Written by Jim Bille
Oct 21, 2007 at 08:00 PM
ImageFor a second week in a row, the Meridian hosted a show featuring a rock and roll icon. Gregg Allman and Friends came in Sunday and gave a memorable performance. Allman’s friends Sunday night included Bruce Katz, Steve Potts, Jay Collins, Mark McGee, Terry Jemmott and Floyd Miles. All of the mentioned artists are seasoned musical veterans with beyond impressive resumes. Together, the music produced by this line up was an audibly precise and sharp combination of pure musical magic.

Allman has credited percussionist, Floyd Miles, a longtime Daytona FL. native as having a major musical influence on his career. Miles and Allman have been friends since the early days before the Allman Brothers Band and all the fame and recognition. Allman paid respects to his mentor by including a few numbers featuring Floyd Miles on vocals, most notably, ‘Going Back to Daytona’ and ‘Samson and Delilah’. Mile’s vocals were strong, clear and on the mark.

The show featured a blues – jazz fusion sound that incorporated reworked Allman Brothers songs as well as other classic tunes like ‘Can’t Turn You Loose’, ‘Key To The Highway’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Just Like A Woman’. Gregg Allman’s solo career was represented by music that included his now signature song; I’m No Angel’ along with ‘Before The Bullets Fly’.

The band mostly refrained from the long jam based musical presentations one can associate with an Allman Brothers performance when playing ‘Whipping Post’, ‘Statesboro Blues’ and ‘Dreams’. Instead Allman has re-arranged these classics into a sometimes-jazzier mold resulting in band member solos heading in unexpected directions. The trade off between Mark McGee’s impeccable guitar work and the sax work of Jay Collins during the song ‘Dreams’ was one of the most exceptional examples of musical showmanship and adlib of the evening. Every note from both musicians jelled and complimented the other perfectly.

Gregg Allman’s performance Sunday remained on another level. His vocals and mastery of the Hammond B-3 organ showed no indication of rust or wear for the veteran blues rock legend. This Godfather of southern cool laid down some of the sweetest, funkiest and bluesiest grooves on the keyboards while leading his band through the show with little more than a wink and a nod.

With no discussions and very little banter with the audience Gregg Allman was all business. And business was very good Sunday night.

Don’t describe Allman’s music as southern rock. Southern cool would be more appropriate. Southern rock is music produced by Greg Allman wannabes. All those southern rock hillbilly hack bands that spawned in the 70’s and 80’s trying to hang on to the Allman Brothers coat tails can’t approach Gregg Allman’s talent. This differentiation must be requisite when these comparisons are made.

Gregg Allman remains the real southern deal.