Where's Waldo?

Looking for Uncle Jazz at the 2002 JVC Something-or-Other Festival

Urgent yet laid-back: Frank Wess
photo: Jack Vartoogian
Urgent yet laid-back: Frank Wess

The sterling Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette trio gave an even better performance than last year—indeed, virtually perfect, with a minimum of vocalizing and a stunning selection of tunes that mixed standard standards ("I'm a Fool to Want You," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Summertime," "Last Night When We Were Young") with jazz standards ("Four Brothers," "Now's the Time," "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West"), and a free improv. Why, however, does he make the audience beg and beg and beg for the two encores? After one belated bow, DeJohnette walked to the drums only to learn that there had not yet been enough begging and then had to walk offstage; after the next bow, Peacock made the same mistake. OK, it's a small price. Jarrett and company, at least, know what they're doing. I'm not too sure about JVC. If this year's financial success breeds another year with as little resourcefulness, as little jazz, there won't be much point in covering it. We will already have heard almost all of it worth hearing—year round, in the clubs.

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