Apparently, jazz is my bag. After spending a weekend watching some crazy cats wail on their axes, I’m officially booted. Ok, maybe not officially. As a jazz novice, I had no idea what to expect, but I had a media pass, an accomplice and time to kill.
On Oct. 12-14, the Medford Jazz Jubilee brought musicians and fans from far and wide to venues ranging from the Craterian to the basement of the Elk’s lodge. Performers highlighted the wide range of contemporary and classic jazz and ranged from big band, to Dixie-Land, to zydeco.
More than anything, the performances surprised me with the quality
and variety of the musicians. Among them were international favorites,
twenty-year veterans, and young, local talents. I was also unprepared
for just how much I enjoyed hearing real music and watching people
I had the chance to attend a Cajun/zydeco
performance in the Elk’s Lodge that left me with a craving for gumbo
and the ardent wish that my generation had learned to dance like the
baby-boomers tearing up the hardwood. My budding appreciation for jazz
was solidified by the open-air Vogel Plaza performance with some of the
area’s finest young talents, and the Coronet Chop-Suey’s tribute to the
music and life of Louis Armstrong had me dreading the moment I’d have
to open my eyes and stop nodding my head to the beat.
In addition to
the performances, the jubilee brought a silent auction, performances to
local schools, free dance lessons, a golf tournament, and a champagne
breakfast. The jubilee is a non-profit organization dedicated to the
awareness and furthering of jazz music as an art form.
tickets for the entire weekend are well worth it, those with less time
to spare can purchase tickets next year for the day of their choice, or
simply attend the free, open-air events in Vogel plaza (including the
parasol parade). Over the last 19 years the jubilee has donated more
than $95,000 to youth music program, and have had more than a few good
times in the process.
Rest assured, you don’t have to be hip to
the jive to check out next year’s jubilee, any number of cool cats who
know their onions are more than willing to get you on the up and up.
By Crystal Millien
Of the Independent