Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Cape May Jazz Festival, November 6-8, 2008

Ken Franckling By

Sign in to view read count
This 30th Cape May festival was billed as a tribute to late trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. It featured several former Ferguson sidemen, as well as a Friday night opener in which trumpeter Jon Faddis ably took on high-register responsibilities.
Cape May Jazz Festival
Cape May, NJ
November 6-8, 2008

For 15 years, the semi-annual Cape May Jazz Festival has been offering jazz-and-blues-filled weekends each April and November, to primarily East Coast jazz fans who flock to New Jersey's southernmost tip more for the music than the shopping, the colorful array of gingerbread Victorian houses, or the bird-watching that are the seaside city's other claims to fame.

The 30th edition of the Cape May Jazz Festival, held November 7-9, 2008, trimmed a bit in its offerings compared to years when it had an exhausting schedule for listeners, was also down quite a bit in turnout, which organizers blamed on the health of the economy.

This festival's schedule (five acts on Friday night and six on Saturday night) seemed more manageable for a listener, enabling a chance to hear more full sets rather than give in to the temptation to catch a little bit of a lot of acts when the festival offered as many as 10 or 12 different venues a night from Cape May's blend of theatres, hotel ballrooms and small clubs along Beach Drive.

This 30th Cape May festival was billed as a tribute to late trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, who appeared twice in Cape May as a headliner. It featured several former Ferguson sidemen, as well as a Friday night opener in which trumpeter Jon Faddis ably took on high-register responsibilities in a Ferguson tribute by the Atlantic City-based Ed Vezinho/Jim Ward Big Band, which performed Maynard's charts.

The material, showcased at Lower Cape May Regional High School's Performing Arts Center, included "Where's Teddy?," Slide Hampton's "Frame for the Blues," and the timeless ballad "Smile." Faddis, playing seated because of an ailing back, was particularly fine on the Don Sebesky arrangement of "Danny Boy," (featured on a 1964 Maynard recording that Faddis said he listened to a lot when he was growing up).

Before Faddis joined the fun, the band also played a stirring version of Ferguson's hit version of the Joe Zawinul tune "Birdland," featuring keyboard player Demetrios Pappas and bassist Jack Hegyi. Baritone saxophonist Denis DeBlasio, who was musical director for Maynard Ferguson for five years and now directs the Maynard Ferguson Institute for Jazz at Rowan University, performed with the big band, sharing a few "life on the bus with Maynard" stories. He also performed hard-driving bebop with his own quintet on Saturday at Carney's Main Room.

West Coast singer Jackie Ryan blended exuberant warmth and emotion with a great sense of swing in her opening set at the Grand Hotel Ballroom. She was particularly effective with her rendition of Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Opportunity Please Knock" (written for a street gang), "Besame Mucho," "Wild is the Wind," Cy Coleman's "The Best is Yet to Come" and "Red Top" (a Sonny Stitt tune to which King Pleasure wrote the lyrics).

Michael Pedicin Jr., a former Maynard Ferguson saxophonist, was featured at Carney's Other Room, with trumpeter Bob Ferguson in his band, a warmup of sorts for Ferguson's own Maynard tribute on Saturday night in Congress Hall's Boiler Room. (Bob Ferguson, no relation to the late bandleader, considered Doc Severinsen and Maynard Ferguson among his primary technical influences).

Santana tribute a Latin highlight

Percussionist Edgardo Cintron's septet, Inca, provided a Saturday afternoon highlight with his three-set tribute to Carlos Santana. He infused a wide range of the guitarist's material with a jazz twist. Cintron said he plans to release a Santana tribute CD next year. His third set performance included "Evil Ways," a cha cha version of "Hold On," "Stormy," "Samba Pa Ti," "Maria, Maria" and "Oye Como Va," the Tito Puente classic that was made famous by Santana's cover hit.

Two contemporary jazz headliners—the R&B/smooth jazz quintet Pieces of a Dream and saxophonist Pamela Williams—both mentored or taught by the late Grover Washington Jr., highlighted the Saturday night lineup.

Pieces of a Dream's material, at the Lower Cape May Performing Arts Center, ranged from the traditional ("The Old Rugged Cross") to a tribute to "Mr. Magic" Grover Washington to mainstream ("The Shadow of Your Smile"), from its own "Mount Airy Groove" to Prince's "Purple Rain." There was a lot of fiery interplay, particularly between guitarist Rohn Lawrence and saxophonist Eddie Baccus Jr.

Pieces, now in its fourth decade, also gave the festival its second weekend rendition of the Beatles' "Come Together," the first performed by bluesman Frank Bey's Swing City Blues Band on Friday at Cabana's. Bey, a perennial festival favorite, was in strong form.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms Live Reviews Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms
by Martin Longley
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook Live Reviews Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Ann Hampton Callaway at Birdland" Live Reviews Ann Hampton Callaway at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 5, 2017
Read "Pat Martino at Dazzle" Live Reviews Pat Martino at Dazzle
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: September 2, 2017
Read "ELBJAZZ 2017" Live Reviews ELBJAZZ 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 15, 2017