[Dixielandjazz] Sports vs. Music; Sac Jubilee

Nancy Giffin dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com
Mon, 03 Jun 2002 03:37:41 -0500

Sacramento Jubilee: A breeze was blowing the happy sounds of Dixieland all
throughout the streets. It was a lovely afternoon of mercifully cool weather
in Old Sac, the kind of weather one can only pray for each year when the
Jubilee comes around. I showed up at the Firehouse Lot hoping to find a good
seat for two great shows in a row: CHICAGO SIX followed by TOM SAUNDERS'
MIDWEST ALL-STARS. No great competition for seating on that day. I'm sad to
say, the usual crowd was not there to enjoy the music with me. Firehouse Lot
capacity is 1475, but there were plenty of open seats. Why? I suspect it was
the Kings game against the Lakers that had locals indoors and glued to their
TVs somewhere.  

I'm a Kings fan, too, but -- hey! -- I wasn't about to miss seeing the magic
and the chemistry of these monster All-Stars entertaining and amusing each
other as well as the audience during their annual reunion here. I loved ALL
the All-Star bands, but Tom's group out-shined the rest (in my humble
opinion) in terms of their sheer JOY and good vibes. They were all "tearing
it up" on solos, having an absolutely marvelous time, showering the crowd
with their brilliant light and creativity. Russ Phillips on 'bone and Paul
Keller on bass were putting full body and soul into every solo, just beaming
all the while. Of course, Eddie Higgins on piano, Chuck Hedges on clarinet,
and Jim Galloway on soprano sax were amazing and inspiring as well. (I love
Jim on those slower ballads.) Holy smokes! Ed Metz, Jr. is a wild man on
drums! Too funny! And then there was Tommy, recovering from bypass surgery
and the recent loss of his wife... Still, he managed to be his typically
funny, wise-cracking self, and he played very well. This is a powerfully
synergistic group; truly the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and
I can only hope to see them together again someday.

No jazz today? Ho-hum. Guess I'll go turn on the Kings vs. Lakers, game 7.

Love and hugs,

P.S. Well wishes to bassist Robert Finch of Chicago Six, who was unable to
play due to a sternum injury suffered in a car accident a few weeks earlier.