You know, I couldn’t even begin to guess how many times I saw Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings play music. Truly, the number must be a dozen or more…I just don’t know. But one thing I think I do know is that all of these shows (save one, sort of) were in Ottawa, and all were part of a festival.
July 4th, 2010 was yet another of those, this time Jones and her band were appearing at the jazz festival. Of course it was a great concert; Sharon and her Dap-Kings were nothing if not consistent, delivering mild funk and rich, deep soul with well-rehearsed regularity from any stage that had the sense to book them. And audiences seemed to appreciate them with equal consistency…no wonder they were brought back to town time and time again.
Not to mention the great ease the band had fitting any bill. One year they would be at the jazz fest and the next they’d be booked at the Bluesfest, with the band effortlessly riding the tiny fence that separates the two sub-genres. Did they also play the folk festival? I’m too lazy to look it up and too wizened to recall, but again, they would easily slide right in to such a milieu and fit like a glove. Heck, Ottawa has tons of festivals and aside from Puppetfest I think Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings could’ve headlined any of them and not sounded out of place.
As a matter of fact, the one time that I saw Sharon and (most of) her DK’s not at an Ottawa festival was when she and her horn section backed up Phish as they performed The Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street at a Hallowe’en festival in Indio, California.
Talk about fitting in anywhere!
And now those days are over, as Sharon passed through the pearly gates and took her place in the angel choir back in 2016, where she doubtlessly slid in right next to Mahalia Jackson, Etta James, Billie Holliday, and Whitney Houston. I suspect they were saving her a chair.