The cry came just before the night’s final song: “Leon — save music!”
A knowing chuckle spread throughout those gathered inside Scat Jazz Lounge, and even the man of the hour, Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter Leon Bridges, cracked a smile.
It wasn’t tough to discern why such a feeling was in the air Saturday, at the first of two sold-out shows celebrating the release of Bridges’ major label debut, Coming Home (the album arrives in stores Tuesday).
Over the course of 55 minutes, Bridges and his ace seven-member backing band offered up one smooth groove after another (local dynamos like Andrew Skates and Jeff Dazey injecting plenty of swagger into the songs).
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An intoxicating mixture of soul, gospel and jazz — Bridges, decked out in a tuxedo and in fine, full voice, aired out most of Home, including singles Better Man, Lisa Sawyer, the title track and the powerful closer, River — had the hundred or so fans swaying and dancing along, straining to snap photos on their phones.
Bridges, as he has throughout his astonishing swift rise from anonymity to fame, betrayed no nerves Saturday, posing for photos with family and friends before taking the stage, and even pirouetting at one point to prove he still had his dance chops.
I hope Bridges savored every moment inside the dimly lighted Scat Jazz Lounge.
I suspect it will be a long time before he’s playing again locally in such an intimate space (Bridges is The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’s musical guest Monday).
I hope the night meant something special to him.
Saturday’s pair of shows is the latest stop of a once-in-a-lifetime journey, one taking the 25-year-old musician to places he’s probably only dreamed of.
Who knows? Along the way, Leon Bridges might even save music.
Preston Jones, 817-390-7713