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ConcertsMark Lettieri Group at Universal Preservation Hall, Saratoga Springs NY 5/4/2023

Posted on Tuesday, May 16 2023 @ 00:55:38 CDT by Pete Pardo

One has to scratch their head and wonder why it can take so to take a chance on an artist. I’ve been familiar with both Snarky Puppy and Mark Lettieri for some time, but other than watching a few YouTube clips; I owned nothing by the Mark Lettieri Group. Let’s just say this past Thursday night changed everything. Lettieri and his trio played close to a two hour set of funky, rocking, tight and intricate music that was nothing short of exhilarating. I was well aware of what a great guitarist Mark is, but the songs are so good. His trio consisted of bassist Wes Stephenson (The Funky Knuckles) and Jason “JT” Thomas (Snarky Puppy) on drums.

You want to talk about locked in and grooving; these three did that all night long. Watching them lay it down, and then just look at each other and smile, you could tell they were thrilled with how the music was flowing. Lettieri was the MC for the evening, and he spoke often with the crowd between songs. But, once things got started, Lettieri would glance over at his rhythm section, give them a nod and off they went. Often soloing with eyes closed, Lettieri truly impressed me with his command of the instrument. In addition, it also quite rare to have a trio sound so full. You can’t fake sincerity, and the vibe coming from the stage let you know there was no place these three musicians would rather be. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the songs featuring the baritone guitar. The thick rich tone filled the room and these songs seemed to capture the Funk. Being a newbie, I didn’t know Lettieri’s catalog going in, and I was able to just sit back and absorb everything. I can tell you at the end of the night, I paid a visit to the merchandise table and got my hands on a few of the bands releases. I envision more to come.

I also have to mention the venue. Universal Preservation Hall is an old Church in downtown Saratoga New York that has been converted into an Arts and Music venue. What a beautiful sounding room, and the soundman kept the levels in a great spot all night. I can only hope they continue to book quality musical acts, I have a feeling once an artist plays this venue, they will want to come back.

Eric Porter

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