If anyone is heading up (or down) to the festival, please post your comments and photos here.
I just posted Vic Schermer's preview.
I'm seriously thinking of picking up the 2 two-day passes offered down in the "Buy, Sell, and Trade" section. I'd lilke to help the guy out who has to sell them, and the line-up seems pretty impressive. Never having been there though, I have a couple of concerns that I'm hoping someone here could help me out with. First, it's general admission, and it looks like a large crowd. Would I have to get there very early to get a decent spot to see the stage? Second, their site claims there are three stages - are there acts performing simultaneously, so if I'm seeing one, I'll miss something else. I'm very tempted to grab the tickets - for the sake of adventure and trying something new, if nothing else. Hopefully the venue is conducive to good sound and a rewarding environment for hearing live jazz. I'm pretty spoiled though - used to hearing my live jazz from a few feet from the stage of a small club. Will I be driven crazy by a large crowd, poor visibility, distracting noise during performances, or anything else? I'm hoping to get some informed pro and con opinions from any of you who know the place. Thanks in advance.
Hope you all got to be there! Thank god the weather held up on Saturday. Dave Broebck kicked off an unforgettable rendition of "All or Nothing at All". The newest sensation, Jamie Cullen played a stellar "I Get a Kick
Out of You" along with 3 originals. as soon as his set ended, half the crowd flooded over to buy his CD with an hour waiting line.
Harry was there with his trio. To the disappointment of many ladies, he did not sing. But for this fan, being 5 feet away from him passionatley pounding on the piano, it was an exhilirating show! He signed autographs after, too.
I can say it was definately worth battling the crowd just to be there!
There must have been a benevolent hand at work to see this event through yesterday (Sunday) in Newport. I travelled the length and breadth of the state on the way to the festival (OK, so that's only an hour and a half in RI) and the only place in the state where the sun was shining all morning was through a small crease in the curtain of clouds directly over Fort Adams, despite dire predictions due to Hurr. Charley racing by and threatening clouds everywhere. The result was an unforgettable day.
The Messengers led off the main stage and concluded their set with Donald Harrison and Bobby Watson trading eights on a fiery (Benny Golson's) "Blues March".
Bill Cosby's ad hoc group was surprisingly cohesive. Cos added tasteful accents on drums while Ndugu Chancler did the heavy lifting behind him, but the real story was Geri Allen's imaginative chord voicings while backing stellar solos by (her husband) Wallace Roney and James Carter. At one point, Cos chuckled as he introduced "Turkey in the Straw" (he called it a hoedown tune; Bill, its a bluegrass fiddle tune! when is the world going to catch up to bluegrass?). This band turned it into a modal exploration while Roney sounded somewhere between Miles and Freddie.
But the killer was a ballad midway through the set featuring Carter on his soprano sax. The tune itself was beautiful, but Carter's nuance was astonishing, as he continually varied the tone, dynamics and breath of each note he played, as he wished. For me (as a soprano and alto player), it was a true highlight of the day. As surreal was the donut hole through the clouds overhead that morning, was the sudden flocking of seagulls, not flying, but simply coasting directly over the stage above Carter, wings extended, some coasting sideways, but in surreal rhythm with the tones of the soprano. The birds generally spend their time in gaggles on the docks and in intermittent flybys over the food stands, but here were certainly captured by the same spirit as was the audience. As quickly as the ballad concluded, they were away.
I hope someone who was at the show can fill me in on the name of the tune because I'd love to hear it again, and learn it.
Mingus Big Band was terrific, with a version of "Moanin'", "Devil Woman" (with Lacy's wild vocals - he reminds me of Cyrille Neville, or should it be the other way around?) and a nice ballad called (I know I've got it wrong) "The Color of Orange" for ailing bandmate John Stubblefield.
LCJO went forward without Wynton who had a lip infection but this band is too good to worry about missing one person, as they did a swinging jungle version of Ellington's early "Bongo". Clarke Terry was added for Armstrong's "Wild Man Blues" and Regina Carter flowed through "Come Sunday". But it again was James Carter who stole the show, taking on Paul Gonsalves and "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" in a performance for the ages, he was unbelievable and brought the entire lawn to a standing ovation before he even concluded - only by virtue of a broken reed! "I had more to say" he said later, but for the reed!
I have more to say but no time for now - except to say that the birds returned only once more that 10 hour day - to float by Ornette!
Help if you can on the Carter ballad. Thanks.
Hi...the song is called Oboe Concerto (by M. Lombardo) and then segued
into Bright Moments.
Thanks very much.
By the way, what were your highlights of the day - there was just too much good music to be everywhere at once.
Thanks, Mark (MCH)
hey all. i attended both days this year and witnessed some truly remarkable performances. ornette ending his set with lonely woman was truly moving.
my only complaint was the headliner set for the saturday show.
billed as a "coltrane tribute" the line-up was ravi coltrane, mccoy tyner, michael brecker, christian mcbride and roy hanes. now how could you go wrong with that??
but unfortunately the show was running about an hour behind schedule and by the time the group hit the stage they only had about 40 minutes to play.
they opened the set with Moment's Notice from the blue train album, then moved to a long blues jam followed by a coltrane-atlantic-years-esque swing in a minor key with ravi on soprano. it almost sounded like "summertime" but it definitely wasn't. if anyone knows where that song came from, i'd love to find out.
anyway, by the third song you could tell the band was starting to find its groove. this was obviously the first time they had played together. mcbride was on fire (but that's pretty normal for him!).
and then...it was over! i couldn't believe it. i felt jipped. THIS was a coltrane tribute? no GIANT STEPS? no IMPRESSIONS? not even MY FAVORITE THINGS? but no one else seemed to care. they just started packing up. we couldn't even drum up enough applause to drown out the MC and get them to come out for an encore!
i don't know why the people running the festival ONLY cut the last set short and not everyone's equally. they did the same thing on sunday with herbie hancock, wayne shorter, dave holland and brian blade and alas, their set never really took off for me. i left before the end.
love to hear your thoughts on this.
