Sunday, February 17, 2008

CAPE MAY JAZZ 28 2007 Preview


"Favorites Return"

The Cape May Jazz Fest, now in its 28th season, usually has a theme - a tribute to saxmen, guitarists, New Orleans or a particular jazz giant, but this time, it's a retrospective return of some of the favorite acts of past shows.

That would not normally be a difficult thing to do, but I think one of the sparks behind this retrospective was the deaths of some of the festivals most popular performers.

As noted, Bill Clinton was president and gas was a buck and a half a gallon when the Duke Ellington last played Cape May Convention Hall, so this will indeed be a Friday night flashback.

While the band plays on without the Duke, "Pieces of a Dream," Saturday night's headliner at the Hall, is best remembered for backing Grover Washington, Jr., the late, great saxman from Philly.

From the earliest days of the fest we first lost another saxman Jim Ruff, and more recently pianist extradonaire Brian Trainor, and most recently, Tim Eyerman, a festival favorite from the beginning. Tim was a horn man who shined at practically every Cape May Jazz Fest, and suddenly he's not there. Here's a link to Tim's performance at the Kennedy Center:

And Eric R. Quick's tribute in All About Jazz:

So it's understandable that Carol and Woody and the Jazz Fest board would want to do this retro return of the fest favorates, and after next Spring 2008 fest, the 30th Cape May Jazz Fest next November can be a watershed event.

It was good to run into Carol and Woody at the Bubba Mac Blues Fest last month, checking out some of the acts for possible booking in Cape May. Tab Benoit was playing cajun guitar while we were talking, and He's the guy I would like to see again - so (Hint, Hint) I hope C & W got his number.

This weekend, besides the Duke's band and POD, there's so much going on at the clubs that it's impossible to even check them all out.

As with previous jazz fests, I've learned that either you time yourself to see the shows you want to see, and only see one set of each, or you get one great seat and park youself at one spot and just enjoy the evening.

Tonight's sideshows include Freddy Cole at Aleatheas, Houston Pearson at the Victorian Garden at the Hotel deLafayette, Ed Cherry and Winston Byrd playing side by side in different rooms at Carney's, T.S. Monk at the Grand ballroom and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers.

Saturday, after moring workshops at the elementary school, there will be a 10:30-11:30 memorial service for Tim Eyermann at Convention Hall.

While voice, guitar, sax and percission workshops continue all afternoon at the school, Cintron Latin Jazz Orchestra sousas things up at the Grand ballroom, while blues singer Frank Bey leads the blues jam at Cabanas.

We almost lost Frank Bey a few years ago, when he had a major organ replacement, but now he's back and appreciated more than ever.

There's also Saturday afternoon jams in both rooms at Carney's, and after all that's done, a CD signing party at the downstairs Boiler Room at Congress Hall.

With Pieces of a Dream at the main Hall, Ernie Andrews and Aaron Graves play Saturday night at Aleatheas, Keith Killgo and Juanita Williams are at the deLafayette's garden room, Barbar Walker's experience is at Cabanas, Rolando Matias and the Afro-Rican Ensemble and Webb T's Fleet with Monnette Sudler are at Carney's. Point Blak plays the Boiler Room at Congress Hall, and for those into the B3 vibs, Papa Joe and Joey DeFrancesco are at the Grand.

Sunday's brunch begins before noon at Aleathea's, with Barbara D. Mills singing gospel and blues at Cabanas, and the now infamous Sunday Jam in both rooms at Carney's.

Check out the Cape May Jazz Fest web site for more info and to order tickets:

If you want to catch up with me, I'll be moving around Friday, but Saturday I'll be set up most of the afternoon at Cabanas for the blues jam, where I always have a good time and hook up with friends like Mel, Jimmy and Lisa Duffy and Tony Tach, his wife and the Ocean City contingent. Frankie Bay is the real deal, Sark will be on harp and George Mesterhazy will walk down the street from the Merion to sit in on the piano, and things will get really hot.

How retro can it get?

BK back on the Blog.

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