Forgive me for pulling at your coat or plucking at your sleeve, but a gentle reminder is in order. If you haven’t bought your tickets for the 2012 Atlanta Jazz Party, the twenty-third, which takes place April 20-22, 2012, what in the name of W.C. Handy might you be waiting for?
I don’t want to be excessively grim, but my Latin friends CARPE DIEM and TEMPUS FUGIT make their presence known as I write this. And at my back I always hear Time’s swinging chariot drawing near . . . which is to say (more plainly) that parties and festivals don’t always return year after year, nor do the participants. There! Now that the ominous murmurings are over, we can return to our regularly scheduled program of lifting the spirit.
Many jazz parties (I say this quietly) tend to rely on the same circle of artists — not necessarily a terrible thing: why choose novelty for its own sake? But the AJP has some special added attractions. One of them is singer / pianist Freddy Cole. Some know Freddy only as Nat’s younger brother — this is accurate but quite limiting. Freddy is a fine sinuous singer and swinging pianist — both facets evident in this romantic 2008 reading of FLY ME TO THE MOON. The applause at the end is well-deserved, and since some parties and festivals specialize in Fast and Loud, a swinging crooner is always welcome. And just in case you were wondering, he isn’t his Brother:
Here’s the eternally vigorous Bucky Pizzarelli — at 85! — in March 2011, with guitarist Ed Laub, paying tribute to Les Paul:
Even at this easy tempo, Bucky’s essential swing is as natural to him as breathing. Will you be swinging this expertly at 85 . . . ?
Sometimes virtue is rewarded while it’s still around to hear the cheers: at the 2012 AJP, cornetist / bandleader Ed Polcer will be given a richly-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. I don’t know if you first heard Ed as a swinging Princetonian, at a long string of Atlanta Jazz Parties, at Eddie Condon’s (which is where I first heard him, in 1975, standing next to Ruby Braff and Vic Dickenson) and other parties and clubs all around the world. Like Bucky, Ed always swings. Here he is only a year ago, amidst West Coast friends, playing MOTEN SWING:
And there’s something new and exciting — Joe Gransden and his sixteen-piece big band. Dance music of the highest order! Here they are in 2011, sweetly moving through NIGHT AND DAY:
All of this will take place on the weekend of April 20-22, 2012, starting Friday evening and continuing until Sunday afternoon.
But wait! There’s more!
How about a brass section to impress Gabriel: Jon-Erik Kellso, Duke Heitger, Ed Polcer, Bob Schulz, Joe Gransden, John Allred, Russ Phillips?
Reeds by Allan Vache, Harry Allen; John Cocuzzi, Freddy Cole, Mark Shane, Rossano Sportiello, piano; Ed Metz, Chuck Redd, percussion; Matt Munisteri, Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar; Richard Simon, Frank Tate, bass; John Cocuzzi, Becky Kilgore, Freddy Cole, Francine Reed, Bob Schulz, vocals.
I can already imagine the bands I would like to hear, and one of the nice things about the AJP is that everyone gets a chance to lead sets. I know who my favorites are and expect to be exhausted by pleasure on Sunday night.
The 23rd AJP will take place at the Westin Atlanta North — clean and friendly — and there will be a cornucopia of hot jazz, tender ballads, and good feeling. I know from experience. I guarantee it!
You can purchase tickets here — either online or fill out the form and mail it in.
I believe that the best seats go to those who sign up early . . . so don’t wait for the middle of April to make up your mind. Here’s a 2011 video with highlights — exuberant ones! — from the AJP: