Monday, June 18, 2012
Analysis: Jazz in the Woods
Jonathan Butler, Friday's headliner at Jazz in the Woods, surveyed the vast crowd from the stage and suggested that "over 10,000" people were in attendance.
The free festival is designed to raise money for area charities. I'm tempted to bemoan the fact that Jazz in the Woods no longer features, you know, "jazz," but there's no arguing with success. That's why I laughed along with Ian Byrne of The Elders when he joked that his Celtic rock band was performing "Irish jazz" as it opened for the adult urban contemporary Soul of Summer review of Butler, Warren Hill and Maysa. Besides, I'm rather partial to the Elders and I love singing along to Butler's 1988 pop hit "Sarah Sarah".
I recall when the festival was headlined by founder Vince Bilardo and was held in the parking lot of the nearby strip mall that currently houses Garozzo's. I also remember that I was able to secure a parking spot within 25 yards of the stage back when Jazz in the Woods featured "real" jazz. With the notable exception of the acts featured at the free Prairie Village Jazz Festival and at a couple holiday-themed concerts, improvisation-based small jazz ensembles haven't been able to draw audiences of more than 1,000 in Kansas City for at least a decade.
Pouting would be pointless. Instead, my biggest concern today is that embarrassing video documenting my dancing to Butler's "Mandela Bay" will soon surface.
(Original image of the Soul of Summer's background vocalists by Plastic Sax.)