|Seattle, just like I pictured it....Space Needles.....and everything....|
I performed for 4 straight nights at the Ballard Jazz Festival. Ballard is a little neighborhood about 10
The second night, we added bassist Paul Gabrielson and turned the same group into the Tom Guarna Quartet. I was relieved to not have to worry about the bass lines. This was my first time playing with Gabrielson, and he is quite a strong player. He and Jorgensen had a nice lock, and once again Guarna was shredding like gangbusters. Both nights had an attentive, enthusiastic crowd. The Ballard Jazz Festival is well promoted and seems to be a popular event. I believe that there are jazz fans everywhere and it's really just a question of getting them all to come out at the right time.
Night Three was basically the same group as night one except we called it the George Colligan Trio. So we did mostly my tunes and a few standards. I don't get to play organ that often(well, it wasn't
The last night was held at the Nordic Heritage Museum. Two bands would perform; first was trumpeter Lew Soloff, back by Milo Peterson on guitar, Essiet Essiet on bass, and Sylvia Cuenca on drums. I got to hear just the tail end of the performance; they played a mellow version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing", and ended with a rousing rendition of "Caravan", on which Soloff showed off his impressive virtuosity. I was really looking forward to being reunited musically with one of my first bosses in New York, alto and soprano saxophone master Gary Bartz. (This set again featured Jorgensen on drums and Phil Sparks on bass.)I worked with Bartz back in the mid 90's, and the time I spent in his bad was a real learning experience. Bartz's music is truly connected with the legends, and it's amazing to bask in his energy and wisdom. Bartz has wisdom in his choice of notes but also his choice of words; during our soundcheck, Bartz remarked that "people think it takes a lifetime to play this music. It actually takes MANY lifetimes!" (This is something that we need to relate to our students, who are under the impression that it takes 4 years of college to learn jazz.)
|the Great Gary Bartz|
I always remembered that Bartz liked to find tunes which were kind of off the beaten path; on this night, we ended up doing a duo version of a Sidney Bechet tune called "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere", which was used by Woody Allen for his recent film, "Midnight in Paris". I always loved comping behind Bartz, whether it be a rubato ballad or a furious swing tune. This gig really brought me back. It's always great to play music with great players, and this gig was really something special. I left Seattle with a really positive, optimistic feeling about music. Congratulations to Matt Jorgensen and John Bishop and everybody at Origin for another great Ballard Jazz Festival.