Week of October 2 – 8, column link and MJF photo gallery launch

Yep, finally got the photo gallery up for the 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. Check it out by going to Photo Gallery in the navigation bar and click on the Monterey Jazz Festival tab that appears. It is not a complete cover to cover documentation, but just the acts I was able to get to and minus Sunday evening when I put down the camera to just enjoy listening to the music. Also, here’s the link to this week’s column in the Monterey Herald: www.montereyherald.com/gomagazine/ci_26645273/beth-peerless-where-its-at-two-bands-fill That’s it for now. Hope you enjoy the photos. Be sure to click on the thumbnails that are there when you arrive at the page. A larger photo will appear and you can then scroll through the gallery by using your directional arrow keys to move through the...
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Monterey Jazz Festival 2014

Sorry folks if you’ve come here and see there is not the coverage I’ve promised via my Monterey Herald column. What can I say? But that I’m not yet ready to get all the pics up at this time. Please come back for photos and commentary from me on the festival. Best regards, Beth    P.S. –  Should be able to do this before the weekend is out. Life, it’s what happens while you’re trying to get your work done. Here’s one photo to help cover my butt!  ...
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Beyond the Monterey Bay, 8/7-13/14

With mixed emotions I’m sitting out what has usually been one of my favorite weekends of the year, if only to tap back into my Bay Area roots and hear live some of the greatest bands on the planet over the course of three days and nights at the San Francisco Outside Lands Festival. Held for the past six years, and continuing in fine fashion for its seventh, at the beautiful Golden Gate Park Friday through Sunday, August 8, 9 & 10, Outside Lands has grown immensely since its inception in 2008.   For the last few years, OSL has sold-out ahead of the festival weekend, in contrast to a few less-than-full first years. Oh to be back when it wasn’t so crowded! And it has grown from offering not only music, food, wine and art representative of the Bay Area’s bountiful offerings, but starting last year, in addition to Wine Lands, there began a Beer Lands and a Choco Lands. Taste of the Bay Area is the foodie element that has been consistently upgraded each year with new and exciting festival food vendors, some directly tied to brick-and-mortar establishments and others part of the pop-up restaurant trend or food trucks.   While not the first festival to dish out local goods, OSL put the San Francisco cool stamp on everything and to me that means something. Alas, I won’t be eating or drinking my way through this year’s festival. For anyone who has their tickets in hand, I’m wishing you the best time ever. Here are the bands I would have caught in the act this year had I gone.   For Friday, heck, I’d even get excited about seeing Kanye West just to see what all the fuss is about. High on my list of must see bands are Tedeschi Trucks Band, Arctic Monkeys, Tegan & Sara, Kacey Musgraves, Chromeo, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, USPS Janis Joplin Tribute featuring Special Guests, Greensky Bluegrass, and Grouplove. Any others I might discover would be great.   I’m not a fan of the DJ Dome, nor is it easy to get into the Barbary to see comedy or experience vaudevillian style acts now that the place is packed to the rafters. And a new venue/stage called GastroMagic has me stumped as to what’s going on there. If someone goes there, please report back for me, okay?   Saturday, I...
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Through My Experiences

So back to the Monterey Jazz Festival and its events filtered through my experiences. I last left you with my enjoyment of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra’s commissioned piece, “Sweet Suite Dave: The Brubeck Files,” in honor of the late Dave Brubeck. I doff my proverbial hat to the great California jazz pianist whose time signature innovations brought a higher level of musical understanding to a wide and not so jazz centric public. He was a great friend to the Monterey Jazz Festival and his California roots bring great pride to the denizens of this great state. Thank you Mr. Brubeck for your dedication, talent and huge heart. There were other observations of his contributions, including a photo exhibition in the Coffee House Gallery, the performance by the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, and by his sons in the Brubeck Brothers Quartet on Saturday, plus a Panel Discussion titled Dave Brubeck: Hip as a Pair of Horn-Rimmed Glasses. There is a wonderful article in the festival program written by Jeff Kaliss that sums up some of what the tributes are all about. I would not be surprised if there were numerous spontaneous accolades being expressed throughout the weekend by the master’s many musician friends and fans. Because I was on the move and busy connecting with folks, I generally caught maybe two to three tunes for each of the other ensembles Friday night. Hearing the Dave Douglas Quintet finish its set in the Night Club was a joy. I’ve been a Douglas fan for a long time, and used to follow his every recording on my jazz radio shows, although it seems a decade has passed since I’ve last heard him play live. So hearing the current configuration brought me up to date with his activities. The leader’s horn playing was superb as always, but what stood out for me was being introduced to lady bass player Linda Oh, and drummer Rudy Royston. Ms. Oh really wowed listeners in this set, but where she shone brightest was in her Saturday night solo turn during the performance on Jimmy Lyons Stage by the Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Quintet: Sound Prints. The audience really connected with her playing and gave loud appreciation at the band’s ending bow in addition to directly after the solo. The quintet’s premier of two Wayne Shorter commissioned pieces titled “To Sail Beyond the Sunset” & “Destination Unknown,”...
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Friday Night

It was a good night at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Clear skies, balmy almost with no need to bundle up in the arena. Not quite a full moon still, but still bright and luminescent. Now that’s what I’m talking about, well, besides the music, the people, the vibe. It was fun, laidback, and sophisticated. What I would expect from a world-class jazz festival on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. This Friday opening night for the 56th edition was great from start to finish. I got on the festival grounds early, around 4:30pm, which is quite atypical for me. But I was invited to attend the rehearsal for the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra’s Tribute to Dave Brubeck and so I arrived midway into it and watched my friend John Clayton expertly lead the band through its process of nailing down the details. Other folks who work the festival were in the room, and we exchanged hellos, and that as anyone who goes to this festival knows, is how Friday night is. A whole lot of hellos, great to see you again as everyone reacquaints themselves with one another after a year has gone by. The opening set with Roberto Fonseca on the Garden Stage drew a large and appreciative crowd. It’s one of the best placements an artist can get because it’s the only set throughout the whole weekend that has no competition from any other artist. Just the food, vendors and merchandise tent contend for patrons. It was the opening bookend of a night that featured two stellar Cuban bands, ending with Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club for a rousing conclusion that stirred up the sawdust around the front of the arena while people swirled and swiveled to the vibrant music. Fonseca’s set did not inspire dancing, alternatively it was more a spiritually uplifting inner journey. Two highlights of the set for me were when an African kora, a beautifully decorated large gourd with strings like a harp, plucked and arpeggiated rapidly, was integrated into the mix, and then a solo piano section from Fonseca that had him using only his right hand to articulate musically, while he lifted his left in the air as he gazed into the heavens for inspiration. It was really cool and I could feel his heart soar in the melodies. And so I was off and running, stopping to say hello a multitude of times,...
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