Summer smooth

Bradley Fair Summer Concerts bring old favorites and new talents to Wichita

WRITTEN BY JOE STUMPE

It's easy to close your eyes and imagine the recording session that produced "Can't Stop Now," the title track on Vincent Ingala's latest CD.

It starts with the keyboard player building a lush ascending chord line. Ingala's soulful tenor saxophone comes in seconds later with the main theme, mirrored by a soprano sax in the background. An electric guitarist adds a staccato pattern, the bass player lays down a funky bottom and the drummer pounds out a up-tempo beat.

There's just one problem with this mental picture: Ingala actually recorded all the parts himself, in his basement studio.

"It's a different world today," Ingala said. "You can literally produce an album in your basement, and it sounds like a million bucks. It's something I've always done, layering instruments on top of each other."

Ingala, who will perform in Wichita as part of Bradley Fair's 15th annual Summer Concerts series, won't play all the instruments himself when he appears here, of course. But as "Can't Stop Now" shows, he's an extremely versatile talent.

And all of 20 years old. Ingala grew up near Waterbury, Connecticut, where his father was a radio DJ and the house was full of music. By elementary school, Ingala was imitating Elvis — who remains a hero — and playing Beatles tunes on the guitar, his first instrument. Ingala added drums and piano to his repertoire of instruments before deciding to concentrate on sax in the sixth grade.

"You had to choose between a woodwind or brass instrument," he remembers. Ingala says he was already "listening to a lot of Louis Prima" and was inspired by the bandleader's saxophonist. Ingala started playing professionally in his early teens and made it his full- time career four years ago.

Ingala is a regular on the smooth jazz circuit, playing festivals, concert halls, night clubs and cruises. "Can't Stop Now," his second CD, scored two hits on Billboard’s smooth jazz chart.

As much as he likes recording on his own, Ingala loves playing with a talented group as well, and he'll have that here.

Jim Kersey, who's been on tour with the Steve Miller Band, will play drums. "He's like the John Bonham of jazz," Ingala said. Al Ferrante, who taught John Mayer to play guitar and recorded with Edgar Winter, will handle that instrument, with Connecticut jazz vet Jay Rowe on keyboards and high school friend Ray Roberts on bass.

Ingala says smooth jazz is "really a radio term" and something of a misnomer for what he plays.

“It's really just instrumental R&B," he said. "I'm big on soul, funk and R&B. I just try to play as soulful as I can and make very soulful music."

That said, Ingala also sings a couple songs — listen for a cover of "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)?" by Junior Walker and the All-Stars during his Wichita gig — picks up the electric guitar and generally tries to bring the kind of showmanship Elvis was known for.

"You can stand there and play a million notes, but it's also about entertaining. Some people might say there's a little resemblance [to Elvis] with some of my moves and stuff," Ingala said, adding with a laugh: "You don't want to confuse people too much."

Bradley Fair Summer Concerts

June 5 Marcus Anderson & Matt Marshak, guitarist/saxophonist combo (for more info, visit marcusanderson.net & mattmarshak.com)

June 12 Joseph Vincelli, saxophonist and a fan favorite from previous Bradley Fair concerts (josephvincelli.com)

June 19 Vincent Ingala, versatile, up-and-coming smooth jazz performer (vincentingala.com)

June 26 Will Donato, smooth jazz saxophonist (willdonato.com)

July 3 Denny Jiosa and Celebrate America concert, standout guitarist (jiosa.com) and fireworks display over Bradley Fair Lake

 
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