When Adam Joseph of Channel 6, came to report the weather one Memorial Day, the Mayor gave him the key to the city. Is it time to hand out another key? A musical key?
I’m not cool enough to be a jazz critic. I will leave that to the professionals. What is cool though, is the amount of quality music provided by the Exit 0 Jazz Fest headed by Michael Kline, that I got to hear over the weekend in Cape May. To be honest, the weekend was frustrating. Frustrating in a good way. How do you decide which venue to see and what to pass by?
One consistent comment I heard throughout the weekend was how much the event team stepped up the quality of Jazz brought into Cape May. How do you step it up from the inaugural headliner of Ramsey Lewis? You bring in Diane Reeves I guess. You bring in Eddie Palmeiri, Henry Butler, and the rest of the line up organized by Michael Kline, Eliza Lotozo and the rest of the core group on their team.
After a delightful shift of volunteering, escorting ticket holders to their seats or tables at convention hall, I got to stick around and listen to the amazing voice of Ms Diane Reeves. Just when you think it can’t get any better at convention hall, an act like Ms Reeves brings down the house. Even our Mayor stood in attendance for the entire first show.
Saturday at the Boiler Room was another amazing performance. Robin McKelle created so much energy on stage that it infected the entire crowd. About halfway through her second set I decided to make a quick tour through the nearest venues to Congress Hall. Namely, Carney’s, Cabanas and Martini beach. As it was getting past my bed time, quick stops showed that the crowd energy in each of these places around midnight, may have surpassed the in-season level of activity. But then again, remember this is usually past my bedtime.
Sunday afternoon at Cabanas presented an interesting twist. While listening to the cool sound of Mr. Henry Butler (say that with a French accent) we met a couple from North Jersey, specifically in town to hear Jazz. We chatted up Muhamed Sacirbey and his wife Susan. What became interesting about this conversation was Susan had recently authored a column for Huffington post on the connection between tragedy and healing associated with music. How interesting that Michael Kline’s travels brought him to Cape May from New Orleans post Katrina, and got this successful festival going after Sandy.
The Exit 0 Jazz Fest team are to be commended for taking a risk and bringing such an incredible event to Cape May on a potentially slow second weekend in November.