Because I’ll be on my way to the 2016 Evergreen Jazz Festival tomorrow, my thoughts turned back to those few days in July 2014 where — amidst rainbows and rain, nocturnal elk, Vietnamese food with dear friends and heroes — I heard some of the finest music of my life.
The music was created by Professor James Dapogny (piano, arrangements, research, and even a sly vocal or two) and his Chicago Jazz Band: Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Kim Cusack, Russ Whitman, reeds; Christopher Smith, trombone, Rod McDonald, guitar; Dean Ross, string bass; Pete Siers, drums. No gimmickry, just deep music.
One of the most memorable performances of that weekend was the Ellington – Rex Stewart MOBILE BAY, deep and slow. Here’s a map for those who need to orient themselves:
I think of this four-minute interlude as the very definition of poignant: something that gives the sensitive person a sharp pang. But the pain of regret, of loss, the feeling of sadness, is counterbalanced by awe: “How beautiful is that embodiment of sadness,” so that we have to entertain both sensations at once.
At the 2014 Evergreen Jazz Festival, I recorded and shared the better part of seven sets by this band. I apologize if what I am about to write seems greedy, but I want to hear them again. Shall we talk of the financing necessary to have the official JAMES DAPOGNY CHICAGO JAZZ BAND FESTIVAL? No other groups need apply.
Until then . . . .
May your happiness increase!