Glendale AZ Jazz & Blues Festival – Free and Funky

This weekend Glendale is presenting their annual Jazz & Blues Festival in and around downtown’s Murphy Park.  It’s one of the best entertainment deals you’ll ever find.  There’s no charge for admission, and you can even bring your own food in.  There are two stages, one for blues and one for jazz.  Andy and I packed up our lawn chairs and the Nikon last evening and had a great time relaxing in front of the Jazz stage, listening to some great artists perform while doing some serious people-watching.

We arrived about 4:30PM, just as Dennis Rowland was wrapping up his set.  I had hoped to get there in time to see Dennis perform but just didn’t make it.  I did get a great shot of his T-shirt, though.

Dennis Rowland, Spirtual Gangster

The act that followed was probably our favorite of the evening, Dominic Amato.  He’s a great young jazz musician that’s local to the Valley, and he had a fantastic group of musicians backing him up:

Dominic Amato

The next act was Vicki McDermitt and her trio.  Vicki is a jazz vocalist who is local to the Valley, and she performed a set of jazz standards interspersed with her favorite quotes from jazz singers and entertainers.  My personal favorite from her set was “Grandma’s Hands”:

Vicki McDermitt

Vicki was followed by the Larry Coryell trio.  If I had ever heard of Larry Coryell, I don’t remember it, but I will not forget him and trio after last night’s performance.  This guy absolutely owns the jazz guitar.  His rendition of Ravel’s “Bolero” brought many in the crowd to their feet (not too shabby considering most were sitting on blankets and had had a few beers by that time).  I will definitely be looking for some of Larry’s work from my usual download sites:

Larry Coryell Trio

Of course, one of the best parts of festival-going is the people-watching.  From our vantage point in our lawn chairs, we had a great view of the stage, but between us and the stage was the sidewalk which was being kept clear as one of the main arteries for people to come and go.  Therefore, we got to see a lot of different people walk by.  I had about 30-35 degrees of free sight-line in front of me to shoot pictures, and so I used the opportunity to practice quickly focusing on a subject as they walked into my line of sight and getting the shot off before they passed behind the person blocking my view to the other side.  I came away with some “interesting” shots, at least in my mind.  And many of the people were kind enough to stop within my line of sight and do some impromptu dancing, which is always fun to watch:

We were at the festival until it ended about 10:30.  After the sun went down I didn’t take so many photos as I didn’t want to use flash, plus it was starting to get more crowded.  All of my shots were taken with the 55-200mm zoom lens at ISO 200, except for the last few of Vicki McDermitt and Larry Corywell for which I used the normal 18-55mm lens at a higher ISO for the after-dark stage lighting.  I shot everything in “fine” JPG (no RAW format), and I haven’t done any post-processing on them.

I’ve uploaded quite a few shots to Flickr in the set titled “Glendale Jazz Fest 2010“.  There are some great photos of other members of Dominic Amato’s band, and lots of shots of the fans.  I hope you’ll zip over there and take a look at them and let me know which ones you like (or hate!).  Here’s my personal favorite:

Now, that’s what it looks like when the music is great!!

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