Saturday, January 26, 2008

California 2007 - Day 13

Today was an outstanding festival day. Damn near transcendent.

Liis and I checked out a few festival vendors, including a woman named Heidi Oatis, who was selling wigs. Her business, Heidi’s Hair Clinic, works extensively in the medical community with chemo and radiation therapy patients, among others.

Our first performance was a vocal ensemble comprised of Los Angeles area high school students.

We weren't able to stay for all of the next event, but Seattle jazz critic Paul de Barros conducted what began as a fascinating interview with film directors John Sayles and Clint Eastwood. Two giants of the film industry, these men are among the few who make their movies the way they want to - substantially outside the control of the big money players in the film business - and still have their films seen by large audiences. Clint Eastwood is a huge jazz fan and a long-time supporter of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

John Sayles, Clint Eastwood & Paul de Barros

Back outside, we took in the festival vibe on a warm, beautiful, late summer day.

Then, in terms of music, the day jumped to another level. One of the masters performed. Ornette Coleman led a quintet through a scintillating performance in the arena. His unusual quintet featured three bass players.

Back on the festival grounds, we walked, browsed shops, and eventually caught a performance on one of the grounds stages.

Liis really liked this ad featuring Thelonious Monk

In one corner of the fairgrounds, the organizers mounted large displays featuring articles and posters from prior festivals.

Seattle’s Dee Dee Rainbow

My brother Alan Maddox

A grounds stage performance that was a knockout for me personally was the Benny Barth Trio with special guest Buddy Montgomery. It was a big deal because Benny and Buddy were two-fourths of the Mastersounds, one of my favorite groups back in the 1960s, listening to KBCA-FM 105.1 in Los Angeles.

Benny Barth & Buddy Montgomery

There is no doubt in my mind that the Monterey Fairgrounds arena was the best place in the world to be on this night for jazz. I could go on and on about how special tonight’s performers are, but since this is a photo blog, I’ll contain myself.

Opening were the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars with Terence Blanchard, Nnenna Freelon, Benny Green, James Moody, Kendrick Scott and Derrick Hodge.

Nnenna Freelon

Next was the incomparable Dave Brubeck, displaying stunning piano technique and high-flights of emotion throughout his set. Dave Brubeck joined my small pantheon of heroes tonight and I definitely want to be as on my game at 86-years of age as Dave Brubeck was in this performance.

And, if that wasn't enough, Sonny Rollins performed the closing show and tore the joint up. Sonny is 77-years old. During these final two performances, I kept thinking that the elders were sending us a message: “We might be old, but we ain’t dead!”

The festival is over. The arena is empty, except for the clean-up crew, Liis and me.

Until next year . . .

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