ABOUT TOWN: Jean Grae @ Drom NYC — May 24, 2012

J ean Grae returns to the NYC stage for the first time in over a year. Yes, a new album will be here soon! m4s0n501

@warmedia @jeangreasy @melamachinko

I can definitely say that there was a lot of love in the room last Thursday for Jean Grae.  As you may recall, this show at Drom was her first in NYC in over a year.  She’s such an incredible MC and songwriter that there is a lot of anticipation for her new album, Cake Or Death, when it drops sometime later this summer or in the fall.

Longtime friend and DJ Mr. Len got the crowd warmed up and traded barbs with her to get things started.  And it was great to see her surrounded by some top shelf musicians. I mean, I was sold upon seeing that pianist, arranger and longtime collaborator Kwame Brandt-Pierce and drummer Chris Eddleton were on the bill.  And Gordon Voidwell tipped me to the fact that bassist Ed Goldson plays with him.  Didn’t know Pete Paul Josephs before that night, but I like his guitar work.  And the irrepressible Mela Machinko provided both a great voice and a dash of sass, counterpoints to Jean, whose wit is always razor sharp, but who tends to be slightly more reserved in public.

Also great to note that Jean wasn’t just being an MC who fronted a band, but was a full fledged bandleader, bringing soloists in and out of songs, directing the band to amplify or extend certain musical ideas.  We’re all for artistic evolution, and it was on full display here.  Brava!

Pharoahe Monch joined Jean for a song

Jean Grae with Mela Machinko and Pete Josephs

Check out the Boldaslove.us Facebook page for the full photo set

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Rob Fields is the founder and publisher of Bold As Love Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @robfields.