Jeanine Mackie Band: Live At The Drake

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Submitted by Don Graham


After watching the gifted Jeanine Mackie perform for a few nights at the Beaches International Jazz Festival Street Fest, what better way to listen to her at home than a live recording? And that’s exactly what I did. ‘Jeanine Mackie Live At The Drake’ is an 11 song offering of classic R&B and Soul classics. Making a live record can be a daunting undertaking but Ms. Mackie and her band of brothers pulled it off in topnotch fashion. Having just watched her performance and then listening to the live CD, I was impressed with how much the band and Jeanine sounded exactly the same on record as they do live. That is a true testament to the talent assembled for this project. The band consisting of the guitar magic of Bob McAlpine, the keyboard mastery of Matt Horner, the solid bass of Bryan Stoher, the soulful saxophone of John Johnson and held together by the driving drums of Al Cross and percussion of Arturo Avales- these are some of Toronto’s finest players. It’s the type of ensemble that a pure voice like Jeanine Mackie deserves and needs to show it’s full quality. A perfect marriage of band and vocals.


The set includes a great version of Junior Walker’s Shotgun, and a funky version of Bill Withers’ Use Me. Dionne Warwick’s Walk on By is another highlight, Aretha’s Respect and Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On shine as well.


When asked to describe her career and music Mackie said, “Performing live is one of the great joys in my life. I love the energy and the sense of connection I feel with the audience. Once we hit the stage and the show begins I am completely lost in the music. Live recording can be risky but I wanted to capture the excitement of the live performance and let people feel the night. It was very important to me that the musicians had the freedom to express themselves. This album celebrates the music that I love and the thrill of live performance. Live is honest. Live is awesome.”


If you ever see the Jeanine Mackie Band performing live in your area be sure to check them out. Otherwise get yourself a copy of The Jeanine Mackie Band live at the Drake.  You’ll feel like you’re there!