Friday, September 29, 2006

Last one standing

There was a time in Boston, not too long ago, when we had two or three legitimate summer jazz festivals every year here. Growing up, I got to hear Joe Lovano, Brad Meldhau, Ruth Brown, and many others (often for free) at the Boston Globe Jazz Fest. The Phoenix (our weaker answer to the Voice) also did a series of summer concerts, as did a Bob the Chef's, a soul restaraunt in the South End.

Times have changed. The Globe is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the NY Times, and has decided that jazz is no longer worth either its column space or its funding. (More on this soon) The Phoenix nixed its funding also, and suddenly that little restaraunt, with some help from Berklee and other funders, is the only game in town. Now dubbed the Beantown Jazz Festival, it's a halfway decent game too, featuring Kenny Garrett, Jimmy Cobb, and Omar Sosa among others free and outdoors tomorrow. The opening concert, a ticketed affair featuring McCoy Tyner's history of Impulse, is being simulcast both on the radio and online tonight on WGBH radio.

I plan to be there tomorrow, at least for the first half of the day. (Family birthdays are the order of the evening.) The plan is to split time between saxophonist Mike Tucker (there was some good buzz on him before I left) and the NEC Composers' Ensemble (kind of an obligation, I played with them five years ago), then hit Kenny Garrett's set and play it by ear from there. A report is to follow, of course

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