My Culturing Continues with Jazz

 

My quest to become a fully Cultured Person™  continued in the Wine Country of California at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival.

Jazz is considered the first art form created in America and is often considered the edgy, bad boy of the Arts. I’ve never been a big fan of the genre, but this seemed to be an important ingredient in the culturing process, so we got tickets for the concert the evening after our Shakespearean evening (recorded here).

A particularly appealing part of this outing was the concert was held at H2, a hotel where I used to work. We had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Spoonbar, enjoying their Wednesday fried chicken special. (If Fine Dining is part of being Cultured, it was also achieved that evening.) I was also able to see friends still working at the hotel and restaurant from nearly a decade ago.

The concert seating was outside near the hotel pool. It was a lovely warm-but-not-hot evening, and a free cocktail came with the price of admission. Jazz Mafia was the band for the evening, so the Mafia Margarita was the obvious selection. 

Jazz Mafia is an all-brass (plus drums and percussion) band based in the San Francisco Bay area which had its first nationwide tour with Thomas Dolby (yes, “She Blinded Me with Science” Dolby) in 2007. Adam Theis, the founder of the band, is from Santa Rosa (just south of Healdsburg).

As the horn-centric nature of the band would suggest, there is a Dixieland influence to their music, but other influences include electronica, soul, funk, big band, symphonic, and hip-hop. (I had to Google all the information about the band because my ignorance of Jazz is real and profound. And yet, I really enjoyed the evening.)

One of the things that made the evening fun was that all of the men in the band were having fun. (Looking things up I see that occasionally it’s not all men in the band, but it was that night. They sometimes use vocalists, but not that night. They’ve worked as backup for other artists, too. Not just Dolby, but also Carlos Santana and others.)

One of the early numbers was a cover of Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man,” which I greatly enjoyed. They asked the audience to raise a hand if we recognized the song. He then asked us to raise a hand during the next song if we recognized it. I don’t think anyone in the audience raised a hand of recognition for the song by an obscure Latin band, but it was good.

Later in the evening I was able to raise a hand for the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black,” but a majority of the songs were original compositions by members of the band: the tenor sax player, the trombone player, both trumpet players, and especially the tuba player all seemed to contribute. I don’t think the drummer wrote anything, but he was a young, recent college graduate, so I’m sure his time will come.

(It’s easy to find the “Jazz Mafia” on YouTube.)

We even got a kazoo duet toward the end of the concert (the one instrument I can play).

It was a wonderful evening of culture that gave me hope for the next night’s adventure, A Night at the Opera.

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There are 5 comments.

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  1. E. Kent Golding Moderator
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    There is something profound about Live music.

    • #1
  2. Freeven Member
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    “Jazz” is as varied as “Rock.” I love some of it (e.g. contemporary big band); appreciate most of it on occasion (e.g. bebop, fusion), and don’t care much for some of it (“free” or avaunt guard jazz). There’s enough going on that most people can find a sub-genre they enjoy if they are willing to explore a bit (again, like Rock).

    • #2
  3. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Sounds like they were fantastic musicians. Fantastic musicians can make any genre sound good. 

    • #3
  4. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Now go back and listen to the links in every single Jazz Break of the Day I published here. That should bring you up to speed.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    What fun! You’ve done so well on your excursions into culture. Good for you, Eustace.

    • #5
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