Saskatchewan Jazz Festival 2005
Dedicating Pink Floyd's "We Don't Need No Education" to Michael Jackson ("leave those kids alone") instead of the last day of school seems a bit odd and the instrumentals seem mostly into crowd-pleasing riffs, sort of like Kenny G's insisting on endless circular breathing until the crowd applauds. Still, the crowd is large and generally receptive, making the festival's goal of reaching younger listeners a success in that regard.
Sandoval's delayed show at the Broadway Theatre, meanwhile, is described as "high energy" by Tony Allen, a retired teacher who volunteers for the shows there all week.
"They were tired but, my gosh, they never stopped," he says. "They played for nearly two hours and the breaks between songs lasted about 10 seconds."
Sandoval was constantly in motion, changing instruments and singing at times, Allen adds.
There's also an all-ages jam session featuring the Brothers Jazz at The Bassment, a downtown club popular for jazz throughout the year. In retrospect this may have been the best option for my mission and taste, but I make the mistake of assuming more such sessions are likely without actually reading the full week's lineup.
Tuesday: Freeform and Dave Holland don't mix
Even the freest improvisers need to follow some rules to be effective.
The best make even the most improper notes sound correct - as Charlie Parker did to taunt a skeptical young Miles Davis - but the landscape is littered with so-called musicians whose "play what you feel" mentality is little more than random, ear-assaulting noise.
Today I contribute my own bit of noise pollution off the stage.
The day is cold and occasionally rainy, so a sparse crowd takes in the lunchtime park performance by the Fred Ballantyne Quartet, where I'm selling souvenirs again. It's a better fit and less sleepy than the previous day's concert, with standards like "Don't Get Around Much Any More" and "Satin Doll" played in a classically disciplined style. Not especially innovative, but also no real missteps except a couple of poor vocal numbers that feel like a get-your-feet-wet experiment for one of the band's members.
At about 2:30 p.m. is my glory duty for the day: A meet-and-greet for Dave Holland's quintet, although they're a bit late arriving from the airport. I sort out their room keys, meal tickets and lists of room assignments, attaching them with paper clips that have to be scrounged for one-by-one from around the hospitality room.
I wait with a second volunteer, a middle-age woman, near the entrance for the van to arrive. She encounters a woman leaving the hotel she obviously knows and they spend a few minute chatting, seemingly about art. I'm staring out the door looking for anything resembling the festival's minivans. Only after the woman is gone do I learn the stranger is Joni Mitchell, who was raised in Saskatoon and wrote "Big Yellow Taxi" sitting in a local cafe. Apparently she's in town helping a friend with an art-related project.
Holland's van pulls up moments later, and I hold the door open and utter the usual cheerful greetings as everyone but his manager enters. There's something surreal about introductions involving people whose names, faces and talent are so familiar - "Hi, I'm Dave; this is Chris Potter" and so on - but it's all quick enough there isn't time for me to utter anything overtly stupid, as nearly everyone heads for their rooms immediately after getting their keys.
"Can we take you on the road with us? You've all been so helpful," Holland says. He's probably said the same thing in a thousand hotel lobbies; still, it feels sincere and appreciated.
He asks the hotel clerk about internet access in the rooms, which they have. He asks us if there's going to be any snacks at the late-afternoon sound check at the Broadway Theatre. Wine and drinks are on the list, but apparently no munchies. He doesn't seem too perturbed, but after I do my last meet-and-greet duty by storing his manager's bag - with a probably-too-familiar "Dave, just so you know, your extra bag will be here in the hospitality room for the moment" - I ask the volunteer coordinators about a quick impromptu run to store, offering to pay for the snacks since the other volunteer is willing to drive, seeing as how there's no official approval for the expense.
I'm not the only Holland fan in the room, but they explain to me it just isn't done that way - there's a need to stay within defined contracts and protocol, track expenses even if it's volunteer money. Upon later reflection it makes sense - if snacks show up with no record, someone not in-the-know is likely to go nuts and waste a lot of time figuring out where they came from.
Ultimately, after about three minutes of discussion by the people who know what they're doing, it appears some food will be fetched on-the-fly after the band is dropped off.