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J Montage & The Groove serve up jazz, blues and more at Kirkwood
Wil Walker on Harmonica
Wil Walker (second front right in blue shirt) plays a mean harmonica during a performance with J Montage & The Groove during the first of two outdoor summer concerts at Kirkwood Park on Sunday. Another jazz concert will be held at the park on July 16. - photo by Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Wil Walker - Harmonica

Wil Walker plays guitar and harmonica with J Montage and The Groove during an outdoor concert at Kirkwood Park in Camden on Sunday, June 16, 2019.
By: Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Kirkwood Park filled up with the sound of jazz, blues and old R&B favorites Sunday evening as the Kirkwood Community Progressive Organization presented the first of two outdoor summer concerts. The music came from a temporary stage with Javier Dykes and his friends -- performing as J Montage & The Groove -- along with guest artists John David Black on guitar and Wil Walker on guitar and harmonica.

The concert technically started at 6 p.m., but with the heat keeping some folks away at first, Dykes had his fellow musicians use the first hour to warm up. At 7 p.m., as more people showed up, things got underway as the band welcomed Black to sit during their first set, starting off with an excellent rendition of George Benson’s “Breezin’.”

As the evening progressed and the sun went down, more people arrived to enjoy the music. Several ladies -- and one man -- got up to groove along. By the time the concert was truly underway, some 100 people were on hand to clap their hands, tap their feet and rock back and forth to the music.

One of the major highlights came when Wil Walker came up to perform, all but wailing on a harmonica, producing high notes that, with a less accomplished player, would have merely come out as squeaks.

While the music played, young people and children played on the park’s playground and basketball courts. But it was the music most people came out for, including Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford and City Councilwoman Deborah Davis.

The night ended with a medley ranging from jazz (Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mister Magic”) to a right-up-to-the-end under the moonlight twist on an old classic Dykes and company called “Thank You for Letting Us Be Ourselves.”

The next summer jazz concert at Kirkwood Park is set for July 16, also from 6 to 10 p.m.