Taking pictures wasn’t one of my main objectives at the Newport Jazz Festival this year and this isn’t very inclusive of what went on there. Even if I had tried to document it comprehensively, I couldn’t have there was just too too much going on.
It was funny, last year I took a lot of pictures. A week later I was looking at the blog post of a professional photographer who had documented the festival. It was as if we had been to two different festivals. Of all the acts that we had both seen there was only one that we both had pictures of.
I’m not a photographer, these are just the best photos that I took.
A couple of weeks ago my friend John Murphy invited me to see his collection of Newport Jazz and Folk Festival memorabilia. John is a former WRIU jazz radio host (aka, The Monsignor or John of Jamestown) and has been going to the Newport festivals since the early 1960s. I wish I had recorded our conversation, he had stories about Duke Ellington and James Brown that I wish I could remember.
The note in the autograph from Myself Among Others relates to having to pull the plug on Jimmy Smith in 1965. The police were about to shut down the festival for running too late and the band was showing no signs of stopping.
John told a story about how he had ordered tickets by mail for the 1966 Folk Festival. When he went to pick them up at the ticket window there were none there. To make good on the error they gave him very good seats right up front, sitting next to Pete Seeger and his wife. He said they were very friendly and he ended up going home with Seeger’s program with his notes for the day inside.
While cleaning out some boxes the other day I came upon an old Hartford Advocate from April 12, 1978. The Jazz, Rock and Pop listings made me wish I could go back in time and catch some of these shows John Zorn and Eugene Chadbourn, Phil Woods, Al DiMeola, Oliver Lake, And Lee Konitz. Unfortunately I had never heard of any of these people in April 1978.
I posted the clipping of Tower of Power mostly because of the Logo art for Jim Koplik and Shelly Finkel. I also included the listing below Lee Konitz because of Fountain Head (sic) and Firefox. Of course the Shaboo ad has Rhode Island’s own Roomful of Blues no doubt still with Duke Robillard on guitar at that time and Connecticut’s Eight to the Bar who also still perform.
One of the things that I do at Jazz New England is to try to dig up some of the regional jazz lore. I grew up in Connecticut and came of age in the mid to late 1970s. I came to love jazz in a large part because there was so much jazz in Hartford, often for free. That and the fact that as WPLR and WHCN turned from early freeform FM to more commercial Album Oriented Rock I listened more and more to WWUH that played Jazz, Fusion and Progressive rock. Even before I was old enough to go to clubs there were the Peace Train and Monday Night Jazz concerts in Bushnell park and the events at Real Art Ways that all featured world class and cutting edge performers.
I’m a Rhode Islander now and Rhode Island has it’s own jazz culture and history which is suprisingly different from it’s neighbor. In the future I’ll explore it’s idiosyncrasies. Eventually I’d like to include all of New England but for now I’m going to go with what I know.