October 2021 –– CVNC arts writer Cecilia Whalen stopped in virtually this month to get a glimpse of the performance of Menastree in JazzArts Charlotte’s virtual performance series.
Before digging in, Cecilia graciously offers her observations of JazzArts Charlotte’s response to the pandemic across the past year. “Despite pandemic limitations, JazzArts Charlotte seems to have grown. This year, the jazz nonprofit (with the help of several substantial grants, including one from Knight Foundation), pivoted quickly from cancelled shows to a number of successful new initiatives held socially distanced and online. … the JAZZ ROOM (which normally takes place monthly at the Stage Door Theater in downtown Charlotte), even officially reopened this month with a Trumpet Summit. Meanwhile, the organization’s virtual alternative to the JAZZ ROOM, entitled The SET and born last year to maintain a monthly musical presence, will continue on as yet another series, at least for a little while longer.”
Cecilia compares the SET to the JAZZ ROOM, for a little context. “The SET allows for JazzArts to feature local musicians, in a way unique from the JAZZ ROOM, which often presents themed tribute concerts to jazz greats. September 23rd’s edition of The SET featured local band Menastree (read “ministry”), a funk/jazz/RnB fusion group of young Charlotte and Carolina natives.
Her review of Menastree was a favorable description of this local regular whose first recordings are coming out soon. “Menastree grooved on with a gentler song which included vocals by bass player Maher and allowed for trumpet and guitar solos. Later music featured Wheeler who also sang, this time with voice altered through a synthesizer, and alternated with his saxophone.
The band is solid in groove and style, providing, as JazzArts advertised, “feel-good music” that inspires dancing and overlaps many styles but certainly has a jazz and funk foundation.”
Visit CVNC’s website for the full review. Search for JazzArts Charlotte on their website for other show review.
If this entices you, the SET is available on demand on JazzArts Charlotte’s YouTube channel.
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Classical Voice of North Carolina (CVNC), North Carolina’s statewide arts journal, was established in 2001 with the objective to fill the gaps left by commercial papers as more and more of them shrink coverage of the fine arts. This online arts journal, based in central North Carolina, exists to serve those who share our belief that the arts are an integral part of life that cannot thrive unless the community knows what is available and what effect the presentations have. In addition to reviews, CVNC publishes the most extensive arts calendar available in NC.