Fantastic fall weather for the Boston Jazz festival
I don’t have enough passion for most music to consider it more than a backdrop for a scene in the drama of my life, but jazz may be the exception. I enjoy fully instrumental, extended sessions based on recognizable Broadway show tunes or popular ballads played by a well matched quartet. I saw two performances by saxophonist Branford Marsalis with his quartet at the regatta bar and Sander’s theatre last year that were entrancing. The pieces started with a melody that formed the connection between the players as they diverged into a series of extended solos before being pulled back together by a secret signal from their leader indicating approval or “enough already”.
I have completely different tastes in recorded Jazz that reflect my love of the piano (i.e Dave Breubeck), and short attention span. I grew up listening to Marian McPartlan’s piano Jazz on WNYC (Boston public radio stations have disappointingly limited programming). Marion is marvelous herself, but played a more important role as interviewer introducing me to saxiphonist Lee Konitz , pianist Bill Evans. Although I do own the recordings, more extended abstract work such as Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain can’t recreate the concert feeling when I’m alone in my living room (This may be partly related to the sonic limits of my mini-boom box).
Today’s festival was centered around 3 stages featuring world music, more bluesy style vocal jazz, and a third sponsored by Marsalis Music, the Cambridge-based record label begun by Branford Marsalis. I obviously chose the third option and had the treat of seeing Drummer Jimmy Cobb of Miles Davis fame. He was playing with a young saxiphonist named Javon Jackson and I was entertained.
As happens at outdoor city fairs, things got too crowded, the eating and meeting started to encroach on the music, and I got fidgety sitting on the grass. So I wandered back toward home for tea, a cupcake and a blog entry.