Best Music Moments of 2011

You guys know what I mean.

If you don’t, then I’ll say it point blank: I love jazz. I love contemporary jazz, specifically. I chase it, I photograph it, and I travel with it.

I’ll be honest, this year had gotten more than a little bit madcap as far as traveling was concerned. I had gone to California, Philly, Texas, of course the Caribbean – and the destinations change year to year. And all of this had been in the name of my music.

I can’t really think of the best moments of 2011 and pick just the one that stands out the most. Especially now, in my hotel room in Connecticut, preparing for another show tomorrow night, I’m raking my mind over the moments of 2011 in the key of jazz.

1. Newport Beach Jazz Fest – my first time attending, my first time meeting my friends from across the country, and my first time seeing the sheer, unbridled enthusiasm with which California embraces its contemp jazz.

2. Dave Brubeck, without a mic, at the Note – let’s put aside for a moment that this was Dave Brubeck, the legend of jazz. This was the first time, in my three years of coming to the Note, that I have ever heard the entire club go silent when Dave was about to speak. There was reverence in the room that night.

3. Boney James at BB King’s – how long has it been since James had been in NYC? Answer: too damn long.

4. Joey Sommerville, Oli Silk, and Matt Marshak at the Houndstooth – I think the Houndstooth Jazz series had become the smaller, NYC version of a jazz festival (an ongoing one, at that), but this show in particular was a party, start to finish. Joey turned out the swag, the funk, and the salsa.

5. Acoustic Alchemy at the Iridium – another great contemporary jazz sound that hadn’t been around NYC for a long while, and if there is ever a piece of auditory magic, it’s The Beautiful Game. Fred White takes the signature Acoustic Alchemy sound and makes a hypnotic tapestry out of it in live show.

Not to mention, Steve Cole came back to Houndstooth, and Peter White did the Elvis at BB King’s – and I have photos to prove it!!!)… Just so many great moments, most of them spent with the people that I am delighted to call my friends.

I look forward to 2012. A lot.

I’ll leave you with a photo that I’ve snapped of Mindi Abair at BB King’s last week. I took it during Silent Night, and it surprised me. I did not retouch the photo in any way, and although I could up the contrast a bit…no. I like it exactly the way it is.

A very merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and a great winter season and New Year’s to those who do not.

K.G.

Copyright (c) KG Creative Enterprises
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