Tag Archives: jazz festival

IT HAPPENS IN MONTEREY (March 7-9, 2014)

These two worthies found love at the Jazz Bash by the Bay:

I am not proposing that everyone who goes to this year’s festival (March 7-9) will come away with the Love of His / Her Life — maybe you are all already spoken for.

But the music will be wonderful. And I write this as someone who’s been there since 2010.

For me, the Jazz Bash by the Bay was a transformative experience.

I had not been to California since having been conceived there . . . . insert your own witticism here. And when I had the notion in March 2010 of going to see and hear the people I so admired in their video appearances, I expected to have a good time in a new jazz setting, perhaps make a few new friends.

It was a life-altering experience: I came back to New York and said to the Beloved, “I’ve never had such a good time in my life. Do you think we could spend the summer in California?”

Fast forward to 2014, where I am writing this from Novato, with serious plans to make the Golden State my retirement home.

So if the Jazz Bash by the Bay can make one couple find love; if it can make a native New Yorker say, “I’ll move to California,” I think its powers are . . . powerful.  But enough personal narratives.  What’s in store for you?

As always, a wide variety of well-played music.

You can visit the site to find out if Your Favorite Band is going to be there, but here are some kinds of music that will be played: blazing stride piano in solo and duo, boogie-woogie, sweet singing in so many forms, rocking small-band swing, New Orleans ensemble polyphony, trad, Dixieland, blues, zydeco, gypsy swing, classic songs from the Great American Songbook, Jazz Age hot dance music, ragtime piano, stomp, swing, music to dance to, San Francisco jazz, washboard rhythm, music to hold hands to.

And the stars?  Well . . . Ray Skjelbred, High Sierra, Carl Sonny Leyland, Bob Draga, Rebecca Kilgore Trio, Dan Barrett, Ivory and Gold, Ellis Island Boys, Marc Caparone, Le Jazz Hot, Jeff Hamilton, Dawn Lambeth, Virginia Tichenor, Marty Eggers, Yve Evans, Katie Cavera, Paul Mehling, Clint Baker, Stephanie Trick, Paolo Alderighi, Frederick Hodges, Jim Buchmann, Eddie Erickson, Jason Wanner, John Cocuzzi, Howard Miyata, Big Mama Sue, Ed Metz, the Au Brothers, Bob Schulz, Pieter Meijers, Brady McKay, Tom Rigney, Royal Society Jazz Orchestra . . . and more, and more.

Important links.

The BAND LINEUP.

The all-important too-Much-Of-A-Good-Thing-Is-Wonderful SCHEDULE, which calls for careful planning (“If I go to see X, then I have to miss part of Y, but it puts me in a good place to be right up front for Z.  Anyone have a Tylenol?”) — with four or five sessions going on at the same time.

And most important — with a Sidney Catlett drum roll or a Vic Berton tympani flourish — the GET TICKETS NOW page.

I try to hold down the didactic tendencies that four decades of standing in front of sleepy (good-natured) young men and women have solidified, but I hope readers will permit me this basic logic exercise.  Festivals where people buy tickets last forever.  Festivals where people don’t vanish.  And then there is a wailing and a gnashing of teeth — very hard on the neighbors and harder on the dental work.  I think of the California festivals that have moved into The Great Memory even in my short acquaintanceship with this state.

(Or, as William Carlos Williams — or was it Philip Larkin? — wrote: “Want it to stay?  Do not delay.”)

So I hope to see throngs of friends and even strangers at the Jazz Bash by the Bay.  Anything that makes live jazz in profusion go on is a good thing.

P.S.  Need more evidence?  Go to YouTube and type in “Dixieland Monterey,” or “Jazz Bash by the Bay,” or the name of your favorite artist.  I, Rae Ann Berry, and Tom Warner, among others, have created many videos — enough to while away the hours in the most energized ways.  Proof!

May your happiness increase!

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THE JAZZ FEAST AT SACRAMENTO (May 2011)

The 2011 Sacramento Jazz Festival and Jubilee has just come out with its detailed schedule . . . and it took me several hours before I could begin this post, because the schedule made my head spin.

In the best way, you understand.

Those of my readers who have never been to a jazz party / festival / jubilee which features simultaneous bands or artists in different venues will not quite empathize, but let me explain.  In some jazz spectaculars, it is simply a matter of coming to the main ballroom or the one stage, sitting down, and hearing music for a long period of time.

Not so at Sacramento, an absolute jazz cornucopia.  The festival begins at 11:45 on Friday, May 27, and rollicks on until late afternoon on Monday, May 30.  And what happens during any given time period is nearly overwhelming.  At 5:30 PM on Monday there are eighteen separate bands playing in eighteen venues.  

