Center for the Arts in Bonita Springs Florida welcomes Schofield on January 15 2022. Review by Joel Shover.

To think I was heading to just and ordinary blues show was a complete understatement. I was heading to see a roomful of extremely talented musicians rightfully in their own fields. On January 15th, 2022, The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, FL hosted multi-award-winning guitarist, vocalist and songwriter and British Blues Awards Hall of Fame inductee, Matt Schofield and his band.

Schofield, born in Manchester, England now resides in Florida, USA, has been compared to the likes of Eric Clapton & Peter Green so I was for sure in for a treat!  Was I in a room with Albert Collins? Stevie Ray Vaughn? Jimi Hendrix?  Believe me when I tell you there was not one part of that Fender Strat that Schofield did not touch and play.

As I write this review, I am still amazed at how many shows I’ve seen over my lifetime and this was my first-time seeing Matt perform and it won’t be my last by far.  The band took us on a blues adventure from rocking “Don’t Know What I’d Do” to a funky Nawlins’ jazz room blues “Live Wire”. I swear I could smell the smoke from the bass strings of Rodrigo “Digo” Zambrano, from Mexico City, Mexico, as he slapped the funk around the room.

From there it was “See Me Through”.  Schofield then paid homage to the great Alligator Records and Albert Collins himself by performing the Hoodoo hit song “Black Cat Bone”.

It was now time to bring out special guest Christine Tambakis from New York, NY for “Little by Little.”  I fell for her voice the minute she let out the first note. Tambakis has the vocal range to lead a Southern Bible belt Choir to holding her own in a smoke-filled jazz club in N’Awlins to the July heat of a back-alley blues club in Jackson Mississippi. It was great watching Tambakis vocally challenge Schofield with his guitar as their musical duel did not let us fans down one bit.

The band was then acknowledged with a standing ovation. The Hinman Auditorium was all warmed up and it was now time for an Intermission.

The second set started with “Everything” and everything is what the band was giving the crowd including Adam Scone, 4-time Jazz Ambassador by the Lincoln Center & Kennedy Center for the arts, who at times, to my pleasant surprise, seemed to challenge the likes of the Chairman of the Board. Scones’ Hammond organ expertise along with his extensive touring with JJ Grey & MOFRO brought the heart tugging gospel keys that still ring in your head hours, sometimes days after a show.

Next up was another cut from the album Anything But Time, “Where Do I Have To stand” this song like the others produced heavy jams that truly showcased all of Schofield’s influenced talents that took each and every one of us in that room on a journey that only live music can actually do. Tambakis then made her way back onstage for two more funky-blues songs “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean” and “Dr. Feelgood.”

The next song from the album Far As I Can See was “Hindsight, Should’ve Known Better” the back and forth from the guitar/organ was truly mesmerizing. Schofield then introduced the rest of the band and humbly stepped off stage so each one could solo showcase their talent. The super talented 3 -time Grammy nominee and 2000 Grammy award winner, and author (Melodic Drumming), and Cuban native Raul Valdes handled all the percussion with charisma and grace. Valdes performed two solos during the show that were truly amazing.

Go see live music, you never know who’s going to take the stage.        Till the next show, Joel

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