I need a weekend to recover from the weekend. Greg and I started our trek through the Athens Winter Jazz/Blues Festival by going to Casa Nueva Friday night. We headed out about the time I’m normally going to bed. We heard some excellent old rock and roll by the D&R Studio Band and then some good ole blues by the R&B Station. Mike Doughty of the R&B Station is the mastermind behind the festival. He also did a great job tutoring Sarah on the bass at the workshop on Saturday. With his help, we may have convinced her to stay with it – she CAN do it.
Mark Pender is absolutely the nicest guy and a real trooper. After flight delays out of NYC he didn’t get to Athens until 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning. He was at Alexander High School by 9:45 and spent the day working with our kids on improvisation, playing technique. I love what he told them about practicing –every day even for a little bit. I know they hear it from teachers and parents but maybe hearing it from someone famous it will sink in. (nah- probably not). Anyway, from there he went to dinner at Toscano’s (delicious) with the members of R&B Station, the Athens County Convention and Visitor Center employees, and the VIPS (of which Greg and I were two). He ate his dinner and then promptly got up and joined the Jazztet for a set before embarking on an incredibly long evening of playing at every venue in the festival.
We left Toscano’s and headed to ArtsWest to hear the Alexander Jazz Band play. Mark joined them there and helped them show off what they had learned through the workshop. They ended the concert by parading the entire band (except the rhythm section that stayed on stage to hold things together – great job gang!) and improvising on a tune, BABY, he had brought with him.
From there we went to Brenen’s Coffee House and took Sarah and Kyle with us. We heard a very entertaining, excellent performance by Cheryl Renee. I didn’t buy her CD that night, but I ordered it this morning. After a TWO HOUR set by Cheryl Renee, that woman is an amazing powerhouse to perform by herself for that long, Mark played with her on the last couple of numbers. We then headed out to Casa to hear R&B Station one more time.
Sunday was a full day of jazz and blues by II Juicy, OU Jazz, Alex Jazz, R&B Station. We didn’t quite make it through the whole concert. Four hours is a long time for Hannah to hang out some place like that. But, we loved II Juicy. The vocalist, Juicy, was incredible and very versatile, the band was T-I-G-H-T tight. Absolute terrificly entertaining.
OU Jazz played some wonderful big band jazz. We are looking forward to going to their concert on February 29. And of course, our Alex Kids made us proud by giving an even better performance on Sunday than they did on Saturday. You guys ROCK!
I hope to get a slideshow put together from the entire weekend. But, I have some real work to do first. I think the Kindermusik families would prefer I have lesson plans done this week. My bank account would prefer I do some billing and office work. So, I’ll get pictures up soon. Until then, I will post this one of Sarah, Mark and I taken at Brenen’s Saturday evening.