Over the weekend, I listened to jazz at lunch. I listened to jazz at dinner and into the night. Every time I set foot downtown, I could hear music.
On Saturday afternoon, I wandered to Radio Bean, a small Burlington music venue. The crowd was small, but dedicated. Donna Jalinus came all the way from Maine to listen to her son play.
"That’s my son Andrew on drums," she explained over the loud music. "He grew up playing since he was eight, that’s his good friend Harry on base, and his good friend Willow on piano."
Scott Ford was standing outside on the sidewalk, listening. "Right now I am having a cup of coffee and making a pit stop on the way back from the grocery store and enjoying some of the music here at the Radio Bean," he said. Scott says the neat thing about the jazz festival is its accessibility. "I think jazz fest is great because it allows people who may not be inclined to come here this type of music on their own to be exposed to it just walking around."
If exposure is the goal, then it sure seems to be working. Uma Laker wasthe youngest jazz fan I met. "Do you think jazz is different than other types of music?" I asked her.
"Yeah," she replied.
"How come?" I asked.
"'Cause sometimes it's smooth and sometimes it's not," she said.
Late Saturday night I walked by Leunigs, a restaurant on Church Street. Even though it was raining, their outdoor tables were packed. Burlington band Guagua wasthere, playing what they call psycho-tropical Latin jazz. Guitarist Geoff Kim said, "We’ve got a very short set we’re gonna play 'til midnight, probably three songs, but it’s gonna be a half hour of power."
Trumpet player Dave Purcell told me a little bit about Guagua and said, "This band is a special band here in Burlington because they’ve been around for years and years and years. They’ve got three albums but a whole rotating cast and it’s a pretty special thing for this town."
The band striked up. All around, people were eating, laughing and dancing late into the night, and it sure seemed like the city of Burlington has discovered jazz.