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SJFS 2022 Night 1 recap May 6, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Health, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 22017 Night 12017 Night 22018 Night 12018 Night 22019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2, 2022 Night 2

Updated with videos on 5/15.

After a two-year absence due to COVID-19, keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars (benefiting the Milford Public Schools music department) finally happened!

It’s a good thing I didn’t throw away my 2020 tickets because they were honored on both nights.

As noted in my promotion back in February, this was the first SJFS without Rohn Lawrence on guitar in the house band and Nick Colionne as a potential headliner. We lost Rohn to COVID on December 30 and Nick on January 1. This year’s SJFS was dedicated to their memory.

The first night’s headliners were Peter White, Nelson Rangell, and Marion Meadows, plus three surprise guests! More on them later in the recap. Now, the preamble:

I had been in the habit of going to sleep early and waking up early, but last week, I tried to train my body to stay up and wake up later so I could not only chronicle both nights of SJFS, but attend the WCWP station dinner on Thursday night.

I awoke Friday morning after only six hours of sleep and carried out my typical morning activities: exercise, cereal for breakfast, and treadmill running (and showering after, of course). Nowadays, I watch streaming content on my phone while I run rather than listen to music or audiobooks. With this run, I totaled 180 miles in a month for only the third time (July 2018, April 2020)!

Next on the agenda, packing up for the trip to Milford, Connecticut (“a small city with a big heart“), with my dad Bill. I had an hour or so left until our 12:30 departure, so I edited the photos from the station dinner and posted them to Facebook. I finished just in time, then checked to make sure I packed everything I wanted to.

It took about two hours to reach Milford’s Hampton Inn, the official hotel of this year’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars, as it has been most of the time. I photographed road signs on the way, but I’m saving those photos and the ones from the return trip for a later post.

Upon arrival, Dad and I went back out to Big Y World Class Market a block southeast of the hotel to replace expired shampoo and mouthwash, and buy snacks to make up for the ones I forgot to pack at home. We were briefly back at Hampton Inn before going to dinner (and dessert for me) at Applebee’s up Boston Post Road in neighboring Orange. Marion Meadows was checking in as I walked through the lobby, so we spoke briefly. I returned one more time before the show to relax and wait for my girlfriend Kelly to pick me up at 6:30. On the way out this time, I saw members of the LIU Sharks baseball team! I’ve been at the hotel with college athletic teams before, but not a team from my alma mater! They were in town for a three-game series against the Sacred Heart Pioneers (ironically, LIU Post’s team name before the One LIU unification). Sacred Heart won the first two games, but LIU avoided the sweep Sunday. I would see players in the lobby again on Saturday and Sunday mornings, letting some know on Saturday that I was an alum and had a weekly radio show.

Okay, we’re almost up to the first night of SJFS.

Kelly and I waited in her SUV until we saw the line of attendees file in to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Parsons Complex. The line began to move at 7:15, so in we went.

After having my ticket checked, I set up my equipment in the orchestra pit and mingled with my fellow photographers Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox, Jay Dobbins, Dolly Moye, Estella Greene, Billy and Sandy Okumu, Ron’s wife Nydia, and Jay Rowe’s mother Mia DiStasi. I was elated to see all of them in person after so long. I only wish photographer KT Jones was still with us. (He succumbed to cancer in late February.)

The auditorium interior underwent an upgrade between 2019 and 2022. Monitors were set up throughout the lobby. Most cycled through a slideshow of images from past Smooth Jazz for Scholars, including pictures with Rohn Lawrence, Nick Colionne, or both of them. Two monitors had an overhead view of the stage. The sound system, lighting, and seating were all improved.

Friday night’s set began at 8:15, an hour after the auditorium doors opened. Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz Productions enthusiastically welcomed us back:

I simultaneously recorded the show (mostly for private use) (5/15 UPDATE: exceptions below) with my recently-acquired professional 4K camcorder (and detachable handle unit). Four minutes into Kevin’s spiel, a system error occurred and I had to turn the camcorder off and back on. After that, no problems. It recorded two hours and 32 minutes continuously; no starting a new file every 20 minutes like my previous camcorder.

As for the photos, I have the same DSLR camera but with a superzoom lens I bought last year. No more switching between 18-140 mm (18-55 before that) and 55-300 mm. I have one lens to rule them all.

