began to play his first bass line, someone from the crowd shouted, “THATS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT RIGHT THERE…”. I think they were on to something. The real treat of the night came in the form of legendary percussionist, Gary Bartz and jazz legend, Little Jimmy Scott. All of the young folks who came out on Friday received a treat, whether they knew it or not. Performing some of this most amazing hits, Scott wooed the crowd, while Bartz led them into an eargasm waltz. And to think, the night was only just beginning.
Bilal then hits the stage. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to experience this artist, then you understand the power of his creativity. Opening his set with a remake of “Levels” from his Airtight’s Revenge album, Bilal grabbed the audience’s attention. Bringing out Robert Glasper, as well as Mr. Bartz, Bilal continued to showcase why being eccentric as an artist has its perks. Performing track such as “Who Are You” and “All Matter”, each artist on that stage got an opportunity to showcase their skills all while reminding the crowd about how powerful Bilal’s recent release was.
To close the show and give light to reason why we were all gathered, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) steps on stage to pay tribute to one of the world’s most amazing poets, Gil Scott-Heron. “He’s the reason why I do what I do”, says Bey as he begins his dedication to late artist. Opening his segment with “New York City”, an emotional Bey began to show his connection with the poem as not only a native New Yorker, but also as an admirer of Heron. Bey continued to give the audience a taste of the legend through remakes of his works such as “Home” and “Winter In America”.
From the tributes, the presentation of new talent, preservation of the legendary, and overall dope vibe of the festival, there is no doubt why the show was indeed, indelible. Its not really a surprise though. Jill Newman never disappoints. She has a eye for this kind of stuff.