On this date in history, 6/20/1999, I finished a 3 day run of concerts by seeing B.B. King and Robert Cray on the final day of the Indy Jazz Fest. After doing a little research I just discovered that this was the first year of the Indy Jazz Fest and the show took place at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. In addition to B.B. King and Robert Cray, the lineup included Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Los Lobos, Sonny Rollins, Chris Izaak, Branford Marsalis, and Freddie Hubbard. The event began on the 17th and ended with the performance I attended. There were so many people at this show that we didn’t really get to see Robert Cray as we moved through the crowd looking for a place to sit. He sounded great, though, and I have always loved his voice and smooth guitar style. I had seen B. B. once before and remembered that his band ran through a couple of songs before the man took the stage. Since this was a jazz festival, the band really got to show off their skills in this segment and the crowd roared their approval in anticipation of the main event. Hearing the sound and tone of “Lucille”, B.B.’s legendary guitar, out in the open air, is such a vivid memory for me. It was just a glorious sonic experience! Of course the man’s singing voice was equally fantastic, and although he remained seated throughout his set, the audience were all on our feet by the end, the perfect final act for the inaugural Indy Jazz Fest, and the perfect end for 3 consecutive days of stellar shows for me.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic