I am back home and back at the computer one day after the 2013 Jazz Bash by the Bay (or Dixieland Monterey for those who like alternatives): it was quite fine on many levels. I didn’t video quite as much as I have done in past years, but this was because I had made a conscious decision to behave with greater rationality . . . rather than seeing how many sets I could cram into the weekend and arriving home with a cold or a cough that would take two weeks to shake off. But there will be videos, I promise.
I heard splendid music from Carl Sonny Leyland in a solo set full of his originals; I encountered Ivory and Gold for the first time, although I have known Jeff and Anne Barnhart — wonderful variety of sounds; their characteristic wit; a great presentation. The Allan Vache – John Cocuzzi – John Sheridan – Paul Keller – Ed Metz group rocked (a highlight was an extended IN A MELLOTONE); the splendid singer Dawn Lambeth appeared with a number of bands and made us feel better and better as she sang; Marc Caparone appeared as a guest star with High Sierra — his teamwork with Bryan Shaw is astonishing; Jim Fryer had a rare and delightful solo set; the Reynolds Brothers with Clint Baker caused seismic shifts of the most rewarding kind. Howard Miyata was crowned Musician of the Year 2013 in a ceremony both goofy and touching, and his nephews Gordon, Justin, and Brandon swung out with the noble help of Katie Cavera and Danny Coots.
And I know other attendees had their own version of an exquisite weekend while listening to all the other bands and soloists on the program.
Did you miss it? Were you being wisely frugal? Did it pass you by? Don’t despair: a 2014 Jazz Bash by the Bay is solidly in the works, with these artists and more — Becky Kilgore, Dan Barrett, Paolo Alderighi, the Reynolds Brothers, Eddie Erickson, Bob Draga, the Au Brothers, High Sierra, Bob Schulz’ Frisco Jazz Band, Danny Coots, Phil Flanigan, Stephanie Trick, Sue Kroninger, Carl Sonny Leyland, High Sierra, Crown Syncopators, and more. (And without being too didactic, I will point out that these enterprises rely on your tangible support — financial / physical — or they evaporate. Look around for the sad evidence.)
It will be held March 7-8-9, 2014. You may call 831.675.0298 or visit here for more information. I will provide updates as I know them.
On to a related subject. You are encountering JAZZ LIVES through a computer, an iPad, a phone or some other electronic gizmo. And probably you think nothing of it. But for other members of the jazz community, this is a terrifying kind of esoterica.
I met several charming ladies of a certain age (one doesn’t ask) at the Bash who told me that they were pining away for want of gallant male swains with whom to dance. In each case, the ladies had been happily married for a long time; their husbands had died. And unattached men seem not only fragile but in short supply. So — if you are a single fellow out there, with or without two-tone shoes, and you can dance, there are willing partners a-plenty at these festivals.
The second part of my thinking goes back to our easy reliance on technology. Since I have had a life-changing experience on Craigslist (of the best sort), I said to each of the damsels, “Do you have a computer?” No. One had a computer but her son used it and she had no idea how to on her own. In each case, it was as if I had asked, “Do you know how to speak Sanskrit?” I was all ready to say, “I know there are music-loving men of your generation who would be happy to dance with you — you could go to STRICTLY PLATONIC or ACTIVITY PARTNERS (whatever it is now called) on Craigslist — and gratifying things would happen.” But no.
So, I propose this as a generous act for a segment of the JAZZ LIVES readership. If you know someone, Auntie or Grandma or the Lady Two Houses Down, and she loves to dance . . . either help her out on your computer OR show her how to operate one. I think this would be an act of deep swinging charity. I know that people say, “Oh, no! I don’t go on the computer! I could get killed! I could get my identity stolen!” These fears have some basis in reality, I admit . . . but going to your grave without a partner is, to me, a sorrowful idea.
May your happiness increase.