The 30th annual Savannah Jazz Festival kicked off Sunday, Sept 18th with the usual jam session at Blowin’ Smoke, hosted by trombonist, Teddy Adams. It usually consists of local musicians of the jazz community and it is always a great show. Savannah is blessed to have so many wonderful jazz musicians in one spot. On the first day, with the jam session, there was a group of musicians who played for a while and people who want to go up and play with them, can. There are all types of musicians that go up and jam. From saxophonists, to singers to steel drums, you name it–they are all excellent! This goes on for several hours. At the back of the patio, the restaurant has an outdoor grill where they serve pulled pork platters, hamburgers, and other various items as well as beer and wine. It is a wonderful atmosphere as people sit or stand and listen to jazz standards, see some friends and even make some new ones.
On day 2 of the Savannah Jazz Festival they show a film, also outside on the patio of Blowin’ Smoke. Fours years ago, they started that. When I came two years ago, it was a film about The Baroness of Jazz- Pannonica Rothschild — Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. Last year, it was a film about the legendary jazz guitarist, Pat Martino, who is coincidentally the headliner for this year’s festival. This year they were going to show a film called “90 Miles” a story about cuban jazz. Instead there was a last-minute replacement and they showed “The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi” http://www.anatomyofvinceguaraldi.com/ At first I was disappointed when I heard about that, I was really looking forward to the Cuban Jazz story. But I was more than pleasantly surprised when this movie started. It was a wonderful film about Vince and his breakout tune “Cast Your Fate to the Wind”
On day 3, The Howard Paul Quartet played an amazing show from 7-10 at Blowin’ Smoke. The patio was packed and for good reason. Howard is the President and CEO of Benedetto Guitars http://benedettoguitars.com/ and he is an amazing jazz guitarist. He had special guest (and friend) Jody Espina, of Jody Jazz mouthpieces http://jodyjazz.com/ playing incredible saxophone. He also had Scott Giddens on B3 Organ and Pete Miles on drums. Over the past couple of years I have come to know Howard and Jody as musicians, friends and sometimes as a mentor. I have even had the pleasure and the honor of being to able to play with them on a couple of occasions. I got there a little over 30 minutes after they started, but stayed for the rest of the show. I have said to people, when either one plays a show with their own group, it is very powerful. When they get together and are in the same group, they are just simply awesome. I love how they compliment each other and the way they play off each other and the other musicians in the band. I wish I had a couple of pictures but the few I took last night didn’t come out very well.
To check out the rest of the line up the Jazz Festival, click here http://savannahjazzfestival.org/ The rest of the week is going to be fabulous!!