Cincinnati Garage Soul/Roots group The Perfect Children celebrate the release their debut album, Get Me Mine, this Friday at Northside Tavern (northside-tavern.com). The free show also includes a performance from special guests Brian Olive (who produced Get Me Mine at his local Diamonds studio) and his band, as well as DJ Harvination, who will be spinning various Soul and Funk sounds throughout the night. Showtime is 10 p.m.
Over the past few years since forming, thanks to strong word of mouth about their sizzling live shows, The Perfect Children’s fan base has grown, as has the band itself. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Kristen Kreft and drummer Adam Shelton began Perfect Children as a duo. While retaining their musical essence — a raw but colorful blending of R&B, Gospel, Rock, Blues, Folk and Country — the twosome added the double back-up vocal attack of singers Beth Harris and Nicole Potter-Borngrebe, as well as bassist Victor Strunk. As a five-piece, the band became even more of a powerhouse force live, with the new additions accentuating Kreft’s from-the-gut melodies and Shelton’s creative yet skeletal rhythms.
The Perfect Children are so effective in a live setting, it’s fair to wonder if that lighting could be captured in a bottle and translated as effectively in the recording studio. I’m happy to report that, thanks in part to Olive’s work behind the boards, Get Me Mine is full of just as many goosebump-worthy moments as the band presents in concert. It’s an album exploding with soulfulness and the crisp production gives the music the same pop it has live.
Get Me Mine is impressively diverse, allowing Kreft and Co. the ability to showcase their versatility, moving from rumbling barn-burners to simmering slow-burners and delivering it all with the same passion and intensity. Songs like “Go Away” and the title track will singe your eyebrows with a mix of punkish energy and Gospel zeal, while “Just Like You” has the ghostly slow-shuffle Roy Orbison perfected, and the mid-tempo boogie and strutting twang of “Rain Song” is wildly endearing, partially due to the deft piano of guest Andrew Higley (now a Nashville sessioneer and formerly of local acts like The Chocolate Horse and Readymaid).
Higley also lends silky electric piano to “Hell or Highwater,” an album highlight full of slow-mo swagger that recalls some of the soundtrack work from David Lynch’s filmography.
Olive also lends some rhythmic sax work to the rollicking R&B closing track “Come On,” while local singer/songwriter Molly Sullivan buffs up the muscular, spine-tingling vocal harmonies even more on the track (as she also does on the ethereal ballad “Tumblin’ Down”).
Still, Kreft is the clear boss — her spectacular vocal presence and increasingly strong songwriting skills are the heart and, yes, soul of Get Me Mine, as strong of a debut full-length as you’ll hear from any band this year, local or otherwise. (theperfectchildren.com)
Jazz Fest Takes Over Washington Park
The Crown Jewels of Jazz Festival returns Friday and Saturday with an adjusted format. While last year’s fest was spread out across the Over-the-Rhine area, this year’s Crown Jewels is more streamlined, with free events concentrated in OTR’s Washington Park (washingtonpark.org).
The fest kicks off Friday night with an 8 p.m. concert featuring unique and widely acclaimed Jazz singer Gregory Porter, as well as Cincinnati native Mandy Gaines (whose been busy performing throughout Europe and Asia).
Saturday at Washington Park, the fest kicks up again with Phil DeGreg, Baba Charles Miller and Kathy Wade (whose Learning Through Art, Inc. presents the Crown Jewels fest) performing and telling the story of Jazz (and other music) in a program called “Journeys: A Black Anthology of Music” at 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., “Piano Picnic in the Park” will showcase area pianists; DeGreg, Jim Connerly, Billy Larkin, Charles Ramsey III, Cheryl Renee, Steve Schmidt and Erwin Stuckey will each perform their two favorite Jazz numbers during the hour and a half performance.
Then it’s time to dance! The fest closes out at 8 p.m. with “Dancing Under the Stars” at the park’s bandstand, featuring music from the 18-piece Sound Body Jazz Orchestra and dancers/teachers from the Dare to Dance Ballroom Dance and Fitness Studio.
Given that it is presented by Learning Through Art, Inc., it is fitting that the Crown Jewels of Jazz fest will also include an educational program Saturday morning for high school musicians at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, just across the street from Washington Park’s 12th Street entrance. The CJ2 Jazz Camp, which will feature clinics, classes and more with many of Cincinnati’s top Jazz musicians and educators (including DeGreg, Stuckey, Jim Anderson, Marc Fields, Ted Karas, Mike Wade, Art Gore, Brent Gallaher and many others), begins at 8:30 a.m. There is a $35 fee per student.
For complete info on the Jazz Camp and all of the Crown Jewels of Jazz events, visit learningthroughart.com.