By Jeff Dayton-Johnson | KUSP – The festival is over, I’ve had a couple of decent nights’ sleep. I can’t quite shake the MJF blogging jones, so I am compelled to blog one final time.The conventional thing to do at this point is to draw up a list of the best moments of the festival. I’d rather share a list of my regrets.
- Showing Up Late: I regret showing up in the middle of a lot of shows, but I will forever kick myself for missing the first part of Artist-in-Residence Ambrose Akinmusire’s Friday night performance at Dizzy’s Den. Akinmusire showed up subsequently with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (of which he is an alum, and with whom he sounded generous and great) and with the closing Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour all-star blowing session. But in no context was he as incendiary, in the purest Coltrane emotional-politico-spiritual-aesthetic sense, as with his own group. The fragment of his show that I saw was the best thing I saw at the festival.
- Leaving Early: I regret having to leave early from many shows, but none more so than the Saturday Night Club set by trumpeter Christian Scott’s incredible quintet and pianist Tigran Hamasyan’s trio set at the Coffee House Gallery Sunday night. Both were smokin’ – like a lot of the shows, in fact – but with an innovative vibe, stretching the music in unusual ways. I was transfixed, in both cases – but I had to move on.
- Questions Unasked: While I’m on the subject of Ambrose Akinmusire (and I was), I should acknowledge that the trumpeter graciously consented to an impromptu KUSP interview, which you can hear elsewhere on this website. The whole thing lasted less than five minutes and I have so many questions I wish I had put to him. Let’s hope there’s a next time.
- Shows Unseen: I was within a hundred yards of these performances, and I couldn’t make it for even a second: Mulgrew Miller, Gerald Clayton, the Cal Tjader tribute, the Ninety Miles Band, Jack DeJohnette with Rudresh Mahathappa. How the hell is that possible?
- Beers Undrunk: I wish I had ordered a couple more of those Brother Thelonious ales that were on sale. They seem kind of an extravagance – the price, the calories, the alcohol content. But in the context of the festival, it seems fitting to quaff a couple. And I did. Why didn’t I quaff more? (Partly, I suppose, because the blog would have been even less intelligible than it was.)
- Thanks Unexpressed: The extended family of KUSP crew – on-air personalities, technical folks, volunteers, new media gang – and the MJF staff who helped us out were so great. It was a blast. Thanks! Looks like I don’t have to regret not thanking them for their camaraderie and help after all.