Traditional jazz is alive and well at Pismo Beach.

34th First Annual Pismo Jazz Jubilee by the Sea

October, 2010

Pismo Jazz Jubilee by the Sea

Probably twelve years had passed since I had attended the Jubilee. That was not due to disinterest, but rather to a combination of other activities and life moving in different directions. Years ago, when the Pismo Theater was among the venues, I recorded the bands there with multi-track analog (!) equipment from stage mics. A few of those recordings went to cassettes and CDs. The theater, and many other venues are no longer on the list. The entire festival is smaller, with fewer bands, fewer locations, and the music winds down well before 2:00 a.m. now. When I saw the schedule of bands, there were many that I did not recognize. I know that many of the musicians that I knew are no longer with us, and the elder audience of the 90s has not gotten younger. Would it—could it—still be a great music festival?

You betcha! Every band that I heard was excellent. The energy was good and spirits were high. There was no shortage of good music. So although the scale is smaller than earlier years, the Jubilee remains a first-rate event. It is more similar to past years than it is different. I look forward to doing it again.

Many of these photos were made in low light, requiring ISO 6400. Auto-focus was less snappy and less accurate in the dim light. Add to that the challenges of finding interesting, manageable light without distracting foreground or background elements—all from a position that was not in everyone's way—and you have a recipe for a lot of really awful photographs. And I got some. But I also got a a fair number of keepers and several that fully hit the mark. I did not see every band that performed during the festival, nor was I able to photograph all members of each band that I did see. The following bands are represented, at least in part, by the photos below: High Sierra, South Burgundy Street, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Wally's Warehouse Waifs, Fulton Street, Cornet Chop Suey, Midiri Brothers Sextet, Titan Hot Seven (above), Red Skunk Jibzee Swing, and Nightblooming Jazzmen. I wish that nobody had worn those huge "musician" tags. How could we not know?

It was a satisfying event, musically and photographically. Many of the bands had CDs for sale, so, in addition to the photographs, I took some music home with me to add to an already embarassingly large collection of this kind of music. Apparently I've not changed much in twelve years, either.