For jazz, I prefer acoustic jazz, and preferably small combos performing in small and intimate venues, like any number of downtown jazz clubs. Big bands, even one as good as Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) with Wynton Marsalis, are less of a priority, not to mention concerts that fuse jazz with pop. And so this concert, part of a fund-raising event, wasn't on my agenda, but an invitation that included a pre-theater dinner was just too good to pass up.
I enjoyed the superb playing of the JLCO; the caliber of the players, many of whom highlighted by solos, was just beyond reproach. As for Paul Simon, no matter what the reviews say, I like his folk side much more that his latter day "world music". I bought Graceland when it came out, but was disappointed by the whole thing: it has always seemed Paul Simon is just Paul Simon; no matter what rhythm is in the background there is no relationship. And yes, I listened more to the black musicians in the background than paid attention to the vocals. And my impression was not altered by this collaboration between Paul Simon's band and JLCO.
Best of all to me was guest star Aaron Neville, one of my heroes, whose trenchant and heart-breaking Bridge over Troubled Water must count as one of my most memorable live experience. In this I agree with the concert review in Jazztimes, rather than that in NYT. His rendition now joins his Ave Maria (from my favorite album - pictured) as my choice cuts.
Below is a youtube of Neville singing the song; I must get the album :