Here are the photos! The house band was led by Jay Rowe on keyboards:

Andy Abel on electric and acoustic guitar (seen on electric):

Dave Livolsi on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

…and percussion by Tony Cintron:

(If you’re wondering, Steve Scales is alive and well.)

The headliners were Peter White on acoustic guitar and harmonica (seen on guitar):

Marion Meadows on soprano sax:

…and Nelson Rangell on alto sax, flute, piccolo, whistling, and vocal percussion (seen on alto):

SET LIST
1. East Coast West Coast (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot & Smooth (2006)
Featured musician: Jay Rowe (keyboards)

2. Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Peter White (guitar)

3. Promenade/Could It Be I’m Falling in Love (The Spinners cover) (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Promenade (1993)/Reflections (1994)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), surprise guest Vincent Ingala! (tenor sax) (watch him surprise the audience)
Peter introduced “Promenade” with the “-naid” pronunciation, not “-nahd,” as I’ve been saying all these years.

4. Here We Go (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Here We Go (2012)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), Nelson Rangell (alto sax)
I’d been dreaming about this collaboration ever since I heard David Sanborn on the original.

5. Vonetta (Earl Klugh cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Soul to Souls (2006)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Andy Abel (guitar)

6. Body Rhythm (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Body Rhythm (1995)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
As usual, Marion began this song in the audience, working his way to the stage.

7. Treasures (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: In Deep (2002)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Andy Abel (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboards)
Andy channeled the spirit of Rohn Lawrence on his solo.

8. Caravan of Dreams (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Caravan of Dreams (1996)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

9. Peaceful (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Music for STARLUX Airlines (2019)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar/harmonica), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

10. Marcosinho (Dave Grusin composition for flautist Dave Valentin) (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Whisper (2013)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
A harmonica-like filter was applied to Marion’s sax for his solo intro.

11. Suede (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Player’s Club (2004)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Andy Abel (guitar)

12. Geopolitics (Nelson Rangell)
Featured musician: Nelson Rangell (alto sax)

13. Sonora (Hampton Hawes cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Destiny (1995) (alto sax), My American Songbook, Vol. 1 (2005)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling/piccolo/vocal percussion), Peter White (guitar)

14. Muff (John Tropea cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), surprise guest Jeff Kashiwa! (tenor sax)
Jeff headlined Saturday’s set, but he played on “Muff” and the finale.

15 (Finale). I Wish (Stevie Wonder cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone
Arti Dixson sat in for Trever Somerville on drums.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Peter White:

Marion Meadows:

Nelson Rangell on alto sax (during “Geopolitics”):

Nelson on flute for “Vonetta”:

…and “Sonora”: whistling, piccolo, whistling with the piccolo in his hand, vocal percussion:

Surprise guest Vincent Ingala:

Surprise guest Jeff Kashiwa:

Jay Rowe (during “Treasures”):

Andy Abel:

Dave Livolsi:

Trever Somerville:

Tony Cintron:

Peter and Jay:

Peter and Nelson on “Here We Go”:

Peter and Vincent:

A wide shot during “Geopolitics”:

…and “Vonetta”:

Nelson and Jeff:

The finale: “I Wish”:

It was a great night, but it wasn’t over yet. There was meeting and greeting to do; photos with musicians, friends, and musician friends.

First, a photo with Peter White, who I hadn’t seen since the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas show at Tilles Center in December 2017:

Next, me with Nelson and Jay Rowe:

Jay Dobbins introduced me to Andy Abel and Tony Cintron. I complimented both of them on their work that night. Andy complimented me on noticing a flaw at the end of the title track on Jay Rowe’s Groove Reflections album and I told him I liked his guitar work on Jessy J‘s new album, Blue. He had plenty of insight on the recording process for the tracks with him, Jay, Trever, and Dave Anderson. (Dave couldn’t make it this year because he was performing with Chieli Minucci at the Tarrytown Jazz Forum on both nights, an engagement booked before SJFS was announced in February. That’s also why Chieli couldn’t make it.)

I took a photo of Jay Dobbins, Marion, Andy, and Tony:

Then, I had Jay take one of me and Marion:

I said my goodbyes and Kelly drove me back to the Hampton Inn. Click here to read about what happened before, during, and after Saturday’s show. I’ll leave you with a photo of Billy and Sandy Okumu, and Mark and Phyllis Abrams:

Billy Okumu, Phyllis and Mark Abrams, Sandy Okumu

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