You never know who might pop up on stage at the Roots Jam, which was, with the exception of Clive Davis' A(ss)-list kiss/croon-a-thon, the most buzzed about bash Saturday night. It was wishful thinking of course, but we got it in our heads that Mick Jagger might show up; after all he was in town for the Awards, plus Jam host Jimmy Fallon is a hardcore fan whose done SNL skits with the rock god. Well there was no Mick. Fallon didn't even do his impression, though he did open up the show with another act he's been known to impersonate: The Bee Gees (“Stayin Alive”).
Bobby McFarrin, Chuck Brown, Taj Mahal, Booker T. Jones, Too Short, Sara Bareilles, Betty Wright, Estelle, Ne-Yo, Asher Roth and Chaka Khan did join in on stage (in all, a more old-school line-up than Peapod a couple nights earlier on the same stage).
Here, a report from the show and one of the harder-to-get-into happenings: Allsaints' soiree for the the Black Keys.
Roots Jams are always the night before the Grammys and they always go late… very late. This year, moved from Key Club to the Music Box, the show was listed as going from 10 pm- 4 am, but it didnt actually get going til Midnight.
Heavy on the R&B and hip-hop, this year's jam was also somewhat of a ladies night, with the highlight groove going to Wright, who got down on her sexy deflowering cruiser classic, “Tonight is the Night.” Barielles was nearly as compelling on Dusty Springfield's “Son Of A Preacher Man.” We love Chaka Khan, but the legend was not at her best Saturday. She stumbled on the words to “Tell Me Something Good” and we got the feeling her constant mic-into-crowd sing-a-long moments were more about needing help than being interactive. Still, her mere presence was a magical and vibrant addition to the line-up.
Hennessey was the sponsor Saturday, and while it may have aided in the loose vibe of the event, we wondered if it was reason Chaka wasn't rocking it harder. Fallon, by the way, was also MIA most of the night. We expected to see him since he was the host, but when we heard his pal Drew Barrymore was there, we figured he was in party mode not emcee mode (and who can blame him, he does that gig every night).
The party on stage was great, but we figured the real one was going on back stage.
McFarrin didn't do “Don't Worry, be Happy,” but he made the crowd happy anyway. Booker T and Mahal both maintained their legacies on stage with enthralling turns mixing it up with The Roots. The band itself, was tireless, engaging and sonically spot-on as always. If Questlove took a bathroom break, we didn't see it.
Saturday's soul train started to rev earlier at Hemingways, the new literary-themed lounge next to Roxbury under now-closed Cinespace. Allsaints brand's more intimate, most stylish gathering offered Io Echo, Devendra Banhart and Ana Calderon and Grammy winners the Black Keys' Patrick Carney on the decks, and when we entered, he was playing some majorly funky vintage cuts, including oft-sampled oldies. Labi Siffre's “I Got The …” (sampled in Eninem's “My Name Is…”) is a definite download. Ivanka Trump and Kings of Leon were seen feeling it too.
Didn't make Saturday's other biggie gig –OM Records' Groove Armada party at Supperclub– but Weekly photog Tim Norris did. Check out his photos here. See all our party pics in this week's Nightranger slideshow.