REVIEW: Dominique Eade Quartet + Lake Street Dive at Scullers on October 21

Lake Street Dive

It's hard to say what in particular cast such a giddy glow over New England Conservatory's "Generations of Jazz" show at Scullers on Wednesday night. Maybe it was semi-matching cardigans worn by openers Lake Street Dive (green, pink, and GoodFellas canary yellow). Or the stories the former students told about writing some of their smart, funny songs as NEC assignments. Or the thousand-watt charm of Dominique Eade - the teacher they wrote some of those assignments for. Or maybe it was the beautiful singing and playing throughout the night.

The show was part of a week-long love-fest for the 40th anniversary of New England Conservatory's jazz studies program. In the "Generations" series of selected club shows, teachers and former students play together. At Scullers, NEC vocal mentor Eade faced off with protégées in LSD - singer Rachael Price (in mod-striped top and an apron dress instead of cardigan), trumpeter Mike Olson, bassist Bridget Kearney, and drummer Mike Calabrese. Lake Street's jazzy pop isn't what you'd necessarily think of as something to come out of a jazz studies department - except that the overall craft and execution bespoke good schooling. But it's their idiosyncratic quirks that make LSD anything but academic. There was some spare electric guitar here and there - Price sang the first tune, "Be Cool," slamming one chord per bar, Olson picked it up on a couple of others. But this was very stripped-down pop, dependent on Price's soul-food rich voice, muscular delivery and control, and on occasional background harmonizing, terrific songwriting and arranging, and plenty of "jazzy" rhythmic looseness. Eade was more jazz - in her sleek sound, daunting improvisational flights, arrangements of modern jazz classics (Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge"), and her one-time-only band of NEC ringers: guitarist Brad Shepik, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Billy Hart, plus another NEC former student (and rising star), tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger as special guest.

Photo by Andrew Hurlbut
Dominique Eade

The real fun came in all manner of crossover: Lake Street covering George Michael's "Faith," Eade joining them to sing a song she'd written "during the Bush administration" and performed only once before, "Everybody Can't Be Wrong"; Eade segueing from "Lover Man" (duet with Shepik) to Jimmy Webb's "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress"; Price joining her for a raucous take on a number from Ray Charles's C&W side, "Here We Go Again." Lake Street joked about Olson writing a song for Eade's class ("That was not the assignment," she told them), Eade talked about being told by one of her Vassar English professors that, as good a writer of prose as she was, she should be doing music. (This after she had delivered a Monk-like song in dedication to Bottom from A Midsummer Night's Dream.) That advice, she said, was both "perceptive and honest." Sounds like that might be a lesson the fiercely independent Eade passed on to Lake Street Drive - how to be themselves.


The "Generations of Jazz Series" continues tonight (Thursday, October 22) at the Regattabar with Noah Preminger and Jerry Bergonzi. For a complete schedule of "Hot & Cool: NEC Jazz 40th," go to

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