6.15.2010

The weight: The Levon Helm Band at the Flynn, 2010 Discover Jazz Festival

Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released...

The Flynn Theater marquee as the 2010 Discover Jazz Festival wound down, the Levon Helm Band was the final show of the week-long event.

Levon Helm -- of The Band, and who played behind Bob Dylan on the 1966 'electric' tour of the UK documented in the film Don't Look Back) might seem an incongruous choice for a jazz fest. The Levon Helm Band, however, is really an American roots music big band of made up of 12 very good musicians, including a full horn section and organ, so it actually wasn't too far removed for a jazz festival.

I have been to shows, where I think, "this is nice, but enough, I'm ready for it to be over" but this was not one of those events. The Flynn was sold out and the crowd was very enthusiastic (multiple standing ovations during the show). The large band was tight and played a very eclectic set that included some classics -- always well received by the crowd -- but contemporary numbers as well.

Levon Helm is no longer young and has battled cancer and the vicissitudes of a life lived on the road but he is still a consummate showman and a fierce drummer. It was a very enjoyable show with lots of good energy and we were fortunate to have seen it.

*I Shall Be Released was the one encore the band played on Sunday.

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