Over the last dozen years, I have been to a variety of jazz parties and festivals, all of them deeply rewarding in singular ways. But I have the longest ties to the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party. Once it was Jazz at Chautauqua, then the Allegheny Jazz Party . . . but even when the name changes and the CCJP finds a new hotel to nest in, its spirited heart remains the same — very reassuring. I also have a long history of writing about it: the very first post I did (2008) on this blog was called GOIN’ TO CHAUTAUQUA, and I’ve been posting videos from it for perhaps seven years now also. Here is the post I wrote about the Party in June of this year: it has glorious music from Hal Smith, Frank Tate, and Rossano Sportiello at its center, too.
For those who shrink from Facebook as from Hades, the CCJP’s site is here.
Details? On cornet / trumpet, Duke Heitger, Randy Reinhart, Andy Schumm; on trombone, Dan Barrett; on reeds, Dan Block, Ken Peplowski, Scott Robinson; on guitar / banjo, Howard Alden, Andy Brown; on piano, Ehud Asherie, James Dapogny, John Di Martino, Rossano Sportiello; on string bass, Joel Forbes, Nicki Parrott, Frank Tate; on drums, Ricky Malichi, Pete Siers, Hal Smith; on vocal, Petra van Nuis; gypsy swing quartet, the Faux Frenchmen; historian (giving a presentation on Ella’s centennial) Phil Atteberry.
On Thursday night, there’s an informal session (for donors and weekend patrons only) that begins at 7:30. Friday begins with Phil Atteberry’s presentation on Ella (10:30-11:30) and then there are piano solos from 2-4 and an evening set from 5:30-11 and an hour’s set — anything goes — in the “Jazz Club.” Saturday, music from 10-2 and again from 5:30-11 and 11-12. Sunday, 9-1:30. That is a banquet of music and good feeling, and because all the events are in the same hotel, there is no scuttling between one site and another. Nancy Hancock Griffith and Kathy Hancock are kind and attentive to detail, so things work. I booked the hotel some months back, and a plane trip more recently.
There’s nothing like being on the scene, digging the sounds, among like-minded and likeable people. Now, some video evidence.
As musicians used to say, “Don’t sleep on this one.” As I say, “It’s only six weeks away, and the CCJP has been known to sell out — not in an aesthetic way, mind you. See you there!
And — to get darker, but only for two bars. Money and health and plans get in the way of people attending parties and festivals and gigs, and no one could take those facts lightly. But I meet so many people who say, nicely, “Oh, I’d love to go there. Maybe in a couple of years!” and when the couple of years have passed, the “there” is no longer there. If you can, bestir yourself. Events — as large as the CCHP or as compact as the guitar trio at the local restaurant on Friday — vanish without your support. And doing is always better than wishing you had done. What’s gone is gone.
May your happiness increase!