When I was a child, Autumn came a few weeks after the mingled delights and worries of Back to School. Later, Autumn meant no more barbecues for another year and the start of leaf-raking, gutter-cleaning and other suburban joys. But since September 2004, I have a different set of associations — all exceedingly pleasant.
To be accurate, Autumn (or Fall) 2012 begins — in the Northern Hemisphere — on September 22, at 10:49 Eastern Daylight Time. I looked it up.
The Beloved and I will be celebrating the change of seasons as we have done for the past years at Jazz at Chautauqua, the fifteenth such exaltation.
Chautauqua takes place at the glorious Athenaeum Hotel (built in 1881 and architecturally fascinating) from Thursday, September 20, to Sunday, September 23. On Thursday, there’s a delightful series of informal jam sets; Friday afternoon features piano and guitar solos and duets in the parlor, and on Friday evening a cornucopia of wonderful sounds begins and doesn’t stop until Sunday afternoon. I’ve been filming live performances there for a few years, so you have only to head over to my YouTube channel, “swingyoucats,” and search for “Chautauqua” to have strong evidence of what fun awaits.
Here’s that great Romantic, John Sheridan, playing MY FOOLISH HEART:
This year, the personnel is quite wonderful (although that is frankly no surprise):
Cornet / trumpet: Duke Heitger, Jon-Erik Kellso, Randy Reinhart, Andy Schumm; reeds: Harry Allen, Dan Block, Bob Reitmeier, Scott Robinson, Alex Hoffman; trombone: Dan Barrett, Bob Havens; guitar/banjo: Howard Alden, Marty Grosz; piano: Mike Greensill, Keith Ingham, John Sheridan, Rossano Sportiello; bass: Jon Burr, Kerry Lewis, Frank Tate; drums: Ricky Malichi, Pete Siers, John Von Ohlen; vocals: Marty Grosz, Rebecca Kilgore, Wesla Whitfield. Bands: Alden-Barrett Quintet; Faux Frenchmen (Don Aren, bass; George Cunningham, guitar; Brian Lovely, guitar; Joe Lukasik, clarinet; Paul Patterson, violin); Photographic exhibit by Duncan P. Schiedt.
Here’s Duke Heitger and friends taking us into the jungle for a hot TIGER RAG:
All these men and women have been personally approved of by JAZZ LIVES and they have received this blogsite’s Seal of Approval.
Jazz at Chautauqua is one of those weekend parties where life is comfortable: guests staying at the hotel have only to come down a flight of stairs (or take the antique elevator) to find their wishes gratified: jazz, copious amounts of food and drink, smiling staff, a basket of apples on the front desk, beautiful views of Lake Chautauqua). For details of pricing, reservations, and the like, all will be revealed here.
But wait! There’s more!
For those of you who want to learn from the Masters — a most amiable crew of people whom we admire — before Jazz at Chautauqua begins, there will be the first-ever, turbo-charged, fully synchronous Traditional Jazz Workshop. You will be able to study with Professors Kilgore, Lewis, Sportiello, Malichi, Heitger, Barrett, Robinson, Alden. Dan Barrett is the Music Director and I am told that it is all Pass / Fail but no one ever Fails. The details are on the same page; the Workshop runs from September 16 to the 20th, and students can stay at the hotel. If my embouchure can be made to improve by early September, I may ask my colleagues to cover my classes, pack my valve oil and my cornet and become a student again. I know there’s so much to learn!
I can hear some of you saying, “Michael, aren’t you rushing our summers away? It isn’t even Bastille Day and here you are talking us into September.” True, true. But summer’s lease hath too short a date. And — if not now, when?
I look forward to seeing some of my JAZZ LIVES friends there. Heaven knows the bandstand will be full of them.
May your happiness increase.