The sheer numbers are impressive: over 450 sets of music planned in 24 venues with over 70 bands. And the Sacramento Jazz organizers are not narrow in their tastes: in addition to traditional jazz, there’s blues, zydeco, and other forms of danceable music.
But for me the desire to go somewhere I’ve never been before is fueled by the jazz-lover’s carpe diem. Inside me the sentence forms, more urgent than other impulses: “I have to go _____ because I could die never having heard _____ in person.” The thought of my death or of someone else’s may seem morbid (especially over the Memorial Day weekend) but it is a profoundly deep motivator.
Awareness that the days dwindle down to a precious few got me on an airplane to hear and meet Bent Persson, Frans Sjostrom, Matthias Seuffert, Nick Ward, and two dozen others at Whitley Bay.
At Monterey, I met the Reynolds Brothers, Bryan Shaw, Sue Kroninger, Clint Baker, Carl Sonny Leyland, Danny Coots, Rae Ann Berry . . . as well as surprising the musicians I already knew (Dan Barrett, Joel Forbes, Becky Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Jeff Barnhart, Marc Caparone, and Dawn Lambeth) by my presence.
At Sacramento, I will re-encounter some associates from New York end elsewhere: Jon-Erik Kellso, John Allred, Bill Allred, Jim Fryer, Bria Skonberg, Dan Block, John Sheridan, and Kevin Dorn . . . but I’ll also finally — meet up with Hal Smith and the International Sextet. Here’s a taste of what Anita Thomas, Kim Cusack, Clint Baker, Katie Cavera, Carl Sonny Leyland, and Hal do with THERE’LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE:
Then, there will be clarinetist Bob Draga, cornetists Ed Polcer and Bob Schulz, pianists Johnny Varro and David Boeddinghaus, and the wonderful singer Banu Gibson (here’s a little taste of Banu with Jon-Erik, trombonist David Sager, reedman Dan Levinson, Kevin Dorn and others):
And because not everyone who lives with or loves a jazz fancier shares his / her obsession, there’s a Bloody Mary Festival, zydeco bands including Tom Rigney and Flambeau, blues, soul, rhythm ‘n’ blues, Johnny Cash and Steely Dan tribute bands, Latin bands, “Afrobeat,” marching bands and more — how can you lose, to quote Benny Carter?
I’ll be there — Rae Ann and I will be operating video cameras and wearing PRESS badges, so we’ll be hard to miss. And here’s more information about the all-event price, hotel rates, and the festivities. Something happening all through the weekend!