“Feast or famine,” my mother used to say.

Here’s the schedule, in case you wish to jump ahead and simply immerse yourself in the mathematically delightful possibilities:

http://www.sacjazz.com/schedule/

The result of such abundance, for me, is a mixture of elation and anxiety.  Elation because, “My goodness, look at all the wonderful things there are arranged here for my delight!”  Anxiety: “What if A and B are playing opposite each other, and I want to see both?  What should I do?  Should I commit to one and miss the other, or should I rudely get up in the middle of A’s set and truck on down to B, hoping there should be a seat?”

We should all have such worries, and I plan on working things out — perhaps with a printed schedule on the flight from New York to California.  And having an absolute surfeit of jazz riches is not the worst fate I will face.

Be sure to check out the schedule: even if you cannot see your way to Sacramento this year, perhaps it will act as an inducement to raid the children’s dental fund or the like . . . ?

JAZZ CORNUCOPIA! (Whitley Bay, July 2010)

Mike Durham, the fine trumpet player, festival organizer, and wit, sent along the following list.  For those who have never been to the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival — and 2010 is THE FINAL ONE — this list will be both enticing and mysterious.  This is the schedule of which bands will be playing at what times during what is sure to be a thrillingly music-packed weekend.  It takes place in a well-appointed hotel, and the “Cotton Club,” the “Sunset Cafe,” “Kelly’s Stables,” and the “One Cent Club” are rooms of varying sizes in the hotel. 

The schedule both exalts and terrifies.  I was saying to my first class the other morning (we are concluding MACBETH) that the universe is limitless, but the first choice, no matter how small, that one makes, renders other choices impossible.  So it is at Whitley Bay: if I want to  hear The Four Pods of Pepper (Spats Langham, Frans Sjostrom, and Norman Field) joined by Rico Tomasso, that makes it impossible, according to Newtonian physics, for me to be at “Kings of Stride” at the same time.  Of course, I could hear the first set of the Pods and then scamper in for some Stride after the break.  One must have a plan!  Or I could do what I did last time: stay where my heart led me and then wander . . .

I’ll have my video camera, of course, and Elin Smith will have hers, but it isn’t the same thing as being there.  Consider yourself encouraged to join in the fun, even if you don’t have a camera. 

Find out more at http://www.whitleybayjazzfest.org/

 
WHITLEY BAY JAZZ FESTIVAL 2010 – DAY BY DAY, ROOM BY ROOM, HOUR BY HOUR (OR JUST ABOUT!)
 
FRIDAY
 
                             Noon-3.00                                                           3.00-6.00                                              7.00-9.00                                          9.00-Midnight
 
Cotton Club         Hot Antic Jazz Band                                   Blue Devils                                    New Century Ragtime Orch           Les Rois du Foxtrot

Sunset Café         La Retaguardia J B                                      N ew Orleans Rascals                      Bohem Ragtime J B                     Red Hot Peppers

Kelly’s Stables     Late Hour Boys                                          Schumm’s Bixologists                     Hot Antics                                   Bent Persson’s N Y Orch

One Cent             Jeff & Anne Barnhart                                West Jesmond R Kings           Kings of Stride                              Four Pods + Rico Tomasso
 
 
SATURDAY
 
                            Noon-3.00                                                           3.00-6.00                                              7.00-9.00                                              9.00-Midnight
 
Cotton Club        Blue Devils                                                    Les Rois du Foxtrot                          New Orleans Rascals                              La Retaguardia
Sunset Café        Bohem Ragtime J B                             Flaming Reeds                                  Red Hot Peppers                                   Winteler’s Serenaders
Kelly’s Stables   Schumm’s Bixologists                       Hot Antics                                           Spats & Rhythm Boys                               Cecile Salvant 
One Cent           K Stephen’s Hot Club Trio                 Litton & Nichols – Ragtime          Late Hour Boys + Rico Tomasso           Doc Bastide’s Owls
 
 
SUNDAY
 
                              Noon-3.00                                                           3.00-6.00                                      7.00-9.00                                           9.00-Midnight
 
Cotton Club        Chalumeau Serenaders                                 Bohem Ragtime J B                         Les Rois du Foxtrot                              Hot Antics (Grand Finale)
Sunset Café        Winteler’s Jazz Serenaders                          New Orleans Rascals                   La Retaguardia                            Schumm’s Bixologists
Kelly’s Stables   Late Hr Boys/Cecile Salvant (Billie H)        Field’s Novelty Orch                  M Seuffert Sextet             Winteler’s Jazz Serenaders
One Cent            Jeff & Anne Barnhart/Boogie Piano         Banjorama/Fidgety Fingers         Hot Jazz Trio

EIGHT DOLLARS BUYS A JAZZ WEEKEND!

