This was the fifth consecutive year that the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Big Band has performed at this festival and I have witnessed them all. Every one of them have been magical. I have the feeling that when I come to their concert that they are playing for my own personal pleasure, since I know most of the musicians on stage.
I think it's mandatory that I should relay some off my friend's names to you. Reed section: Brian McCarthy, Bryan MacNamara, Michael Zsoldas, Dave Grippo & Alex Stewart (also the band master). Trumpet section: Chris Gribnau, Cam Cross, Dave Ellis & Paul Brana (17 y.o. H.S student). Bone section: Lori Salimando-Porter, Andy Moroz, Dan Silverman, & Rick Davies. Piano: Tom Cleary, Bass: John Rivers, & Jeff Salisbury on drums.
Kudos to Cecilia Smith (vibes) for putting this concert together. She was ably assisted by Amina Claudine Myers (piano & vocals) and Elon Robin Dixon (vocals).
Congratulations to Champlain Valley Union H.S. chorus, especially to the six girls on the upper two levels (stage left). They were singing and swaying to the beat just as if they were in the choir at a black Baptist Sunday church meeting. The director, Carl Recchia is to be commended for his chorus's performance. I must admit that every time I see young people like this in performance, my throat starts to constrict and I have to take out my hankie as I must have had some particle stuck in my eye. Strange, it's happening again as I write this. Maybe it's because I'm jealous. The only time that attention has been brought to me is when my name has been published in the daily newspaper court report. Just think how Paul Brana feels like today after being on stage as part of the band. Or how many members of the chorus didn't fall asleep until the wee hours of this morning.
Having extolled this concert, I see a black cloud in the future for this event. Less than 400 people attended this concert. Maybe the BDJF folks need a new hook for the general public. Mary Lou Williams is not a stranger to jazz heads like me, but the attendance figures show that there needs to be a new approach. I would hate to see this concert eliminated because it's "losing" money, and as you well know the local performing arts scene ain't in the business to do that.
This is my last posting on this blog. I want to personally thank Cathy Resmer (7D Online Editor) whose job is very much like the photograph in the 7D jobs section. You know the one I mean. The one where a woman is standing behind an elephant with a canvas bag and is catching the bowel movement. She has been cleaning up behind me for several weeks now and god knows I can produce an enormous amount of drek.