Photos and Review by Max Stewart
Kevin Scott’s All Star Holiday Revival brought the heat on a historically freezing cold night in Atlanta at the Variety Playhouse. With a revolving cast of mostly-local musicians, the set list featured a range of funky Christmas tunes to songs that honored the very special guest, Bernard ‘Pretty’ Purdie. Purdie is one of the best and most influential drummers ever, having played on virtually every major artists recordings, from Steely Dan to Aretha Franklin to Frank Sinatra. It was very cool to see that a lot of the songs chosen were either songs that Purdie literally played on the recording session, or tunes that were loosely associated / influenced by Purdie as well.
Kevin Scott, who orchestrated the whole event, is a masterful bassist who has done a lot of session work and plays with Jimmy Herring and John McLaughlin. Some of the other top tier musicians included: Coy Bowles (Zac Brown Band), Mark Rivers (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Emil Werstler, Mark Radabaugh (Donna the Buffalo), Matt Slocum (Aquarium Rescue Unit, Railroad Earth), Rhett Huffman (American Aquarium), Rick Lollar (The 5 of 7, Jamison Ross), Dave Yoke (Dr. John), Jon Libeman (Electromatics), Cody Matlock, Raphael Pereira (Janelle Monae), Jordon Shallop, Taylor Kennedy, Dan Wytanis (Ghost Note), Ansley Stewart, Brenda Moore, Amanda Joy, Tiffany White, and Elliott Blaufuss (Phillip Phillips).
Just two nights before Christmas, it was joyful homecoming for a lot of local musician and an incredibly fun night for many in the ATL music scene. There were so many highlights, but just to name a few:
- Grant Green Jr. performing James Brown’s “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” with Bernard Purdie on drums
- Amanda Joy singing a soulful “Little Drummer Boy” (which sounded like Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings version) and Aretha Franklin’s “Think”
- Elliott Blaufuss performing Steely Dan’s “Green Earrings” and “Caves of Altamira” off of Pretzel Logic
- Purdie doing his signature shuffle on Led Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain,” with Ansley Stewart on vocals
- Rick Lollar and Emil Werstler on The Beatles’ “I Got You (She’s So Heavy)”
- Mark Rivers with a superb version of “Jealous Guy” (based off of Donny Hathaway’s version of the John Lennon tune)
- Tiffany White singing Stevie Wonder’s “What Christmas Means to Me” and “O-o-h Child”
- Up-and-coming ATLien Cody Matlock doing Hall and Oates’ “She’s Gone”
- Coy Bowles covering Paul Pena’s “Gonna Move”
The show benefitted The Georgia Music Foundation and Backline:
The Georgia Music Foundation supports programs of music education, preservation and outreach while fostering an appreciation for the state’s rich music heritage. The Georgia Music Foundation supports programs of music education, preservation and outreach while fostering an appreciation for the state’s rich music heritage. Established in 1994, the Georgia Music Foundation has spent nearly three decades working with valued partners statewide to support programs that preserve the state’s music history, provide opportunities for students to participate in music education and promote Georgia’s music communities.
Backline is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that connects music industry professionals and their families with mental health and wellness resources. We want to build a safer and more supportive music industry by helping our community access quality mental health care providers that understand this line of work.