It was wonderful. And completely exhausting. And wonderful. I speak, of course, of the 2018 San Diego Jazz Fest, which (for me) just concluded. You who know me will know that I judge a jazz festival or party or weekend extravaganza by two things: one, the amount of uplifting music I am able to hear, witness, and video-record; two, the number of friends old and new who will stand still for a hug or will approach me without fear of what might happen.
The Fest met both of those criteria splendidly. I will reverse the order and say that I am not about to tabulate the number of people I embraced or was embraced by, but there were many such encounters — some with people I see every year, some with people I haven’t seen for a long time (“Remind me of your name. I know you are very dear, but your name has gone away.) — and some were new friends who are now old friends, if you follow this serpentine line of reasoning. Chief among them might be Bess Wade, Jim and Rebecca Thompson, Carol and Mary (the Ambassadors of Fun), John and Pamela Ochs, Allene Harding, Howard and Susie Miyata, Carol Andersen, Frank Selman, Tom Brannan, Sandra and Russ, solitary-by-choice dancer Lois, and others.
Music. I delighted in the On the Levee Band (Hal Smith’s swinging Kid Ory evocation with Ben Polcer, Charlie Halloran, Joe Goldberg, Kris Tokarski, Alex Belhaj, Joshua Gouzy, and Hal), the Chicago Cellar Boys (Andy Schumm, John Otto, Johnny Donatowicz, Dave Bock, Paul Asaro), my long-time pals the Yerba Buena Stompers (Leon Oakley, John Gill, Duke Heitger, Tom Bartlett, Conal Fowkes, Orange Kellin, Kevin Dorn, Clint Baker), Carl Sonny Leyland, Dawn Lambeth, Marc Caparone, the Original Cornell Syncopators, directed by Colin Hancock; Jeff Hamilton; Katie Cavera, Marty Eggers, Bob Pelland, Michael Gamble’s Rhythm Serenaders with Jonathan Stout, Josh Collazzo, Laura Windley, Virginia Tichenor, Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi, Brian John Casserly, and more.
If the camera and its owner-wrangler worked in harmony, I will have over 150 videos. Some of them will remain buried because the musicians on them did not like what was captured, but I think there will be sizable handfuls for you to savor.
I will go to the 2019 version and I encourage you to do likewise. Eleven months’ plus should give anyone motivated enough time to plan. Meanwhile, thanks to the kind people whose light guided my path: Paul Daspit, Bill and Ed Adams, Gretchen Haugen, and volunteers whose names I never learned but who were solicitous and helpful.
As I wrote above, I feel exhausted. I am coughing (an occupational hazard, I think, of plane travel) and do not expect to be perky for my Tuesday morning class. But, believe me, the San Diego Jazz Fest has once again increased my happiness.
May your happiness increase!