Monday, September 22, 2008

jazz standards and signs

In the last three days, I estimate that I attended approximately fifteen hours of jazz. My father, a jazz fellow from Jersey, flew out for the Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) and I was lucky enough to be his guest. We're one year past the fiftieth anniversary of the MJF and the tickets are not so easy to come by. Priority goes to the prior year's attendees and on any given year, well over eighty percent of the base returns.

While the almost biospherically diverse roster rocked it by and large--Maceo Parker's Brownian funk, the charismatic Jamie Cullum jumping around on (and I do mean literally jumping around on) his poor piano like a (cute) drug-fueled monkey, the somehow mezozoic charge of Herbie Hancock's odd electronics, hot-stuff local Ledisi--I admit I had my share of tunes I'd just as soon have skipped. Per esempio, I know I exhibit a lack of sophistication for even saying it, but the Wayne Shorter posse came out and performed what I can only call a hyperextended rendition of what a band might sound like if it were stepped on by Godzilla for an uninterrupted twenty minutes, this sadistic honk-and-screech riffing set during the coldest snap of the foggiest night of my sleepiest spell. Wayne and I lack a future together.

Several of the other performers, however--Ledisi, the Maria Schneider Orchestra in particular--are already imported into my iTunes. And I'm thankful for that. But all that said, as much of an ingrate as it may make me in your eyes, I think my favorite part of all that jazz (you cannot begrudge me that phrase; the sentence longed for it!) was the walk to and from the festival with my father. We hardly talked at all. He's quiet and I'm something of a space cadet when presented with so much auditory stimulus. So we'd walk the long avenue under the street lights, veteran concert-goers hustling past us with their absurd brand-emblazoned stadium cushions tucked under their arms and backpacks full of god-knows-what jammed full for the day's every possibility, and hands-free and cells-off, we just breathed in the night air and moved.

Some treasures from that stroll:

Sap is the new soap. Well done, bathroom vandals!

If only everyone had this sense of humor about being so evidently sideswiped.

Taken out of context, this sign fills me with glee. The apparently beautiful directors who sponsored this segment of the fence have many, many friends looking out for them in heaven.