An organ in the house where Canadian keyboard wizard Glenn Patscha grew up launched both his career and his fascination with the masters of the instrument. To celebrate the music of Billy Preston, Patscha assembled a 19-member all-star band and saw to it that there were multiple keyboards and some hot hands from around the country – New Orleans’ Jon Cleary and New York’s Brian Mitchell and Los Angeles’ Jeff Young – to play Preston’s songs. Patscha also invited some of the best singers around to pay homage to some of Preston’s legendary vocal performances. Purveyors of magical moments included Scott Sharrard (“Little Girl,” “Use What You Got”), Jim Keller (“Right Now”) Fiona McBain (“You Are So Beautiful”), Marc Cohn (“Nothing from Nothing”) and Catherine Russell, who brought the gospel feeling to four of Preston’s biggest hits including the rave-up, “That’s the Way God Planned It.”
A number of songs originally written by one Beatle or another and then covered by Preston made their way into the set, appropriate since Preston was often called the fifth Beatle. One such song, George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” was sung by bass player Adam Minkoff and punctuated with a shimmering guitar solo by Larry Campbell.
Nearly all the keyboard players at this show also wowed the crowd with their vocals, like Preston did, but their most impressive feat was recreating the otherworldly sound of some of his famous instrumentals: “Outa-Space” and “Space Race.”
– Kay Cordtz