Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Aural Exam - Jazz

Bob Blumenthal, 3x Grammy-winner for his liner notes and resident critic at The Fest, lead a panel of four (including yours truly) local listeners/jazz fanatics in a version of guess the artist, Tuesday at 5:30 at The Amy Tarrent Gallery at the Flynn.
The audience got to guess along with the panel: who were the mystery artist(s); when was the recording made; did you like it; why.

Not easy stuff when you figure all the panelists were trying, to some degree at least, to test their fellow panelists with savvy but very challenging & often obscure choices. There were many guesses from the audience and one in particular, from Jeff Phillips, who currently chairs the Advisory Board of the Festival, identified the artists who had stumped the panel. My favorite part? Listening to all the joy and passion everyone in the room had for jazz music, especially Bob Blumenthal who had multi-layered stories on all of the artists, wonderful insights on the music itself, how one tenor sax player hit or dragged out a note and how it added to a distinctive voice, and so on. It was pure fun.

Coming up and not to be missed: Bob Blumenthal talks with Jim Hall on Thursday 6/10 at 5:30 and with Sonny Rollins at 5:30p, both at the FlynnSpace. These are two of most revered and respected jazz players alive. (Note that these times are different than those listed in the Fest Program guide.)

The Panelists, from the back of the photo to the front: Michael Rosenberg, former chair of the Fest Advisory Board; David Beckett(mostly hidden), member of the Advisory Board; Bob Blumenthal and Alex Stewart, Associate Professor Jazz Studies/Ethnomusicology at UVM and leader of the Discover Jazz Big Band.

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