We were a-jammin’ and a-jivin’ at the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival yesterday located at the Monterey fairgrounds. The quality of the musicians was over the top. This was a new “live” experience for us and we enjoyed every minute. We listened to three different performers at the Garden Stage. There were other “Grounds” stages, but this was our favorite. The Garden Stage is outdoors with bleacher seats and grassy areas. We got there when the fairgrounds opened and staked out a spot with our blanket under a large shady tree near the stage.
The most well-known musicians (Harry Connick, Jr., Chick Corea, Dianne Reeves—just to name a few) play in “The Arena” in the evening. The Arena seats are much coveted even to the extent they are sought after during divorce proceedings. Of course, we were not able to get tickets to “The Arena”. Just think of it, in the first year of the festival in 1957, Billie Holiday sang on that stage. That would have been something to see. Between the big name musicians and celebrities flying into the small airport located next to the fairgrounds, I lost count at twenty private jets—not small planes—large private jets.
The Johnny Nocturne Band was our favorite. They have been around a long time, and are all phenomenal. The guitar player was out of this world.
Never listened to gospel soul before, but Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens had the crowd standing and clapping and swaying to the music. People get into a frenzy over this stuff; and admittedly, it was fun to listen to and watch. Old Naomi did not stop for over an hour and a half. We still cannot believe that big voice came out of that little woman. I want some of her stamina.
Lastly, Trombone Shorty played. What a performer! He plays the trombone like the devil and the trumpet and the drums and sings. The crowd went wild! The only downside to this was we unfortunately parked our blanket in front of the speakers and his music and his band were LOUD! We tried stuffing our ears with bits of napkin which helped some, but we finally had to pick up and move way in the back.
The first two acts were crowded, but when young Trombone Shorty came on stage the place was packed—people sat down in the aisles, they were up on limbs in all the trees, and they squeezed into every bit of space they could. Add to this, they all wanted to wiggle their booty (Side note: Some men should not dance to jazz.) It was crazy and fun to watch! I swear Yoko Ono was dancing just like Mick Jagger next to us—looked just like her and she was a little wacko, too.
Oh, and the food was to die for. New favorite meat is alligator. We think it tastes like a sweet, chewy pork. This came from a New Orleans food vendor, and they cooked the meat with a spicy deep fry served on a stick . Groan..so good. The whole time we were listening to the music you can smell all this delicious food—Cajun, Italian, Thai, BBQ—it was all there. Even the food courts (note: more than one) had small jazz bands playing.
Wow, can you spell “over-stimulated”? We need a few days to rest.