Thanks for confirming that Ornette's last tune was indeed Lonley Woman; that was my guess at the time but no one near me seemed to be sure; in any event, it was quite a spiritual performance, and, as my friend said at the time, that's as spiritually close to a Coltrane version of Love Supreme as we're likely to get in this lifetime (although I'm willing to bet that Charles Lloyd live could evoke that emotion, though I've never seen him). It just proves Ornette's point that conventions like names of tunes really are irrelevant; just listen.
I can understand your point as to The Quartet set, in that I could have listened to them for another three hours without coming up for air. But they did play for 55 minutes (and the original festival closure time was extended by quite a bit), and frankly, I thought they started up hot immediately, as if we were entering their set in medias res. It was a terrific set, and I enjoyed the sly smiles they would give each other here and there during the pieces (by this time we had long ago jumped from row 14 to row 1). Shorter evokes more tones out of his soprano than Monet colors out of his canvas. Unfortunately, I didn't get any shots of their lightheartedness but I did get a few shots of Shoter's intensity while playing (good seats make for good pictures) and I'd be happy to send you (or anyone else) a couple by email if you're interested (also have a great shot of Carter during D&C in Blue). Thanks again.
OK, how the heck did you know the Carter tunes? Either you have a great musical mind, or are well connected, or asked James and he told you -or possibly all three! After some internet noodling, it seems that the Concerto composer is one Mario Lombardo from New Jersey, a pianist and composer of Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra; he does a piano version on Serenata, a Warner Brothers release (that didn't pop up on my AMG search but was on Amazon after some digging). Perhaps Carter met him thru WB since Carter's latest release is thru WB. I assume from the fact that you knew the pieces that you enjoyed the piece as well. In any event, thanks.
Guess I'll have to come clean, Mark. Unfortunately, I wasn't even in attendance over the weekend, much to my chagrin. I was there, however, at the first one!! Actually, many more after that too, but none recently since I'm now 3,000 miles away most of the time.Originally Posted by MCH
My friend who supplied the name of the tune is one of the "producers" of the Festival and when I sent your "review" to her as I knew she'd enjoy reading it, she answered your question without my even asking!
So, there you have it. I also shared your review with lots of other friends who also enjoyed it. Thanks, again.
unfortunately my father, who takes great pride in his prowess on his SLR camera, forgot to bring it along this year. so any good pics that develop as a result me holding my disposable super stop n shop camera as high over my head as possible will be a fluke! any chance you have a shot of ornette in that amazing psychedelic technicolor dream suit (and hat)? i'd love to see it. and a shot of carter in the middle of his 15+ chorus solo with the LJCO would be great to see. if anything good comes out of my 2 disposable cameras i'll be happy to return the favor.
as for the shorter set. i guess i was expecting something a little more cohesive (ala night dreamer or speak no evil) and i know i would have latched on to what they were playing if it hadn't been for the cold weather, the reality of a long drive back to NJ and my father's humorous but yet quite serious objections to ornette's set. he kept muttering "i just don't get it! i just don't get it!" i figured another abstract set might push him over the edge so we bailed early.
btw, the people who only caught the sunday show were still very honored to catch clark terry with the LJCO, but terry also appeared the day before with the john faddis big band. AND not only did he play his trumpet upside down (!) but also entertained the masses with an extended offering of his unique scat style, which culminated with an a cappella nonsense conversation between him and fadis. at the end he added "hey! if i keep talking like this...i might get elected!" obviously some things never change!!
Yes, with Ornette there has to be a message everywhere. His Selmer alto is pure white, and his seersucker summer suit was a modified plaid of every color in the rainbow, hmmmm...
Thanks for the Terry moment, he's truly a character in the old style; on Sunday, after being slowly escorted onto the LCJO stage, he said something to the effect, "I don't know why people talk of old age as the golden years, because the golden years suck!"
And I know how your dad feels, some of my greatest pics are still in my mind because I left the camera home or ran out of film, or was too slow on the trigger, the list goes on of course.
Did you catch Dave Douglas? If so, let me know as unfortunately, I missed him. His latest, "Strange Liberation," is excellent, within The Quartet or The Quintet tradition.
Also, a James Carter moment. At the side of the stage after the LCJO set, Carter was signing some autographs and a young black boy and his dad asked if the boy could have his picture taken with Carter. Without a thought of asking security behind him or for messing up his rather natty attire, Carter said, "Sure, anything to help a little brother!", and then leaned over the fence, grabbed the kid (about 10 years old) under the kid's arms and around his chest with Carter's right arm - with his tenor (a black Keilworth?) in his left hand - lited the kid over the fence and held the kid to his chest while everyone laughed and the dad took the picture. Bobby Watson did lend a hand to keep the kid afloat at one point, however. Carter seems like regular folks. I note that there is a site on the web (I found it doing a Carter search on google) titled "How James Carter Ruined My Life," a humorous account of a tenor player who knew Carter when he was 16, that confirms this thought.
Since I guess you can't send attachments to emails here (if you can, let me know), I've sent you my email address and will reply with the pics as attachments.
OK NJ4M, you started this thread, did you make it to the festival and what did you think?
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