I am a fan of Jazz!!! The diverse and eclectic nature of jazz draws me in and wipes away the stresses of rush hour traffic, overdue reports, and the speed of modern urban life. No tune is played the same twice, and because of that inconsistency, the music evolves and is reborn through the artist who is tooting that horn, tapping those keys, plucking those strings or fanning that snare.
For these reasons, I am extremely excited about the upcoming Empire Life Kingston Jazz Festival. From June 14 to 29, I can immerse myself in the diversity of sound and talent that will be gracing our stages, porch jazz venues and the Free Jazz and World Music events as part of the Skeleton Park Music Festival. The line-up should tickle the fancy of any jazz fan, as well as entice those who have always wanted to walk on the “groovy” side, but were afraid to scat.
From the fabulously energetic ensemble of La Bottine Souriante to the unique and modern approach of Digging Roots, the diversity of traditions and popular culture will seduce jazz enthusiasts and converts for a life time. So much so, that Ron Di Lauro’s Sextet, showcasing the quintessential jazz masterpiece, Miles Davis’ 1959 “Kind of Blue” cannot be missed by anyone who calls themselves a jazz aficionado.
Jazz’s sister, the Blues, highlighting the mellow and more somber tones of a vocal artist or brass and string sections, will penetrate the soul, the heart, and the sense of today, tomorrow and lives past. The sound of the Blues is haunting, mysterious, hopeful, and tragic, and an evening with Georgette Fry will complement this mournful side of the sound.
However, what it all boils down to is that Jazz comes in many forms and each style often focusses on a particular instrument to showcase its mood. Whether it’s the soulful sounds of a saxophone, the energy of a trumpet, the steady backbeat of a snare drum, or the whimsy of a piano, several nights of the Kingston Jazz Festival can allow for you to toast your favourite instrument and their masters. From Joshua Redman and his sax, to Rob Garcia and his drums, from Hilario Duran and his piano, to Peter Van Huffel and his clarinet, or be it the power driven vocals of Nikki Yanofsky, any night of the festival will touch your inner spirit. Jazz musicians have a real and raw talent that can make any instrument “sing”, the faith is in the ability to just let yourself be in that space and envelope the “sound” from whatever or whoever is on offer.