2003 East Coast Jazz Festival, Feb. 13-16, 2003
Sunday's closing schedule was thrown a curveball - or better yet, a snowball - as the President's Weekend Storm shifted into overdrive. A number of performers were unable to travel, leaving organizers and musicians scrambling to put together the eight mainstage sets. But jazz is improvising, after all, and some wondrous music evolved, especially when vibraphonist Harris pinch-hit in the impish organist Lonnie Smith's quartet. Richie "Alto Madness" Cole zinged a few bars of "Jingle Bells" into one tune, and Linda Hopkins was drafted for an encore set, even bluer and bawdier than the day before, with Davey Yarborough wailing away on tenor like a throwback to the Ray Charles or Fats Domino bands of the early '50s.
Then it was time to skedaddle out of town, a daunting task given that subways, buses, taxis and airplanes were all stuck in two feet of snow. Our nation's capital may be good at winning wars, but it's no match for a blizzard.