Aftermath, Detroit Jazz Festival 2013

20130905-123112.jpg

When’s i got my so called VIP wristbands in the mail, I noticed that I did not get one for the Friday evening reception. In a way, I didn’t care. If learned that I did not order early enough. The Friday reception is catered appetizers. During the reception, I have been asked who I am. There is then a three hour performance. This year it was Danilo Pérez followed by Dave Murray featuring Macy Gray. Although the appetizers have always been ok, the performance part has not been good. People are crowded on folding chairs. This audience includes the large donators and the corporate sponsors. Over the several years I have gone, it has been my experience that a lot of people in that crowd chat a lot during the performance.

This year, at first, at the Chase stage there were three tiers of reserved seats. The first tier was for the sponsors and larger contributors. The second was for wheelchair access and then the VIP tickets. There were only six people in the first tier which would have held 50. Some talked through the performance. Others were relatives of the performers. There were four in the second tier and not a wheelchair in sight. The rest of us were in the last tier. Can you imagine what it is like for a performer looking out on empty chairs.

This year I had to wait in line to get my parking validated. There were two lines. One was for the larger contributors and the other for the rest of us. Line one had one person working and usually finished with each person in about a minute. My line had three people taking care of one person in line and took about three minutes for each person.

This year as in other years, some people save seats for their friends. This year as in the past, a great many seats were saved for people who never came.

Still, I do get to sit in seats which are closer than standing in the back. And there are things that probably mean I will do it again next year.

There is the access to cold bottled water for the entire festival. And, they have a buffet each day with a different menu each day. Most of the food available from the booths are the kind of food that tastes good going down but usually causes me to have some upset due to the high fat content. At the buffet, I was able to get a filling well balanced meal that just made me feel good.

This time I put my dog in the kennel. She has not quite forgiving me yet. At the kennel, she is in either the small dog play grip all day or the geriatric group. She does not eat well there and ate a lot on her first day home. She was groomed on the way out and is now back home.

20130905-133926.jpg

Sunday Afternoon at the Detroit Jazz Festival 2013

20130903-173159.jpg

Carhartt Amphitheater, Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI

I wandered over to the Absopure Pyramid stage to expand my jazz listening. One of the things I can do at this festival is sample all sorts of music other than what I normally hear.

After lunch I went to the Absopure Pyramid stage to see Dave Liebman( sax, flute) and Richie Beirach(piano). I got a seat with no problem. The music was dissonant, abrasive and edgy. If I had never heard jazz before I would say that I don’t like jazz. As I listened, I began to hear different things. I relaxed and began to enjoy the music. I could hear how closely the musicians played against each other weaving in and out moving the emphasis from one instrument to the other. By the time they played “Pendulum” which they recorded at the Village Vanguard in New York City in the late 1970s, my original opinion had changed. Both of the musicians had incredible expertise. The music engaged and stimulated my mind. I was hearing the meshed, cohesive music as they worked together to create sound to remember. In fact,I got so engrossed that I forgot to take a picture.

The next act at the stage was a group I had seen and enjoyed before so I decided to stay for part of the performance. This was a tribute to Don Byas who was a legendary bebop jazz saxophone player. This tribute similar to the Teddy Harris, Jr. Tribute on Saturday which also focused on bebop. The tribute was performed by James Carter(sax), Gerard Gibbs(piano), Dr. Leonard Moon(drums), Theo Croker(tpt) and Ralphe Armstrong( bass). James Carter was playing a restored Don Byas saxophone probably played from 1950 to 1962 by Don Byas. James Carter called Don Byas the harmonic link between swing and bebop.

20130903-180207.jpgJames Carter

I stayed to listen to “1944 Stomp”, “Free and Easy” and “Stardust”. As I listened, I could hear both the elements of swing and bebop which was true of all the songs I heard. When they started the “1944 Stomp”, chills went down my back. That is how well this particular set of musicians has an emotional connection with me. My favorite of the group is James Carter who has an emotionally charged saxophone. It can be mournful, energetic, engaging, intellectual or adventurous. So for the time I was there, I was on a wonderful emotional roller coaster.

