With just two shows to officially cover I hit the Jazz Fest scene amidst a sea of people. The streets were teeming with eager bodies, but the fun stopped there. Now perhaps I’m showing my ass here, and heating up my self-perceived cool, but I thought Tim Berne SnakeOil at Montage was the worst thing calling itself music I have heard in my life. I know the importance of improvisation and the application of noise in jazz — at least I thought I did — but these guys took the stage with music written down. It was ridiculous, it was insulting. There’s no way anyone wrote that down. It was just random, screeching note generation with no logic at all. It sounded like a gaggle of geese fucking or an ambulance demolition derby. It was shrill, it was loud, it was utterly awful. Call me a heretic if you want, but I wasn’t the only one leaving with "WTF" written across my face. Maybe I didn’t get it, or maybe it was truly snake oil.
At the other end of the spectrum was the Big Apple’s Amy Lynn and the Gunshow’s delightfully cool cabaret at the Little Theater. The material was extra fun with a wry twist, and the bari sax’s odd, clickity-clackity rhythmic mouthpiece attack was different and tres cool. The music came off like a less-abrasive Bette. They weren’t show tunes, but they could’ve been. Lynn's voice was beautiful, sassy, and sexy, and the horn-centric Gun Show was tight, alright, and outtasite.
So there you have it, another Jazz Fest down. I think we’ve reached cruising altitude with this one and don’t think they should make it any bigger. Logistically it’s already quite a sprawling affair. I would like to see more local bands plugged in to the mix and perhaps more free show stages — that seems to bring out the masses and really stir the social pot. And of course, I’m still holding out for Tom Waits. But for now it’s no jazz for me for a coupla days...right now it’s chocolate milk and my wife and my cats and Motorhead in my headphones. G’night.