I am writing this in high summer 2013. Pardon me if it seems ungrateful to say that I don’t usually look forward to September. Summer is over; I will need to make friends once again with my alarm clock.
But September means that Jazz at Chautauqua will be, once again, a great pleasure. For me, it’s getting to hear my heroes play and sing in the most comfortable surroundings, with the guarantee that great things will happen. That it takes place in the comfortable Athenaeum Hotel, with good food and drink, where one is surrounded by cottages, hydrangeas, and substantial views of a huge blue lake. Some jazz parties present uplifting music but once one ventures outside the ballrom, all is a manufactured cement void. Not at Chautauqua.
I’ve been going to Jazz at Chautauqua every year since 2004, and that weekend is a musical high point of the year.
You can find out all you need to know here.
Here’s some evidence — videos I shot last year. If you search “Jazz at Chautauqua” in my YouTube channel, swingyoucats, you’ll find dozens more.
WAITIN’ FOR KATY, with Andy Schumm, cornet; Marty Grosz, guitar; Bob Havens, trombone; Alex Hoffman, tenor saxophone; John Sheridan, piano; Kerry Lewis, string bass; Pete Siers, drums:
Something pretty: WHAT WILL I TELL MY HEART? — a duet for Scott Robinson, taragoto, and Rossano Sportiello, piano:
Swinging and whimsical: Bob Reitmeier, clarinet, and Keith Ingham, piano, UMBRELLA MAN:
MOONGLOW, featuring Jon Burr, string bass; Howard Alden, guitar; Paul Patterson, violin:
Bill Evans’ FUNKALERRO, by Howard, Scott Robinson, Frank Tate, string bass; Ricky Malichi, drums:
In keeping with the cosmological theme, Becky Kilgore, vocal; Dan Barrett, trombone; Rossano, Frank, and Ricky perform I SAW STARS:
The Faux Frenchmen swing out on a theme from RHAPSODY IN BLUE:
Howard Alden’s Brazilian summit, with Duke Heitger, trumpet; Jon Burr, and Pete Siers rhapsodizing on DOCE DE COCO:
Jon-Erik Kellso, Rossano Sportiello, Alex Hoffman, and Kerry Lewis explore TOPSY:
Pianist Mike Greensill, Harry Allen, tenor; Randy Reinhart, cornet, suggest: WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS:
Duke Heitger, Dan Block, Rossano Sportiello, Marty Grosz, Kerry Lewis, and Pete Siers offer WHEN DAY IS DONE and PENTHOUSE SERENADE:
That’s only a small sample of what happens at Jazz at Chautauqua.
This year, the players and singers will be Howard Alden, Harry Allen, Dan Barrett, Dan Block, Jon Burr, James Dapogny, the Faux Frenchmen, Mike Greensill, Marty Grosz, Bob Havens, Duke Heitger, Keith Ingham, Jon-Erik Kellso, Becky Kilgore, Dan Levinson, Kerry Lewis, Ricky Malichi, Randy Reinhart, Scott Robinson, Andy Schumm, John Sheridan, Pete Siers, Rossano Sportiello, Andy Stein, Frank Tate, John Von Ohlen, Wesla Whitfield.
Hope to see you there — September 19 to 22!
May your happiness increase!