20130903-182345.jpgGerard Gibbs, Ralphe Armstrong, James Carter, Leonard Moon and Theo Croker

I headed over to the Carhartt Amphitheater with a dual purpose. The act just coming up was good and the next acte after that one was Ahmad Jamal. Although there are reserved seats for VIP (those who pay), there are never enough seats if all of them show up at the main stage. I got a seat near the middle of the third row. I was overjoyed.

The next act was called the Alan Broadbent Trio featuring Sheila Jordan. The trio was Alan Broadbent(piano), Cameron Brown(bass) and Sean Dobbins(drums). There was also a string orchestra behind the trio. The music was for the most part both soothing and enjoyable without n edge. I had seen Sheila Jordan before and really did want to see her again. All the edge in th performance came from her lyrics. She will be 85 in November.

Sheila was not hitting the notes at the beginning of the performance but as the performance went on, she was sounding very good. When her voice warmed up and she began to scat, it was all there and magnificent. Before she did ” Seek Your Hearts Desire”, she mentioned that she did not sing professionally until she was 58. She is an inspiration.

20130903-183739.jpg
Alan Broadbent, Sheila Jordan, Cameron Brown and Sean Dobbins

And finally, Amad Jamal alone his quartet. The quartet was Amad Jamal(piano), Reginald Veal(bass), Manolo Badrena(percussion) and Herman Riley (drums). The last time I heard Ahmad Jamal, I was watch from behind the stage way up on the hill. All I heard was his playing. This time, sitting in front, it was a very different listening experience. All the music depended on the wonderful driving beat behind the keys. It was amazing as were all the musicians. There were times when the bass was the forefront of the beat. Other times when it was the drums or percussion. For the most part, the bass was main driver and the bass playing was wondrous.

On both “Voodoo”and “Saturday Morning”, there was the familiar Jamal soft piano touch with the driving beat behind it. They did “Poinciana” and a few other numbers. As the encore they did “This is the Life”. It was, for me, one of those transcendent musical experiences leaving me with a quiet happy mind.

20130903-190253.jpg

I decided to go to an after the festival jam. I did not go to the DJF sponsored jam at the Marriott since last year it was overcrowded, couldn’t hear the music and got no service. A friend was at the Harbor House and I went. When I arrived, it was crowded and noisy. The music was not to my liking. I told my friend that I had to go. And go I did to Bert’s where the music was good. And finally home and happy.

More Music in Midtown Detroit

20130706-205653.jpg

Today, Saturday, July 6, 2013, I went to Concert of Colors again. Yesterday I has so many errands and chores that I was not able to get out.

Today, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to see check out music I usually do not see in the normal course of events. Since music is such an emotional experience for me, I might be able to get the same experience from music I usually do not hear. I have a history of being able to appreciate classical, blues, rock, and R&B but for the last few years, I have had a hard preference for jazz. And not all jazz, the soul jazz era. I am trying to expand my horizons.

I parked right next to the pocket park on Parsons where the outdoor stage was set up. So I stopped for a few minutes and listened to Kate Monaghan singeing the blues.

20130706-212150.jpgThe Kate Monaghan Band

20130706-212216.jpgA sculpture in the park

I walked about a half a block to the Max (Max M. Fisher Music Center)to hear Matuto which was billed as Brazilian bluegrass.

20130706-214900.jpg I am not sure why it is called Brazilian bluegrass. It may be because of the fiddle(violin) and accordion. I cannot recall ever seeing a drum kit in a bluegrass band. It might be that they are playing ‘country’ music. The music was fun and there was a lot of dancing. I danced a lot at the PD9 Township Jazz Project and my dancing legs are still a bit wobbly.

I went to the other inside stage to see Fatoumata Diawara billed as Malian wassalou. She is living in exile in Southern France. The musicians with her were from Cameroon and Togo. She has a beautiful voice and plays guitar while singing some of her songs.

20130706-221312.jpgThe songs were not in English. The official language of Mali is French and she was not singing in French. It may have been Bambara which is the main vernacular language. She did talk a little about what each song was about. The delivery was good enough that the language really did not matter. And I did manage to dance again in front of the stage.

20130706-222142.jpg wThe pic is not clear but was the best I could do in the circumstances. After dancing and towards the end of the music, I decide to see what I could find in festival food.

20130706-222603.jpgI got a fruit shortbread. It was on a lemon poppyseed shortbread with blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries topped with whip cream. It was just what I needed.

I went home happy.