Eight dollars might buy you a restaurant lunch but it won’t cover a ticket to the movies.  It doesn’t go very far in the world of jazz, although it would be enough for a used CD or some downloaded songs. 

But here’s a bargain!  

This coming weekend, March 26-28, the clever folks who run the Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival in Kecsemet, Hungary, will be broadcasting the proceedings online as they occur for the eight dollar fee mentioned above.  And the eight dollars that would buy you a hamburger and drink will also allow you to view the concerts as you like from April 1 – May 31, with unlimited visits to the site (www.bohemragtime.com.)  

The players include the Washboard Wizardz (USA), Nicolas Montier (France) – ts, Thilo Wagner (Germany) – p, Jennifer Leitham (USA) – sb, Vince Bartels (USA) – dr, Bohém Ragtime Jazz Band (Hungary), PapaJazz (Hungary) Swing Manouche Project (Hungary), Balázs Dániel (Hungary) Iván Nagy (Hungary) Penge Benge Jazz Band (Hungary). 

I know that people are used to viewing video music clips online for free, and I’ve contributed to that phenomenon.  But your eight dollars will also support the continuation of the Bohem Festival in years to come — surely a worthy endeavor. 

Here’s a clip from the 2009 Festival — an all-star group playing SOMEDAY SWEETHEART — proof of the musical and cinematic quality you can expect:

(The players were Herbert Christ, trumpet; Matthias Seuffert, clarinet; Tamás Ittzés, violin, vocal;  Morten Gunnar Larsen, piano; Ad van Beerendonk, bass; Nick Ward, drums.)

FELONIOUS JUNK!

Thanks to scrubs123.com

Jazz scholar and friend David Schacker provided this news story.  All I thought was, “Where does this man’s doctor practice?  I want to be part of that medical group.  Perhaps (s)he can write me a prescription to ward off what I hear booming from the SUV in the next lane.”

Officer, That’s Not Jazz, I Say, It’s Felonious Junk!

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: December 12, 2009

Is contemporary music grounds for arrest? An angry purist attending the Sigüenza Jazz Festival in Spain called the police last week to protest the appearance of the Larry Ochs Sax and Drumming Core, The Guardian of London reported. His doctor had told him that listening to anything but jazz was “psychologically inadvisable.” The Civil Guard showed up, armed, and passed the complaint along to a judge. The festival director, Ricardo Checa, told the newspaper El País that the jazz purist didn’t get a refund. “The question of what constitutes jazz and what does not is obviously a subjective one,” Mr. Checa said, “but not everything is New Orleans funeral music.”

I don’t ordinarily take an energetically exclusionary approach to art — people who say that THIS is our kind of music and THIS isn’t might be depriving themselves of delights — but in this case I wouldn’t mind accepting applications for members of my New York chapter of Angry Jazz Purists.  This being New York, though, perhaps our group would be Fast-Talking Sarcastic Jazz Purists With An Ironic Edge.  Anyone want to design our logo?

Thank you, David!

WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS JULY 9-12?

 I’ve read about this festival . . . but always after it’s ended.  I want to go to Whitley Bay!  (That’s a sentence I haven’t said before, but when the words came out of my mouth yesterday, they felt like the truth.)  Details below!  More details at www.whitleybayjazzfest.org.

 

 

 

 WHITLEY BAY INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL 2009
Friday 10th – Sunday 12th JulyThe nineteenth annual Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival will feature as always the very best in classic jazz, from Ragtime to Swing. This year we feature no less than twenty-nine hot bands made up of more than 140 musicians from nine different countries – see list on right. And we are again at our new and very welcoming venue, the Village Hotel & Leisure Centre, Cobalt Park – see Booking Details page.

If you’ve been before, you’ll know what to expect. If not, here are some of the nice (unsolicited!) things people have said about the Festival:

“As we Yanks say, it was a smasheroo! – the new venue worked out fine, despite packed rooms. I’m so glad I made the trip; the best jazz festival in Great Britain!” – Kathy Lewis, Chicago

“I think sincerely it’s the best festival in Europe for organisation, standard of musicians and general atmosphere (spontaneous jam sessions)” – Henry Lemaire, MaMa & the Kids, Switzerland

“Four days of pure inspiration, and I wouldn’t have missed one second of it – congratulations, a triumph!” – Frank van Nus, bandleader & arranger, Twente, Holland

“The UK’s pre-eminent classic jazz festival” – Jazz Review Magazine, Edinburgh, Scotland

“Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival – the classic jazz fan’s Mecca!” – Trygve Hernæs, producer, Herman Records, Norway

“Thanks for the Festival, it knocks every other one into a cocked hat – sheer unadulterated quality!” – David Kimmins, a happy punter!

