When I used to teach college, I would sometimes harangue my students about the money they spent, and ask them to consider before their next purchase, how many hours of work this item cost them, but more importantly, how much lasting happiness it would bring. I made a conscious decision to invest in jazz. Good music, improvised on the spot, pays immense emotional dividends that (let us say) new kitchen counters or other indulgences would not.
There’s also the Carpe Diem factor. I hear so many fellow enthusiasts saying, “Wow. I’ll certainly have to go there next year,” and then the “there” evaporates like a drop of water in a hot iron skillet because the jazz party costs too much to run year after year. So a listener’s willingness to invest in jazz, to tear themselves away from the computer means that the festival goes on or the club stays open.
Carpe Diem is also personal — if you’re twenty-seven, please skip this passage. This music has been one of the centers of my life for more than fifty years now, and since I know I don’t have another fifty, I am determined to experience as much of it as possible, while it’s here, while I have some income, and while my body cooperates.
Thus it delights me to invite you along to what is obviously a Humdinger and a Lollapalooza of a music festival:
and a listing of bands that, for me, induces a sweet vertigo:
JAZZ LIVES readers will see that a whole host of my West Coast secular deities are here, and this listing doesn’t include all the sidemen and women. I encourage you all to do several things. The first, and it’s not idle, is to create a mental space that includes a visit to this festival on May 9-12. You have to envision something before it becomes a possibility, then a reality. How you deal with the tangible obligations is your choice and it would be impudent for me to suggest borrowing from Hendrik and Melisandre’s college funds, but you can think of something.
It’s too soon for a complete schedule of performances to be posted, but I know that it will be. I have heard — among other delights — words about a Charlie Christian tribute, a Walter Donaldson performance, an evocation of the Louis Armstrong All-Stars . . . . Those aren’t the usual festival fare, and I cherish them. Dance competitions, also. Let that sink in.
And for those who realize there is life away from the stage, the RCMF takes place in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world — the Humboldt County redwood forest: details here.
But you’d like to hear some music, correct? For once, I won’t easily gratify that desire for free through the computer. Heaven knows there’s enough to be had. For a change, consider leaving your chair, shutting your phone off in favor of a jaunt into the redwoods. And an amazing cornucopia of musical experiences.
May your happiness increase!