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Reflections On The Jazz Fest

Sunday June 9, 2013

A sleeping bandstand
I miss the crowds already
Jazzy souveniers.


Saturday June 8, 2013

A student asked if
I had a second career.
Yes. Chasing music.

Some days I even
Dream of sight singing the clouds
And the mountain tops.

Hearing the chatter
Of fans smitten with solos
Excites me like fall.

What is the sound of
Jasmine scented evening air?
Gretchen Parlato.

After tomorrow-
The festival packs its bags-
Warmth in November.

Church Street at night fall:
Sunset colored melodies .
A fan's lonely smile.

-Reuben Jackson
Thursday Medley (aka Reuben's "I Wonder As Wander" mix)
June 6, 2013

Brooding downtown sky.
A brief chorus of rainfall-
Puddles on the stage.

The night wind tells me
It would take up piano-
If it had the time.

A woman dancing 
like a fall leaf in the wind.
The blues turns and smiles.

Teenage bass player-
His hands sing like Sinatra
I'm too moved to clap.

Curious tourist
Asks what my line of work is-
Chasing saxophones.

June 4, 2013

I spent much of Monday afternoon (and Monday evening) drinking in the music on the Church Street Marketplace, and reveling in the company of fellow music lovers. Talking with former strangers about the joys of a particular recording (or a solo we just witnessed and felt) is as much a part of the Discover Jazz Festival as the magic heard and seen on the festival's many stages.

The photos above and haiku below are but a smidgen of the "vibe" I experienced.  The good news-there is still more music (and humanity) to come..- Reuben Jackson

Salsa music blooms
In the early June evening.
The future dances.


Ray Vega's trumpet
Crackles and soothes June air
Angels dance on clouds.


After the stories
from brass and drums and voices -
Solos of applause

June 3, 2013

What would the stern but loving
church-going elders of my Georgia and Washington, D.C. youth have thought of Bobby Mc Ferrin's tender, swinging (and kaleidoscopic ) performance of spirituals?

Not even a formidable head cold would prevent me from finding out.   Besides, it had been too long since I'd seen the always charming and ultra-compelling Mr. Mc Ferrin onstage.  I jotted these attempts at capturing his performance of material from the new Spirityouall collection shortly after Saturday night's performance.

I could feel the sand
In my brand new Sunday shoes
On rural back roads.

His vocals conjured
Blues dark as country evenings-
Whispered falsettos.

The ensemble swung -
Transported us beyond the
Humid world outside.

Walking up Church Street-
Concertgoers sang bits of
Mc Ferrin's magic.

If they'd sold his charm
At the Flynn's concession stands-
I'd have bought a case.

-Reuben Jackson

May 31, 2013

Spotlit instruments
Like moonlight on Vermont hills.
Musical landscapes.

Ever since I embarrassed my older brother before, during and after a James Brown concert at Washington, DC's Howard Theater with my squeals of delight, aisle dancing and post-performance chatter,  I have reveled in the anticipation of concert performances as much as the music itself.

So while I have done a pretty decent job of maintaining an impassive facade, my insides are feverishly counting down the hours and minutes until the first notes of the 30th annual Discover Jazz Festival make their way into the hearts and ears of music lovers like yours truly!

I've had the pleasure of seeing internationally celebrated artists such as Bobby McFerrin and Eliane Elias before, but if the word jazz means anything in 2013, the definition might read: possibility.

Where might these skilled artists take material we listeners have committed to memory
in the next few days? Will they disappoint? Will they rekindle or reintroduce us to that which drew us to music in the first place?  To quote from a poem by Jack Kerouac: What will happen?

Watch this space for photos, poems, and other (hopefully) blog-worthy entries in between bites of the music.  Can't wait to chase the music with fellow jazz-crazed individuals. But I guess you figured that out-right?

Reuben was the host of Friday Night Jazz on VPR.
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