Saturday, September 20, 2008

51st Monterey Jazz Festival presented by Verizon

The festival has been incredible so far. Joshua Redman opened the festival on the main stage, followed by Cassandra Wilson. Maraca closed the evening with a special project of traditional Cuban music entitled "Cuban Lullabies". Maraca was on flute for most of the set, and was accompanied by Horacio El Negro Hernandez on drums, Giovanni Hidalgo on percussion, and Miguel Zenon on sax. I also managed to catch a great up-and-coming vocalist, Spencer Day, and young lioness Anat Cohen, both were new to most of the festival audience.

The afternoon highlights included Ledisi, Maceo Parker, Derrick Trucks, and others. What had to be the high point of the day, and likely will be for the festival, was the an open interview session with Nancy Wilson. The festival features at least one of these "conversations" each year, to give audiences a deeper view of an artist's personality. These are wonderful opportunities to see the personae of the artist when they are not in the midst of their act, and they frequently share priceless stories from their storied careers. Wilson has had a 55 year long career, and has a lot to tell; far more than could be condensed into a 75 minute discussion.

Well, break time is over. It's back to the fairgrounds for this evening's shows.

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