I'm a freelance writer by day and a working jazz musician by night, and often I am able to combine my two lines of work. This blog is for posting gigs & various rants about music and life in general.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

iowa city jazz festival

I wish I had gotten around to posting about the Iowa City Jazz Festival sooner, when it was fresh in my mind. But I suppose some notes are better than none, so here we go.

First I should say that it was great that the city was still able to put on this event. Iowa City and its neighbor, Coralville, experienced severe flooding in June. By the first weekend in July, many parts of the University were still underwater. In fact, roads just a few blocks from the festival area that were closed due to flooding. Downtown Iowa City was high and dry, so the festival was able to continue.

The past few years have been sort of disappointing, IMHO, from a musical point. I'm not into super avant garde styles, and a lot of groups of that nature have been featured in the past. This year, however, the selection appealed to my own taste much more heartily.

My favorite groups this year were two of the headliners, John Scofield and the Scohorns, and Joshua Redman. I've seen Scofield before--one time at a previous IC festival where he was unfortunately rained out--and while I don't love love love his music, I do find it very interesting and enjoyable to listen to. Redman, on the other hand, I had never seen and was glad for this opportunity. I would provide a more thorough report on his performance, but at that time (he was the last act of the evening) I was tending to an increasingly crabby 2-year-old who hadn't had a nap in two days. What I did hear was outstanding, though. Redman is a very talented musician. Great sound, great approach to musicality, fun to listen to. I hope to see him again sometime soon.

I also enjoyed Brent Sandy's group. Brent is an Iowa-based trumpet player, whom I met during my college days. He and fellow musician Steve Grismore (guitar) would perform occasionaly at Cherry Street, the weekly jam session, with their group at the time, The Odd Bar Trio. They would often hang out afterwards and were always very encouraging to us younger aspiring musicians. Brent and Steve have fronted a variety of groups of the years, and they're always great to listen to.

Didn't get to IC this year? Some folks have already posted some clips on YouTube of the festival. Check these out!

And more info on the festival from the local newspaper.


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