Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Downbeat to Summer

Earlier this spring, even as the mud ruts on my road were starting to dry into hardened tracks and little green things were starting to pop up everywhere in the threadbare landscape, hope for summer also came in the form of the annual Burlington Discover Jazz Festival press conference.

<---(Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss showing off the new Smithsonian poster for April's National Jazz Month)

Geeda Searfoorce, the Festival’s Associate Director, had it just right in her introduction when she said “you can feel the music in the air”. The room buzzed with many of the area’s music media folks from radio and TV, members of the Festival advisory board and reps from the many Fest sponsors. A few steps inside the door and everyone was tearing into the press kit, leafing through page after page of artist listings for this year’s event. If no music itself, there was a lot of talk about music in the air.

The headliners have been public for a while (Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis, and Pink Martini) but the rest - and often the most interesting part - of the lineup was kept under wraps until that day.

Highlights? You bet. Lots of them, starting with the opening night: Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals) and Anat Cohen (clarinet, sax + a lot of innovation!).

Also very much looking forward to the Luis Perdomo Trio (6/8), the Grace Kelly Quintet (6/9), Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph (6/10), the Waterfront Funk Tent (6/11)-featuring a N’awlins favorite, Russell Batiste.

Check out the schedule. You’ll have your own favorites, and, best of all will be those great moments you won’t find until you get there: artists performing in local venues, all the way up and down Church Street, and everywhere around town.

We'll be out experiencing the music and sharing our thoughts and pictures here on the VPR Jazz Fest Blog.

For your part: make a plan, enjoy the music, and be sure to give yourself the time to explore and be surprised.

Guess that’s why they call it 'discover' jazz!

Cheryl Willoughby
VPR Dir. of Music Programming

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