[RE-POST FROM JUNE 2009]
As I said I would be, last Sunday I was front and center at the Teena Marie headliner concert for Philly's West Oak Lane Jazz Festival. A close industry friend got us by the stage and I didn't move an inch for the next 90 minutes. There were seats for the early peeps, but I just stood where I could to have a nice view of the woman herself. She kicked things off with a signature tune - James Brown/Lyn Collins' "Think" (aka the very sampled "It takes two to make a thing go right..") and dove right into some Parliament Funkadelic changing words here and there referencing her "T funk" which she certainly came ready to give the crowd. If I haven't stressed this enough, Philly loves them some Teena Marie! It is truly amazing to look at her and then look out at the sea of faces, mostly African-American, just soaking up her voice, her music, her presence. Since the concert took place outside in a residential neighborhood, there were even fans standing outside on the roof (best seat in the house probably) getting their groove on. Wow! Ms. Teena is no young thing, but she ran up and down the stage, singing, side-stepping, conducting the band, and playing guitar all without missing a beat. And lest anyone's forgotten, she can hold her own with da best of em. Her shrill soprano voice can run chills up your spine, but it all looks effortless to Lady T. She took time to talk with her audience and let them know how much their support has meant to her over the years. She performed her original hit with Rick James "I'm a Sucker for Your Love" and also "Ooh La La La" (made famous again when The Fugees sampled it in "Fu-Gee-La" in 1996). See live clips below (sorry so short - my memory card got filled up!). At one point, she performed "Can't Last a Day" off her brand new album, Congo Square, which originally features Faith Evans, but she instead sang with her gifted daughter, Rose LeBeau (just 18 yrs old & a cutie pie). Overall, it's safe to say Teena Marie lives up to all the hype. She is a tremendous entertainer and a severely underrated artist whose career now spans 30 years. If that doesn't speak for itself, I don't know what does. All hail the Queen!