Crosstown Traffic and Round Trip Ticket Rock The Mint

Entertainment — By on January 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

Round Trip Ticket. They featured Lamar Webster on bass (R) who was rock solid.

By Buddy Sampson

Los Angeles, CA- On a cool night in Southern California, two ensembles warmed up The Mint in Los Angeles with old school fun.

Opening the show was Crosstown Traffic. Headed by rock solid bassist Lamar Webster, the group had a classic, but old school feel to it. Rounding out the unit was Art Zamora on guitar, Stan Jones on keys, Curtis Sanford on drums, Jeff McCarty also on keys, Victor Orlando on percussion, William Zimmerman on sax, Ty Griffin on trumpet and TJ Watkins, Lexie Cole, Heidi Allyce, and Shali Williams on vocals. Cole, Allyce and Williams later took the stage as the group “Round Trip Ticket.”   Special guests were Tim Price, who played James Brown and Bobby Love, who played Ray Charles.

They began their set with an old Freddie Hubbard tune, “Sunflower,” played to almost perfection. Webster is reminiscent of the classic bass players, those that know how to keep a groove solid, which makes the band go. Sanford and Webster keep the wheels spinning for the tasty ensemble. They followed with a Grover Washington Jr. standard, “Mr. Magic,” always an audience favorite. Sanford had a sizzling solo on the song, one of the best versions of the classic song we’ve heard.

Griffin and Zimmerman showed their prowess on the song, and both did solos that were captivating. They followed that tune with the Stevie Wonder standard, “Superstitious,” and they funked it up.   Among their songs was “Joy and Pain,” a Frankie Beverly and Maze tune. Vocalist TJ Watkins, a rising star sang the song as well as anyone has. Look for a bright future for this young star. Suddenly, without warning, an odd sight took the stage. Dressed in white, with a pink vest, was a James Brown imitator (Tim Price), complete with a pomped up wig. He had the audience in stitches as he sang “Payback.” We could swear he looked like that guy that used to perform on the beach, rapping with a big hat, but maybe it was our imagination. Vocalist Bobby Love and his singers Lori and Tameron did their impersonation of Ray Charles, complete with some great outfits on two of Charles’ hit songs, “Night Time is the Right Time,” and “What I Say.”

But this night at the Mint belonged to Crosstown Traffic and Round Trip Ticket. On a very cool night, they both helped to warm up the night air with their considerable talent.

Crosstown Traffic.

Special thanks to Mike Wom for all of his help in compiling this review.

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