I am still smiling because of the music I heard and the good feelings it engendered at the 2014 Atlanta Jazz Party.
If you were there, you need no convincing; if you weren’t able to attend, here is a soul-stirring example of the great jazz created consistently over the weekend.
This song (as explained by witty leader, drummer Danny Coots) is WHEN I GROW TOO OLD TO DREAM. Danny was in front of a group of serious individualists: Ed Polcer, cornet; Bria Skonberg, trumpet; Dan Barrett, Bob Havens, trombone; Dan Block, tenor saxophone; Allan Vache, clarinet; Rossano Sportiello, piano; John Cocuzzi, vibraphone; Paul Keller, string bass.
Now, that lineup glistens all by itself. But some JAZZ LIVES readers, veterans of jazz parties now and then, might expect what a musician I know calls, sadly, “jazz party jazz”: a session that features everyone taking two choruses after a single-chorus ensemble. Competent playing, always, but long, formulaic solos.
The musicians at the AJP seemed exceedingly happy to be there, and their improvisations were delightfully on target, cheerful, inspiring. Listen for that often-forgotten device, the split chorus, where A plays the first half and B the second, or A plays everything but the bridge, leaving those harmonically fast-moving eight bars to B. Here, you’ll also note the musicians happily creating impromptu duets and conversations: lively and enlightening.
Some of the credit for this goes to our Mister Coots, but much of it comes from the musicians’ ingenuity and pleasure at being onstage at the AJP.
See and hear for yourself:
With deferential apologies to lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, you never grow too old to dream when music like that is being made! What a wonderful time we had!
The 26th Atlanta Jazz Party will take place on April 17-19, 2015. Thanks to Pualani and Philip Carroll for such a great party.
May your happiness increase!