Palmieri at SOB's, regardless, jazz or not, he sings

Ron Scott | 5/23/2013, 2:52 p.m.

Gooding was on the program of "A Great Day in Harlem" at Grant's Tomb for the opening concert series for Harlem Week last Sunday, which paid tribute to legendary radio pioneer, executive and entrepreneur Hal Jackson and Sylvia Woods, owner of Sylvia's Restaurant.

Gooding is best known as the lead singer for the Main Ingredient (1971-77). The singer, who lives in Florida, hasn't performed in Harlem in ages, but he still set the stage on fire and had over 1,000 people in the audience singing on his every note, from hits like "Everybody Plays the Fool," "Just Don't Want to be Lonely" and "Rolling Down a Mountainside."

Gooding was backed by the dynamic band of Ray Chew (musical director and keyboards), as were R&B crowd-pleasers Allyson Williams, who turned it out with "Just Call Me," while Alicia Meyers was on course with "You Get the Best From Me" and "I Wanna Thank You." Freddie Jackson, another noted R&B singer who represents the genre well with his soulful timbre, kept the house swinging with his tunes "You Are My Lady," "Jam Tonight" and "Rock With Me Tonight."

Chew, the new musical director of Harlem Week, put this concert series together. Was it jazz? Hmm. Maybe not, but I was so busy singing along with Cuba and moving to Chew's band, I didn't have time for a critique, but I left the concert with the songs and beats ringing in my head. For me, that spells a good time. Forget about the music genre, did you have a good time? When you get home, are you still saying, "Wow, what a great time"? Nuff said.

Once at an event catered by Sylvia's Restaurant, I overheard someone asking, who is Sylvia? The person commented, "She has the best soul food restaurant in America." That was an incredible compliment. She will be missed, but her legacy continues at 126th Street and Lenox Avenue.