As is the case on a lot of Wednesdays in Roanoke, cool music was happening in multiple spots. Melissa Reaves, a powerhouse singer with chops to burn, was performing with Michael Bellar and The As-Is Ensemble, a trio from New York City. Bellar, a born-and-bred North Carolinian, is a former Amos Lee sideman with great tone and taste on a Rhodes Fifty-Four, a clavinet and a well-dialed-in (for a syth) B3/Leslie sound. Reaves, who is back and forth between Arizona and Cackalack, has been doing some touring with the band of late.
Put these two acts together, and you get some musical fire. Check out this version of Reaves “New Rock Song,” which as its title suggests, rocks. It got a small crowd going on Wednesday at Martin’s Downtown.
I hope this combo comes back soon. Bellar and his cats play soul-jazz in the Medeski Martin Wood and Benevento Russo Duo vein. And Reaves brings fresh life to such covers as “Little Wing” and even Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better.”