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Igmar Thomas, Revive Big Band, Esperanza, Bilal

What a lovely Sunday evening in Central Park… Another beautiful SummerStage event, led by Igmar Thomas and the Revive Big Band. NYCROPHONE and our favorite writer Mocha Carter present to witness a musical “Journey Through the Legacy of Black Culture!” Here is Mocha’s review including some images and videos.


It’s Sunday, August 7th and the Revive Big Band, led by Igmar Thomas, will be performing at SummerStage along with Esperanza Spalding and Bilal, presenting, “A Journey Through the Legacy of Black Culture.

DSC00677The weather is perfect. We really couldn’t possibly ask for more as we made our way to the bleachers. The sun is shining down on my shoulders as we make our way through the crowd bouncing to the tunes that the DJ, Raydar Ellis, plays before the big band takes the stage.
If felt like a party in the park as bodies swayed to the mixes the DJ spun featuring artists like “The Internet” “Tribe” and various others. Some people united with their friends while others made themselves comfy on their blankets, excitement bubbling waiting for the band.

The sound of a blues guitar filled the park and I smiled as the show began.



DSC00740A male voice came through the speakers and I froze and then stood to get a better view of the stage. TAHARQA  Patterson was his name and his voice was unfamiliar to me but it was divine singing along while Marvin Sewell played the guitar.
He left the stage and the band played a few songs before Esperanza took to the stage.




DSC00700Her lithe frame was dressed in a simple romper and her massive hair was piled atop her head. She sang and I closed my eyes as her voice floated through the  crowd with the wind. Her voice light and airy was so pretty, much like the singer herself. I’m amazed that her light sound manages to fill the air. The wonder of an excellent vocalist.
She left the stage and my body began to tingle with excitement. I knew instantly that the very reason I had left my bed was about to arrive to the stage. They announced his name and I screamed like a lunatic. He walked onto the stage and I took it all in with a deep breath and a smile.


DSC00730His hair is braided in tiny cornrows. He’s dressed in a traditional Senegalese frock, with large black, wooden beads with a golden ankh hanging around his neck. He is oblivious to the crowd as he sings the words to the 1950’s tunes and closes his eyes as the band jams. I’m always in awe as his small frame belts out note after note and this time is no exception.




I’m disappointed that he leaves the stage after two songs but the band continues to take us on musical journey through decades of blues, jazz and R&B, highlighting such greats as Thelonious Monk,  Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, James Brown and Ray Charles, even doing a mash-up of Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman” and Kanye’s “Gold Digger.”
The sun has set and I begin to gather my things to leave and make my way to the exit but what’s this? They call Bilal back to the stage to join the James Brown set and I nearly lose it. I laughed and danced and sang along as they sang, “Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud”


DSC00803As he left the stage once more I’m determined to leave only to be stopped in my tracks as they begin to play “Someday We’ll all be Free” a Donny Hathaway tune that reminds me of my father. Esperanza and Bilal come back to the stage to perform this classic and I’m transfixed.




Another excellent concert in the park with amazing performances by outstanding artists. If you are unfamiliar with any of these artists I suggest you get on it! Do your research, broaden your musical horizons! You will NOT be disappointed!


DSC00764Mocha Carter

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Igmar Thomas, Revive Big Band, Esperanza, Bilal

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