~ January 2018 ~

Two major jazz festivals came to an end in December: Sacramento and Lacey. Although the reasons for the decisions were quite different, the effect is the same and I have many good memories from both. I actually played in Sacramento starting with the first one and I have been there with many groups, most notably my Cubs band, but also Hal Smith, Bob Schulz, Phil Howe, Bob Mielke, Turk Murphy, Simon Stribling the Jubilee Jazz Band of Lynn Hall,the Port City band and several jazz club groups. My greatest memory comes from meeting and spending time with Jess Stacy in 1975 and 1976. That second year I played with my old Seattle band, the Great Excelsior Jazz Band. In Lacey, the festival was ready to proceed, but St. Martin's college had a change of plans about using the space.

This all reminds me of a moment from many years ago when I was at the Chattanooga festival and Mike Duffy pointed to the audience and said, "They are all older than we are." That may not be entirely true anymore, but it certainly is part of the equation and a big reason why festivals are having a hard time. I have enjoyed playing at festivals because they have provided a place to play but I also have been skeptical because I am not confident that preserving everything only in the name of "dixieland" is sensible. I like good music and it has many directions and evolution is inevitable. Get young people interested? Girls dressed like flappers and boys wearing straw hats and arm garters are heading a direction I would rather not follow. Here is a good festival: The Fat Babies, The Cubs, Grand Dominion, a Norwegian Hardanger fiddle ensemble, Australian aboriginal music, a string quartet, an Irish tenor, music from Trinidad, and so on. That would work for me. Swing dancers have made special "Weekend" music, a festival direction that seems to be working. Encouraging dancing is always helpful

The city of Bothell has just purchased 90 acres of land from a golf course and it has been set free as parkland. Big, wonderful news.


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