Only the Music Mattered

On Saturday night, February 7, I was lucky enough to attend the eighth annual Melton Mustafa Jazz Concert at Florida Memorial College.

The following artists participated- Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Nathan Davis, Benny Golson, Abraham Laboriel, Jon Faddis, Winard Harper, Mark Whitfield, and Melton Mustafa.

The concert was the culmination of a two day event- on Friday, workshops convened, and some of the above mentioned artists shared their knowledge with high schoolers who are studying jazz.

On Saturday night, three high school jazz bands played short sets on the stage, and they were followed by the stars listed above.

While all the musicians were stupendous, Clark Terry made a special contribution. One biography states his birth year as 1920. He needed quite a bit of assistance to get to his seat on stage. He appeared to be feeble, and it seemed like his vision was poor.

However, when he picked up his horn, the clock raced back fifty years. His tone, sensitivity, and strength on the flugelhorn and trumpet were unsurpassed. He also brought the house down with some of the "mumbles" routine which was his mainstay when he played in the "Tonight Show" band when Johnny Carson hosted the show.

When Benny Golson soloed over the changes to his tune " I Remember Clifford" many in the audience just sat staring in amazement.

Also, this was the first time many people had seen Winard Harper,who was they youngest on stage. His drumming is unique- progressive and classic at the same time. Do not miss him if he appears near you.

Finally, this concert was held in a basketball gymnasium. At the risk of being labelled a heretic, I have to state that for those hours in the gym, the fine points of acoustics were largely unimportant.

The music was swinging and fabulous, and that was all that mattered.
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