“As usual, I have only one complaint – there were too many good bands, so I couldn’t listen to them all: if I could only attend one jazz festival a year, Whitley Bay would be it” – Norrie Thompson, Edinburgh

“As a musician, I spent three marvellous days because your festival is the BEST in Europe: it’s a huge pleasure to perform there, and it takes me a week or two to come down off my little cloud!” – Stéphane Gillot, Red Hot Reedwarmers, France

“A vintage year for an exceptional jazz festival – certainly the best in the world for the music we love: bravo!” – Michel Bastide, Hot Antic Jazz Band, France

“I don’t know how you do it, but it gets better every year! We’ll be there again next year, as will the four friends we brought along this time” – Laurie Wright, discographer and jazz author, Storyville Magazine

“Probably the best Festival of its kind in the world – if I could only go to one, this would be it” – Bob Erdos, owner, Stomp Off Records, USA

“The best classic jazz festival in the world, and I have played at most of them” – Bent Persson (trumpet), Stockholm, Sweden

“This is the best jazz festival I’ve attended since the New Orleans and Ascona festivals of the 1980’s – and they take some beating” – Mike Hazeldine, New Orleans Music

“Whitley Bay is an exceptionally fine event – despite increasing airline costs and declining dollars, we intend to return next year” – Andy & Kathy Wittenborn, The Mississippi Rag, USA

 

 

 

Complete Band list:

  • The Charleston Chasers (UK’s premier 1920’s hot dance outfit)
  • Chicago Stompers (Italy – hot young ten-piece orchestra )
  • Swiss Yerba Buena Jazzband (Switzerland, with Jean-François Bonnel and René Hagmann)
  • Ten Doctors of Syncopation (Sweden – Henderson and more)
  • Hot Five Jazzmakers (canada – joyous sounds of New Orleans)
  • Matthias Seuffert’s South Side Special (Germany/UK Dodds tribute)
  • Bent Persson & his Orchestra (international, 1930’s Armstrong)
  • les Red Hot Reedwarmers (France – back to the Apex Club!)
  • Michael McQuaid’s Late-hour Boys (Australia and the world!)
  • The Hot Jazz Trio (Sweden’s masters of the real classic stuff)
  • Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra (Scotland’s finest)
  • Spats Langham & his Rhythm Boys (“with vocal refrain”)
  • New Century Ragtime Orchestra (Tyneside – ragtime to hot dance)
  • Wheatley’s Arcadians (string-band music extraordinaire)
  • The Three Tenors (saxes, that is – France/Germany/UK)
  • Four on the Frets (the finest in jazz guitar)
  • Debbie Arthurs’ Sweet Rhythm (sweet & hot, actually!)
  • Keith Stephen’s Hot Club Trio with Caroline Irwin
  • The 1955 band (saluting Chris Barber & Ken Colyer) The
  • Three Pods of Pepper (hot, hot, hot!) Clarinet Crescendo (international reed extravaganza)
  • Norman Field’s Happy Harmonists (Brum & points west)
  • Sjöström’s Tap Room Gang (Adrian Rollini rules, ok?)
  • Paul Munnery’s Kansas City Jazz (from Moten to modern)
  • Swing City Trio with Steve Andrews (Cumbria)
  • River City Jazzmen (the band which discovered Sting!)
  • Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazzband (Gatesheed)
  • West Jesmond Rhythm Kings (West Jesmond, where else?)
  • International Banjorama! (international)

SPECIAL EXTRA EVENT FOR 2009!

