|Davina Sowers by John Whiting|
A conversation with Jazz Master Lou Donaldson is an exercise in hilarity. At 86, he may look sleepy and frail, but he's quicker with a comeback than most 20-year-olds. We learned that Sunday afternoon, when Willard Jenkins, jazz journalist (and coauthor with Randy Weston of Weston's autobiography, "African Rhythms"), interviewed Donaldson in Dizzy's Den.
The conversation was also supposed to include fellow Jazz Master Bobby Hutcherson, who couldn't make it (but performed later; more on that below).
A few moments from the Jenkins-Donaldson exchange:
Willard Jenkins: "What would you say to a young person today who comes to jazz without knowing the blues?"
Lou Donaldson: "I'd say he should look for a day job."
WJ: "What advice would you give a young person who wants to be a jazz musician?"
LD: "I'd have to hear them first."
WJ: "If you hear them and they have some possibility, what do you tell them?"
LD: "I tell them, you got some possibilities."
WJ: "How did it feel to receive the NEA Jazz Master award?"
LD: "I didn't feel nothing, because I should have got it 30 years ago."
|Willard Jenkins and Lou Donaldson by John Whiting|
At the Arena, Bob James and David Sanborn drew a huge crowd. Their Quartette Humaine with famed drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus was one of the most talked-about events of the Festival, and the line that formed later for CD signings one of the longest.
|Bob James David Sanborn, Steve Gadd, and James Genus by John Whiting|
|Sanborn and James at their signing by John Whiting|
|Davina and the Vagabonds by John Whiting|
|Dan Eikmeier and Ben Link by John Whiting|
|Part of Davina's crowd|
A Monterey insider called this performance "one of those rare Monterey moments when everything comes together -- the band, the music, the audience, the weather." Their CDs sold out before their signing, scheduled for after the show, but people lined up anyway to meet them, holding out tickets and programs and scraps of paper to be signed. Afterward, a spur-of-the-moment interview was recorded, and the interviewer's first words were, "You're being called the break-out act of this year's Festival." Read a profile of Davina here.
NEA Jazz Master Wayne Shorter celebrated his 80th birthday in the Arena with a transporting concert by his brilliant, telepathic, and committed quartet (together 13 years now and counting) of Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums. (Shorter's actual birthday: August 25. Close enough.) It was a whirlwind of music, a tsunami that lifted you up to where the planes flew overhead. Dense and intense, with Shorter on the soprano saxophone the whole time. Others who were there could distinguish bits of melodies from Shorter's book, including "Plaza Real" and "Orbits." For me, it was an immersive experience where nothing was immediately recognizable but everything felt familiar - and new. This might not make a bit of sense, but that's how it was.
|Danilo Perez, Wayne Shorter, John Patitucci, and Brian Blade by John Whiting|
|John Patitucci and Brian Blade by John Whiting|
|Wayne Shorter by John Whiting|
|Danilo Perez and Wayne Shorter by John Whiting|
|The Wayne Shorter Quartet by John Whiting|
|Bobby Hutcherson by John Whiting|
|The Bobby Hutcherson Quartet by John Whiting|
|Dr. Lonnie Smith by John Whiting|
|Lou Donaldson by John Whiting|
|Dr. Lonnie Smith and Lou Donaldson by John Whiting|
The rest of the night -- which lasted well beyond the official 11 p.m. end time -- belonged to the Doctor, his amazing instrument, and his colorful music: a sepulchral tune that began with his low-pitched warning to "Get out of the woods!" and morphed into "My Favorite Things;" a song from "The Healer," released in 2012 on his own label, Pilgrimage; a slow and lovely ballad with a gospel feel. We thought -- this might be the end, and he'll close with a kind of blessing, as Bobby McFerrin did on Saturday.
|Jonathan Kreisberg, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Johnathan Blake by John Whiting|
|Johnathan Blake by John Whiting|
Now that's the way to close a festival.
|Jonathan Kreisberg and Dr. Lonnie Smith by John Whiting|
|Dr. Lonnie Smith by John Whiting|
All photos copyright (C) 2013 by John Whiting