How Do You Keep the Music Playing? 2014 Festival Review

Sandy Evans and the Board of the NC Jazz Festival have answered the proverbial question of “How Do You Keep The Music Playing.” Their solution is to share the music and artists with young listeners in schools, Master Classes and providing tickets for them to attend the Festival.

Harry4This Festival celebrated the 34th edition this year with many world class musicians from mostly on the east coast but some with roots in other countries around the world.

This is far more than a local Festival or collection of musicians.  I met Patrons from Norfolk, Myrtle Beach, Ohio, Cary just to mention a few of the homes of attendees, even from Florida.  Over a period of 33 years the reputation of great music, facilities and of course musicians has made this event a magnet in February for a special weekend.

I was very excited when Festival President, Sandy Evans told me about the Festival for 2014.  Thursday Night again will be a Theme Night featuring a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim.  Featured musicians include Maucha Adnet who sang with Jobim for ten years.  A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil she now lives in New York City.  I have seen Maucha several times and she is a delight.  Her Jobim tribute will include on Tenor Saxophone, Harry Allen who will bring back the sounds of Stan Getz with Jobim along with his own signature sound.  On the guitar will be a new comer to the Festival, Nate Najar on guitar who currently has a new CD in tribute to Charlie Byrd. An Israeli native on piano will be Ehud Asherie.

adnet3The 2014 North Carolina Jazz Festival opened on Thursday evening with the celebrated music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, featuring the vocal presentation of Maucha Adnet.  The accompanying tenor sax of Harry Allen made the evening sound and feel like Jobim with Stan Getz.  Maucha sang with Jobim for ten years, so it was a great pairing of artists to the benefit of the Hilton Ballroom’s audience!  This evening in advance had been most highly anticipated by me, since I had previously heard Maucha and Harry Allen performing Jobim compositions in Pinehurst and at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York City.  In those performances they were joined by Joe Locke on vibes, Helio Alves on keyboards, and her husband Duduka Da Fonseca on drums.

nate1In the NCJF performance Maucha & Harry were accompanied by Chuck Redd on drums, Nate Najar on guitar, Ehud Asherie on keyboards, and Nicki Parrott on bass.  Najar and Ehud were making their first appearance at the NCJF, and they created memorable impressions throughout the evening.  Chuck Redd and Nicki Parrott contributed to keeping the time for the session and showed their true professionalism.  Harry was right at home with the Jobim music and Adnet.  He punctuated the vocals of Maucha throughout the evening.

Maucha Adnet sang many of the selections that are represented on her latest CD on the ZOHO label, Milagre.  Maucha, a native of Brazil, really was comfortable with the music and was very well received by the audience.  Some of the selections that she performed included Oh, Canatador, Waters of March, Desafinada, Amour Infinito, Milagre, Canto Trieste and April Child.

Maucha sang with such emotion and passion throughout the evening the audience never seemed to be concerned with the Portuguese language.  Portuguese is such a beautiful language that you get engrossed with the music and forget about the language differences. The Tribute to Jobim was a beautiful kick off for the festival.  In 2015 the Thursday night kick off will be a Tribute to the music of George Shearing.  I hope to see you at the 35th annual North Carolina Jazz Festival!

polcerAll star performers for 2014 included Trumpeter Bria Skonberg, Sax, Clarinet and Flute man Adrian Cunningham, Ed Polcer on Cornet along with the Jazz Ambassador Bucky Pizzarelli along with Chuck Redd on Drums and Vibes and Nikki Parrott on Bass.  This was just the beginning list of performers for Friday and Saturday nights.

The Saturday morning Patron’s Brunch prior to the Jazz Session with the Festival All Stars was another hit with both the musicians and the patrons.

This year there seemed to be younger attendees for the Festival which certainly is a good sign for keeping jazz alive and the music playing.

—Tom “theJazzman Mallison,