"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Monday, February 27, 2012

full on jazz

There are certain weekends that you look forward to for weeks, and that make you wonder how you will feel after it's over. This past weekend was one of those, and I must say, I feel a little crappy this Monday... suffering from weekend withdrawal, I suppose. This weekend was filled with eating fish fillet three ways (both homemade and pre-prepared, unprocessed and processed), museum exhibits, trying out meatBALLS, and, the headlining highlight - live world class jazz.

(photo cred: here)

We went to the Kennedy Center to hear/watch Wynton Marsalis (WM) and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and it was amahzing. Despite having weird single-file seats next to a rail (you get what you pay for), I was super excited to see him in real life with this characteristic brushed-brass horn with the cool smooth mouthpiece (is the mouthpiece unique to Monette trumpets? Or are the different types of mouthpieces specific to certain kind of horn or sound? See below for a comparison of mouthpieces. Perhaps I should do more research on trumpets.)

(pic cred: Amazon)

(photo cred: WM's Facebook page)

Anyway, the set they played was great, diverse and fun...  I'm so bad. I can't remember all the pieces they played, but the set included the Basque Song and the Big Train (both written by WM).  The  three movements of the Big Train that were played - Bullet Train, Sleeper Car, and Caboose - were excellent and witty. My favorite was WM's rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider, which was playful and varied.

Perhaps the man on the stage with the most groove in him was Joe Temperley, the baritone and soprano sax and bass clarinet player. He must be in his 70s. You could see how much he was feeling the music, yelping, singing, grooving... and his sound was so smooth.

I was amused by the casual demeanor of the orchestra. It was almost like you were watching them in an informal jam session and were truly amongst friends. It wasn't my first live jazz performance, but I was impressed that a group that's best in the business was so casz cool.  I was also amused by WM being amused by his bandmates. He was truly surprised and impressed by their improvisation...speaking of which...a trombonist was in the middle of a solo when he couldn't find his plunger. He then continued his excellent solo while looking for it, then used his hand as a mute, then eventually found an actual mute and used it. Amahzing!

I also loved all the stomping, clapping and singing by the orchestra.

I wrote years ago about how music is food, and am grateful that this weekend, I again found myself in this area, at a completely affordable live musical performance, completely satiated.

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