Aug 6, 2009

Toledo Jazz Orchestra: Jazz in the Garden

Toledo Jazz Orchestra: Jazz in the Garden I spent a warm summer evening with my wife over at Toledo Botanical Garden listening to the Toledo Jazz Orchestra play as part of the Jazz in the Garden concert series. Approximately 1,000 people turned out this evening, and for the most part the mosquitoes refrained from turning the crowd into a mega-buffet.

The Jazz Orchestra was joined by Nate Gurley for seven songs, and Ann Arbor drummer extraordinnaire Pete Sears sat in with the group. Though a bit rusty from an eight-month break in performing, the Orchestra worked its way through two sets that highlighted Count Basie swing arrangements. Crowd-pleasing standards like "One O'Clock Jump" and "April in Paris" kept the crowd happy, and the Orchestra had a great groove going tonight.

The crowd definitely tended toward the gray-haired set, though a few families with children showed up. I fear, however, that this is indicative of the fading of jazz as a popular genre of music, and I hope that my worries are set aside by a resurgence of interest in this distinctly American musical form.

Anyways, the Jazz in the Garden series winds up with an August 13 concert featuring vocalist Ramona Collins, followed by the season-ending performance on August 20 by Los Gringos. Tickets are $7 each, and you can bring your own cooler plus your folding chairs or a blanket for a relaxing and entertaining evening. Food and beverages are available at the concerts, and you can wait for post-concert traffic to thin by strolling through the grounds of the Garden as the sun sets.


microdot said...

I was struck by your claim that jazz is a fading genre of music.
You are probably right in as much as jazz a popular music form in America cannot generate record sales and there are less and less venues for this music.
The music that the Toledo Jazz Orchestra plays is a classic repetoire of the age of swing and the glory days of big bands.
The jazz of Basie and Ellington and countless others was the popular music of its era.
The waning of jazz though, is unfortunate. It remains a vital evolving art form. All of the great American players are thriving here in Europe. 10,000 people will see Sonny Rollins play in Marsac, a small town in the Gers which has been home to a major jazz festival for years. Interestingly, Marsac has become the focus of new generation of young Jazz Musicians who grew up with the festival.
The two bigger cities near me, Perigueux and Brive-la-Gaillarde have many small and big ensembles which play all the time, full of veteran and young musicians.

Jazz lives here in Europe. It is a physical and cerebral art form. It demands the intellectual engagement of the listener.

Maybe the tide will turn in America and another geveration will take the traditions of jazz and forge new paths. It is always happening.

She's a Math Lover said...

Thanks for the wonderful evening! I really enjoyed relaxing in the park and can't wait to do it again! Also, I like the way the dissertation number is going!