The Seasons Festival So Far

This festival has so many elements that it fits in only one category, Music. Its jazz, classical, cabaret, and percussion aspects have flowed in an outpouring of music that blends in a steam of consciousness experience for the listener. All of the events have been public except for one intimate gathering designed to entice deep-pockets supporters to assure this unusual festival’s future.
The performance that has so far most dramatically expressed the eclectic vision of the festival’s founders was a live version of a three-part suite first heard on a Brubeck Brothers Quartet CD. The album is called Classified, but Chris Brubeck.jpgcomposer Chris Brubeck’s “Vignettes for Nonette” is unclassifiable. It combined the Brubeck Brothers band with the Imani Winds, a woodwind quintet of classical musicians who understand swinging. The technical complexity of Brubeck’s writing is leavened with drama, humor and–notably in the second movement–grandeur. It has sections of improvisation for the jazz quartet and, this being a Brubeck work, challenging time signatures. The Seasons audience was brought to its feet cheering the emotion and wit of the music, the verve and obvious enjoyment of the nine players and the power of Dan Brubeck’s drumming in the final movement. Programming the concert, the Brubecks were wise to combine with the Imanis in the second set. Impressive as the Brubeck brothers, pianist Chuck Lamb and guitarist Mike DeMicco were before intermission, it would have been tough to follow the collaboration with Imani on “Vignettes” and their rousing combined-forces encore, Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk.”
Later today, I’ll post more on the festival, including something about that private event, if car shopping and rehearsal time allow. I’ve been drafted to do a reading and fool around on trumpet with Matt Wilson’s quartet at tonight’s concert.

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  1. Pat Strosahl says

    Judith Schlesinger’s perceptive review of “Classified” held particularly true on the night of the performance at The Seasons. It was a completely natural blending of classical and jazz. The meat of the composition is contemporary classical – a la Milhaud or Hindemith: the infusion of a jazz sensibility and a rhythm section creates “air” around the dense thematic material and adds to the pulse without “jazzing-up” the piece or deflecting the thematic drive.
    The great news is that, after hearing what might have been called “challenging” music played live, the audience virtually leapt to their feet to applaud the music.
    The fortuitous blending of traditions — and the enthusiastic audience response — encapsulates the dream of The Seasons Music Festival. We thank Chris Brubeck, the BBQ, and Imani Winds for bringing it to us.