Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Very cool. The thing about a jazz fest is that it is a festival. Now, I know that much jazz music is done for a cool intelligent audience who is sitting down bobbing their heads. But I really appreciated the artists who didn’t do that for standing outdoor audiences. It really called for dance music. So those who gave us jazz while giving dance music were best in my opinion. The others I didn’t appreciate that much (unless they had an indoor venue with chairs).

My favorite performances were those by artists who fused South African music with Jazz music. That was what I was looking for. It was more important for me to see that than the international acts (Gerald Albright, Sergio Mendez, Hiromi, etc.).

But lastly, I did see Hiromi who I had always heard. She’s won lots of awards but I have never seen her when she was in my city (just missed her) or when she was on the radio (just missed her but heard the dj announcing that was her on the last song). And so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. She’s excellent and worth more than the fuss. She’s amazingly versatile—going from rag and stride piano to blues to Latin (her Latin could have a little more salsa to it) to whatever weird melodically atonal music she wants to do. I also liked her because her music is weird but it doesn’t turn you off. Have you ever been to those jazz performances where the entire performance or album from which the performance comes is atonal music? Or it’s acid jazz? It’s like those a-corn candies we got for Halloween. You can only eat a little at a time because after awhile you’re going to get sick. It’s the same with that type of jazz. You can’t take too much of it. But she seemed to give nice melodies to her atonal music. If that’s paradoxical let’s say that her songs often did not have a static key center but she kept it understandable. The most amazing part is when she did a piano solo on Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm” (I believe) doing it in a reminiscent way to Mozart’s Variations on Twinkle Little Star that he wrote when he was 12. She kept varying it and playing it again and again. But she made her fingers fly completely fly and she didn’t think about it at all. She just made weird faces as she flew into right-brained mode. She played in a style reminiscent of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson if you know them. All I could say was wow. She has a good band. I told the drummer that after the performance. I didn’t see the rest of them.

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