It's difficult for a solo performer to make enough interesting sounds to hold a room over the course of a set. Some soloists around town have resorted to playing along with pre-recorded instrumental and vocal loops to help them approximate a band. Throughout the recession, we've seen more of this in the Sarasota live music scene as venues have only been willing to pay for soloists or duos, trying to save money over paying for live bands.
This evening at the Portside Patio overlooking downtown Sarasota's beautiful Bayfront Park at Marina Jack's, soloist Joey Lavallee offered up full bass tones and melodic medium notes on both guitar and vocals, creating a full-bodied sound without the use of additional tracks. His stylized versions of familiar songs were interesting, as were his comfortable and proficient runs as he took impressive lead breaks.
We'd seen and danced recently to his lead vocals in the Mark Serio & Friends band at Mattison's City Grille, where the band played an evening of lively danceable funk, with barely a slow song to ease things down.
Tonight at the Portside Patio, Joey Lavallee's tone was more contemplative and smoother. The versatility of top-notch musicians is what keeps us coming back for more. The Sarasota nightlife scene continues to provide great opportunities to see virtuosity close-up.