THE SAGE GATESHEAD presents
“YOUNG LOUIS”
in association with Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival

The first five years of Louis Armstrong’s brilliant recording career
recreated by Bent Persson and a hand-picked band of International stars

Hall Two, Thursday 9th July at 8.00pm: see separate page for details

 “I’d like to say how much I enjoyed Whitley Bay this year. There was some amazing music to listen to and some lovely things to play. Congratulations!” – James Evans, sax and clarinet

“Possibly the biggest and most prestigious celebration of classic jazz anywhere in Europe” – Paul Bream, Jazz Alert

“Nice bands, nice people, perfect organisation – one of the best experiences of our musical life” – Jean Amy, leader, Steamboat Band, France

“A jazz festival for connoisseurs” – Chris Yates, Jazz North East

AL COHN LIVES ON

The critical eye will find many flaws in the video clip below.  It takes place at a jazz festival (not in itself a bad thing) and the cast of characters is stellar: Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Tate, Harry Edison, Woody Herman, Urbie Green, Jake Hanna , and Al Cohn.  But the end result is not all it might be: several musicians seem bored, detached.  Tate, during his better-than-average late-period solo, even glances around him for a second to mutely ask, “Aren’t any of you jazz all-stars going to play a riff or a background behind me?  Do I have to do all of this myself?”  Herman, pursued to his death by the IRS, looks exhausted and frail.  The composition, IN A MELLOTONE, Ellington’s line on the 1917 ballad ROSE ROOM, is mis-identified by the translator / subtitler: it’s not BERNIE’S TUNE.

But then there’s Al Cohn, who makes up for it all when he enters, around seven minutes into the performance.  In the Forties, Cohn was identified not only as a Woody Herman’s alumnus, but as one of the Caucasian Lestorians — tenor players who memorized all of Lester’s performances and offered them forth in their own way.  Many of them apparently emulated Lester’s delicacy.  Here, Al’s playing has energy and sinew.  He’s onstage to say something important.  He doesn’t shout.  But his solo has an easy majestic urgency all its own , even though one thinks of Ben, Bird, Herschel, preaching about mellow tones.  All of this takes place in ninety seconds.  And when the group of somewhat jaded jazz titans hears what Al has to say, they wake up and launch a suitable riff.

That’s one aspect of Al Cohn — inspiring by his fervent example.

But even posthumously, Al is an inspiration.

That’s not an empty phrase, and it’s not limited to tenor saxophone players or to listeners with good music libraries (I am thinking of the Xanadu recording HEAVY LOVE, an imperishable duet of Al and Jimmy Rowles.)  Next to me as I write this post is the Fall 2008 issue of THE NOTE, the journal of the Al Cohn Memorial Collection at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.  (The collection’s website is www.esu.edu/alcohncollection, and their email address is alcohncollection@esu.edu.)

Their mission isn’t purely archival: they want to “stimulate, enrich, and support research, teaching, learning, and appreciation of all forms of jazz.”  One of the ways they have done this — for twenty years now — is by making the collection’s resources available “and useful to students, researchers, educators, musicians, historians, journalists and jazz enthusiasts of all kinds.”  Commendably, they preserve what they have already collected “for future generations.”  The collection includes records, books, photographs, oral histories, sheet music, art,memorabilia, and ephemera.  Although their definition of jazz is broad and inclusive, the collection focuses on Al Cohn and his many friends, chief among them Zoot Sims.  Other collections draw on the life and music of bassist Eddie Safranski, the rare acquisitions of the jazz scholar Coover Gazdar, and research materials about the history of jazz in the Pocono Mountains.

(As an aside, I sent the collection — some years back — a copy of a private tape where the noble participants were Al, Zoot, and Bucky Pizzarelli.  I have some candid jazz photographs that I’ve been saving for them, too.)

I started this second half by mentioning THE NOTE.  It’s no sentimental valentine to days-gone-by, nor is it a dry academic wafer.  Professionally done, it’s a pleasure to read.  The front cover of the current issue is a beautiful color photograph of David Leibman; the back cover a 1985 shot of Hank Jones by the always-surprising jazz photographer Herb Snitzer.  In this middle, rather like a jazz fan’s chaste version of a Playboy centerfold, is a two=page candid shot of Al and Jimmy Rowles in concert in Kansas City.  In the middle — a long hilarious screed of a column by Phil Woods, who writes as vigorously as he plays.  There are also brief comments from Bob Bush, the collection’s co-ordinator, “Thinking of Al” by Doug Ramsey, and an interview with Manny Albam done by Flo Cohn, Al’s wife, memories of jazz in Disney’s “Magic Village” by Jack SImpson, photos, letters, and hilarious anecdotes.

I can hear my readers murmuring, “How can I get a copy of THE NOTE for myself?”  Well, the journal is available free to those who ask to be placed on the mailing list.  But enterprises of this sort require some support — so a little contribution (if you don’t have a large one at hand) would be appreciated.  Email or send your best wishes and checks to

ACMJC – Kemp Library

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

200 Prospect Street

East Stroudsburg, PA 18301-2999

And if your basement is crammed with rare tapes, acetates, photos, or charts, call Bob Bush at 570-422-3828.