Sound Check: Hall & Oates in the house

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

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Daryl Hall, left, and John Oates perform on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, during an Independence Day celebration, in Philadelphia, on July 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

On Friday night, one of the most successful duos in music history will grace Akron with its presence and a solid 15 years worth of hits.

These days, Daryl Hall and John Oates don’t record and tour regularly, but 2012 was the 40th anniversary of their debut album, Whole Oats, and they recently released a four-CD, 74-track box set, Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates.

Nevertheless, who knows when the two will reunite and hit the road again, so fans should snap up tickets (which they apparently did, because the Akron show is sold out.)

Hall, 66, has a newish solo album. Laughing Down Crying, his fifth. It was released in summer 2011 and is a solid collection of his familiar songcraft. Some songs recall Hall & Oates such as the poppy Talking to You Is Like Talking to Myself and the Philly-soul-flavored Lifetime of Love shows that Hall still has his pop-writing chops and his voice still sounds strong.

Meanwhile, Oates, 63, also released a solo album — his third — in 2011, Mississippi Mile, a fairly stripped-down, acoustic-heavy, blues-flavored album mixing originals (yes, he did write or co-write several H&O songs) with some interesting covers such as Leiber & Stoller/The Coasters’ Searchin’ and a countrified, back-porch take on H&O’s You Make My Dreams Come True.

As a duo, the two haven’t recorded a studio album of originals since 2003’s Do It for Love, but their track record of hits throughout the ’70s, ’80s and into the early ’90s includes more than 13 million albums and 6 million singles sold, six No. 1 singles, seven platinum albums and six gold albums. That is plenty to fill up a set list.

They first tasted the charts in 1973 with the tortured soul-ballad She’s Gone from their platinum-selling second album, Abandoned Luncheonette, and the hits kept coming. Another ballad, the smooth Sara Smile, made the Billboard Top 10 and hit the R&B Top 25 helping to solidify the group’s successful mesh of pop and R&B that would find Hall & Oates regularly charting on the pop, R&B and dance charts. That culminated in the 1980s hit I Can’t Go for That, which was No. 1 on all three charts.

In addition, Hall & Oates made good use of the early days of MTV with cool, memorable and very ’80s videos such as Maneater and Private Eyes.

You likely know their many other hits, including Say It Isn’t So, Kiss on My List, Out of Touch and their cover of the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.

If you’ve never watched an episode of Hall’s monthly Web/Digital Cable show Live From Daryl’s House ( or on the Palladia channel at 11 p.m. Thursdays) where Hall and his crack band welcome an array of artists to perform their own tunes as well as H&O songs and various covers, you’re missing out on a very entertaining hour of live music.

The guest list has included legends such as Smokey Robinson, Toots Hibbert of Toots & the Maytals, Todd Rundgren and Booker T., along with hot contemporary artists such as Mayer Hawthorn, Rob Thomas, Cee Lo Green and Plain White T’s. Oh, and of course John Oates.

There is one warning I’d like to put out there for ticket holders. After last October’s sold-out ZZ Top show at the Civic, I heard from many concertgoers who complained of the relatively short 70-plus minute set. We all know the Internet never lies or contain misleading or wrong information, but a quick search on the Googlebox of recent H&O set lists strongly suggests that the band will only play about 15 songs, total.

Let’s hope the Googlebox is wrong and they’ll give us at least 90 minutes of their beloved pop hits. As late as December of last year, they were starting the shows with Out of Touch, so let’s see if they start with another tune. Perhaps it’ll be a sign of a different and hopefully extended set list.

Jazzin’ at Lakeland

The so-far-darn-good slate of shows in 2013 continues for area jazz fans with the 41st annual Lakeland Jazz Festival happening Friday through Sunday at the Dr. Wayne L. Rodehorst Performing Arts Center (Building D) on the campus of Lakeland Community College.

This year’s headliner is saxophonist/composer Chris Potter, one of the most respected (relatively) young artists on the international jazz scene, who constantly draws praise from his peers and jazz critics.

The 41-year-old, who will perform Saturday, has a resume that includes more than 150 appearances on other folks’ albums, including the awesome Dave Holland quintet, guitarist Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, bassist Paul Motian, trumpeter Dave Douglas, Steely Dan and Cleveland’s own Joe Lovano to name a few. As a bandleader, Potter has released 17 albums including his latest, The Sirens, a well-received concept album inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey featuring his current quartet of pianist David Virelles, spider-armed drummer Eric Harland and bassist Larry Grenadier.

Also on the bill are native Clevelander and percussion maestro Jamey Haddad and his All-Star Trio Featuring Leo Blanco on piano and Roberto Occhipinti on bass performing Friday night.

Haddad, whose job history includes names such as Simon and Garfunkel, Yo-Yo Ma, Carly Simon and Paul Simon — with whom he’ll be touring internationally this spring, is an educator at the Berklee School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Oberlin College and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

His specialty is hand drums, so it should be a rhythmically interesting and unique set by the trio.

Lastly, at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, the Lakeland Civic Jazz Orchestra & the Cleveland State University Jazz Ensemble led by John Perrine will perform.

The LCJO is set to focus on big-band classics from the likes of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Stan Kenton while the CSUJE will feature songs by Lennon/McCartney, sax legend Wayne Shorter and maverick composer/arranger Maria Schneider.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at 330-996-3758 or by email at He’s also on Facebook as Malcolm X Abram. … Go figure.

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