BWW Review: WAYNE TUCKER AND THE BAD MOTHA'S Capture Hearts at Birdland Theater
Birdland Theater, NYC, November 30th, 2019
Wayne Tucker has built an impressive resume as he's gotten his music career off to a solid start. A talented trumpeter, he brought a series of favorites from his earlier CDs along with new numbers from upcoming recordings to Birdland Theater. In his element, Tucker, alongside his solid band, the Bad Motha's, had the crowd settling in for a serene evening of delectable jazz numbers. I felt the strength of this show lay within Hila Kulik on the piano and the ability of the band to create an amorous atmosphere of rhythmic tunes. Each song compelled the listener with a near irresistible urge to move. It's fitting that one of my favorite numbers would therefore be aptly titled "Humans Groove Harder."
A pleasant aspect of the show was Tucker giving his team plenty of room to shine in their own ways. Kulik might have stolen a lot of attention when playing a stirring introduction to a song (such as on "Orange and Brown") or piecing together a particularly gorgeous solo from behind the keys, but Wayne's brother Miles also took advantage of the jazz interludes within songs to impress with Tenor Sax. The brothers' instrumental chemistry also seemed to prove that musical genius is a hereditary gene. Every time they played together was like watching strands of music being woven lie braids. Iconic and lovely, the duo played particularly well on a tribute to Oscar Peterson.
I wasn't as impressed by Tucker's lyrics on some songs, but particularly on "Idolization." The chorus, "Idolize those eyes, when you're near me I feel high/ with each look, I am mesmerized," came across as melodic, but the rhymes felt a little forced given the length of the lines. However, the band behind him played beautifully once again, hearkening back to the Jazz greats that he had mentioned writing the song about. And the following number, one soon to be recorded, had an intrinsic beauty to the lyrics that felt more natural. Even in the line, "You're my buddy, yes you are/nothing else should matter," I felt connected to the tone and message of the music as something that transcends body and soul.
The combination of all these factors made for another strong show at Birdland Theater with good vibes given off by Tucker and company, including Kulik, brother Miles, and the bassist and drummer, Tamir Shmerling and Diego Ramirez, respectfully. Tucker's natural ease on stage, coupled with the smoothness of his songs and show would be the perfect setting for a quiet, glamorous evening out. In that way I feel like it exemplified the vision of what to expect from the new Birdland Theater.