Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss wrapped up his introduction with three little words: “Jazz lives here!”
In fact it will live, radiate, and virtually define the personality of the city for the next ten days.
Tonight’s opening reception (per tradition, held at Halvorson’s on the upper end of Church street) overflowed from the porch to the patio, and from the patio backflowing into the hallway to the dining room. On the covered stage in the corner of the patio, the Anthony Santor Trio (Anthony with Gabe Jarrett and Shane Hardiman) serenaded the surge of folks who had come for the event. In his introduction, the Mayor proclaimed June as “Jazz Appreciation Week” in Burlington. Get set, we’re on the way now!
After the festival reception I stopped in at the Davis Center nearby to check out the new UVM Jazz Collective, formed by trumpeter Ray Vega with other jazz faculty. It wasn’t officially a Festival event, but the association is inevitable. Especially since so many of the players are also Festival regulars. I hope Vega becomes one of them or better yet, starts playing around town more often even when it’s not Festival season, now that he’s been here a year and life is settling in for him and his family.
The show was hot! And the format was really refreshing, as the lineup changed with every tune. Quartet, Nonet, Quintet, the personnel and textures were as versatile and subtly shifting as the colorful lighting that flanked the stage.
One of the many highlights came in the first set in Monk’s Evidence, as Tom Cleary walked in the giant’s footsteps and spun out some very, very nice, complex lines. Any Monk fan would have been thrilled by that one.
Late night here so I’ll sign off for now and save some energy to get to the Festival tomorrow and share some more thoughts. Tomorrow is the first in the “Meet the Artist” series with artist-in-residence, jazz critic Bob Blumenthal. That’s at 5:30, and then the double billing Festival opener with Esperanza Spalding and Anat Cohen starts at 8 on the Main Stage.
See you tomorrow. Oh. It is tomorrow.