Brooklyn Comes Alive provides artists with the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, perform with musicians they rarely play with, and play tunes they love but don’t frequently play in a live setting. For the lucky few musicians who get to curate their own band, it provides an opportunity for them to showcase friends and favorite up-and-coming talent. All of these circumstances came together at this year’s event, as Jennifer Hartswick brought singer, songwriter, and self-proclaimed “funksoulbrotha” Akie Bermiss to her Jennifer Hartswick & Friends set at Brooklyn Bowl.
Hartswick’s band was filled with impressive players from top to bottom. Besides Bermiss, she recruited two members of Snarky Puppy—Mike “Maz” Maher on trumpet and Chris Bullock on tenor saxophone—as well as guitarist Danny Mayer of Eric Krasno Band and jazz bassist Dezron Douglass. The band delivered standout covers by The Meters, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, but the true highlight came at the tail end of their set, when Bermiss led the band through a soulful version of “I Shall Be Released” by The Band.
Hartswick is known for her ultra-powerful vocals, so it makes perfect sense that she would showcase another artist who can pack a serious vocal punch. Bermiss was remarkable throughout, taking the Brooklyn Bowl audience to church with his passionate vocal performance and gorgeous organ solo. When it was Hartswick’s turn to shine, she harnessed Bermiss’ energy and matched his power, cementing this incredible version of “I Shall Be Released” as one of the festival’s true highlights.
See below for a full, pro-shot video of Jennifer Hartswick & Friends featuring Akie Bermiss performing The Band’s “I Shall Be Released” from Brooklyn Comes Alive!
Jennifer Hartswick & Friends feat. Akie Bermiss performing The Band’s “I Shall Be Released”