The last night of the Monterey Jazz Festival is always bitter sweet. We hate for it to end, but we leave bursting full of positive experiences, the memory of amazing music, and a couple of fried artichokes. Sunday was a full day at the mini-Amoeba tent with signings from Joe Lovano (see previous blog post), Along Came Betty, David Sanborn & Bob James, Tammy Hall, and Davina & The Vagabonds.
Along Came Betty celebrates the spirit of hard-bop, a seminal movement of '50s and '60s jazz music. But the quintet has become much more than a homage to an important era of jazz history. Pianist and prolific composer Biff Smith's sophisticated yet highly accessible compositions blend elements of that era with modern sensibilities. The rich sound of harmonized sax and trumpet backed by the classic piano, bass, and drums rhythm section result in fresh, straight-ahead jazz.
Next we welcomed not one but two legends to our signing table, alto saxophonist David Sanborn and keyboardist-composer-arranger Bob James, who were celebrating their second creative collaboration Quartette Humaine (available on CD and LP). This collaboration comes a quarter century after their first, the million-selling GRAMMY® Award-winning Double Vision.
Next we welcomed pianist, organist, composer, and arranger Tammy Hall, who is a Bay Area resident, seasoned soloist, and sought-after accompanist. Her gorgeously refined and sensitive technique attracted admirers in droves to the signing.
Davina and the Vagabonds closed out the night for us at the mini-Amoeba, signing for the largest crowd of fans assembled all day. Having just played the Garden Stage, where the band tore it up and good, Davina and the Vagabonds were in high spirits and joked, hugged, and posed with devotees. Davina and the Vagabonds are from The Twin Cities, Minnesota, where they are known as being the busiest band in town because of their hard-working professionalism, high energy stage performance, and original sound. Check out this interview, conducted by Monterey Jazz Festival Talent Coordinator and monster guitarist, Bennett Jackson:
See all of our coverage from the Monterey Jazz Festival HERE!