On a hot afternoon recently, right outside of my house in East Baltimore, the amazing Eze Jackson gave a spirited Sidewalk Serenade.
Sidewalk Serenades is a program through the Creative Alliance in Baltimore that helps local musicians provide socially distanced performances as a way to provide a vital line from artists to audience in the age of COVID-19. But it has the added benefit of highlighting the best musical artistry in and around Baltimore. And Eze Jackson is certainly one of the best.
On July 4, Eze Jackson performed several of the tracks on his most recent album, Fool, starting off with “Be Great” and “You Need Some,” a beautiful summer song about letting go of the hate and taking time to let love into your life. I think the first time I saw Eze Jackson was as the front person of Soul Cannon, a group that fuses hip hop, funk, and soul. When you witness Eze there’s an immediacy that’s apparent – whether that’s in front of a crowd at the Ottobar or the street corner as people walk up the street or ride by, stopping to listen.
Armed with some tunes and a PA, Eze Jackson made the day for this block in East Baltimore, from summertime songs like “Just a Lor Bit” and a song I loved called “Coastin’” to the anthem “Unapologetically Black” that seemed tailor-made for these times.
Watch a video of Eze Jackson performing as part of Sidewalk Serenades on YouTube:
Although I tell myself, “I can’t wait to get back to shows in clubs and concert venues,” I know we do have to wait, and I’m grateful that there are artists like Eze Jackson and places like the Creative Alliance that makes this in between time – a time that often feels like a sort of limbo – filled with hope and expectation.
Definitely check out Eze Jackson, his music, and the new album, Fool here.
Here are some photos of Eze Jackson performing as part of Sidewalk Serenades in Baltimore on July 4, 2020. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.