Savannah Jazz Festival: 2012 Day 7

Saturday is typically the biggest the day of the Jazz Festival, starting at 4:00- the line up,

4PM US Navy Band Southeast Dixieland Band “TGIF”
5:45PM Jazz Hall Of Fame w/Ben Tucker, Teddy Adams, Huxie Scott, and Howard Paul. Guest Artists: Warren Chiasson & Quentin Baxter
7PM Andreas Varady Quartet w/Scott Gidden, Delbert Felix and Pete Miles – Sponsored by Miner Wines & Benedetto Guitars
8:15PM Tony Monaco B3 Trio – Sponsored by Miner Wines & Benedetto Guitars
9:30PM Savannah Jazz Orchestra featuring sax greats Ed Calle & Sam Skelton – Sponsored by Jody Jazz Mouthpieces                                                                              

I spoke a little to soon about the rain.  It started raining last around 7:30ish.  Fortunately, the stage is covered so the equipment doesn’t get wet.  It wasn’t too heavy that it deterred people from staying.  Forsyth Park was packed.

Unfortunately, I missed a good portion of this day.  I was working most of the afternoon and up to 8:00.  I was really looking forward to seeing Andreas Varady.  He is a 15 year old jazz guitar virtuoso.  I had actually met him and his father the day before, in the Square I was working in.  I checked him out on youtube and it made me really sorry I missed him.  Check him out on the Late Late Show from last year  and see his other videos too!

By the time I got there, Tony Monaco was playing. I could hear the unmistakable sound of the Hammond B3 when I pulled up to Forsyth.   It was great walking music, from the entrance of the park all the way up.  On my way to find Alex (she had volunteered to work one of the booths)  I ran into some friends and everyone was having a great time.  It is hard not to when listening to B3 and someone who knows what they doing.  What I didn’t know until I got there, Howard Paul was in his group on the guitar!  That was a most pleasant surprise.  I saw what I think to be the second half of that show and… WOW!    I found the booth Alex was in and sat there and listened for a little while, then I went right up close.  There was some good energy coming of that stage.

The final act was the headliner of the Festival.  The Savannah Jazz Orchestra played a few tunes to get it rolling.  Of course, they were flawless. from what I could hear.  Sam Skelton came on and he did his half of the show.  As I said to my friend Brian, later on at the jam session- “What is up with Sam Skelton?  Is he from another planet?”  I have heard many saxophonists in the past week, and this guy was playing faster than anything I had heard all week.  He was simply amazing and the SJO was amazing too, in keeping up with him.

Ed Calle came on after him.  I had seen Ed Calle before when I was here 2009.  He played with the UNF Jazz Ensemble then.  I thought he was great then.  He came out last night and took off like a rocket.  He has a wonderful personality onstage when he comes out and backs that with incredible passion.  Don’t get me wrong, all of the musicians do, but something about  Ed’s energy onstage (to me, anyway) seems a little larger than life.  It was fun to see both them as the band leader while they each played, conducting the SJO, it just made for a show all the way around!

I left before Ed’s performance was over, so I do not know if  Ed and Sam had played together as “dueling saxophones” or not.  I know, what was I thinking leaving before that was over?!  It had been a long day.  Anyway, I don’t think I could describe how awesome it was if it did happen.

I almost didn’t make it to the Jam Session. It was about 11:30 when Alex called me from Blowin’ Smoke and told me to get down there.  I got dressed and went down and was glad she persuaded me to go.  Normally, the musicians that played on stage during the evening, are the ones in the Jam Session.  That wasn’t the case last night.  It didn’t matter, it was a great session.  It was also great talking to the musicians I know, and meeting some new ones and getting re-acquainted  with others.  We had a great night!  As always though, it is a bummer when it ends.

To me, the Jazz Festival is a great time all week to see friends and hang out and make new ones.  I am always a little sad when it ends.

I have to say the folks over at Blowin’ Smoke do a fantastic job.  Brian has the best staff working there and everyone seems to enjoy working there.  Many of them, I met at my first Jazz Festival in 2009 and they are still there!  If you come to Savannah, this is a BBQ joint you definitely have to check out.

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