Is All That Jazz?

Savoring the variably spicy JVC jazz festival

Before paying tribute to the sounds of the Fifties and Sixties at JVC, he helped define those decades: Herbie Hancock, 1964
Francis Wolff
Before paying tribute to the sounds of the Fifties and Sixties at JVC, he helped define those decades: Herbie Hancock, 1964

These are, in all seriousness, the moments that make life worth living. It's the moment Lauryn Hill turns the gospel hymn "Sometimes I feel/Like a motherless child" into "Sometimes I feel/Like robbing a church/When you know that people are dying/Preachers are lying/Children are crying." It's the moment George Clinton tells the Apollo crowd about the drug war: "There's more profit in pretending to try and stop it than there is in selling it." It's the moment I see two music students nudging each other with mutual glee as Kenny Barron spools out another solo, or watch a middle-aged Cuban gentleman stomp his feet and holler in ecstasy to the rafters of Carnegie Hall as three flautists from Orquesta Aragon mix and match charanga riffs. It's the reason Wein staged this festival, why I traveled thousands of miles to see and hear it, why you are taking the time to read this. We're all looking for clues and directions to the avenues of musical bliss. Is it jazz? Who cares? Why not?

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