Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Monterey Jazz Festival

Growing up on the Monterey Peninsula, I was aware of the famous jazz festival held here every year, but never actually went to see any of the shows. I wanted to. I remember one year I was working as a bank teller and Branford Marsalis was going to play; he insisted on being paid in cash and the cops showed up to accompany his payment out the door.

I've now been to the festival three years, generally combining the trip with other activities; last year, we held a memorial service for my father. This year, my husband and I thought we'd try to get away together for a little bit since we will soon have permanent company.

The weather has been lovely--summer hasn't ended here and in fact just seems to be deepening. One afternoon we went to hear Pete Seeger and his band play. Can you believe he is 90 years old? And still, he is playing and singing and his love of life comes through. He invited us all to sing with him--"Turn Turn Turn," and "This Land Is Your Land." These are songs I realize I know because as a child in the 70s, my father would have played his guitar on the beach, and we would sing while roasting and eating marshmallows. The songs of protest all sound remarkable contemporary and I love the idea that long after the original singers are gone, a song can still resonate.

We also went to the Hyatt late at night for the jam session. I made it until around 2AM, when Gordon and I decided it was probably time to go to sleep. But not before hearing more musicians play and just simply enjoying sitting there in their collective presence. Musicians--they aren't like writers. I hesitate to put the difference into words, but I do so enjoy the love of life that people who thrive in the late hours seem to always have. These have always been creative hours for me.

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