Jazz In Marciac Festival: Days 14-15 and "Best Of" Awards
This is all about failed expectations and in that respect Shorter edges out vocalist Sara Lazarus' lackadaisical performance as the warm-up act for Wynton Marsalis a week earlier. Not all of it was Shorter's doing - there were instrumentation and technical problems - but his minimal, low-effort contribution on a night when his trio of co-players were hitting their stride meant ending the festival's featured acts on a low note. His current work is too strong to consider him a candidate for late-life frailness on stage like Miles Davis or Oscar Peterson, so chalk it up as a "stuff happens" moment. Lazarus might have passed muster on other nights, but one expects more from a show preceding the festival's "godfather" on a weekend night.
Also deserving mention: Popa Chubby, for cranking up the volume on his blues performance to the point of invading pianist Abdullah Ibrahim's show six blocks away. The dial doesn't always have to go to 11.