Just picked up our food for a hotel-room picnic from Papillote French Cuisine To-Go, a lovely little French kitchen near our hotel. I picked a mushroom soup (not creamy) to start, duck confit for me and a salmon and asparagus quiche for Ellen—both come with green salad and the chef’s ginger vinaigrette—and for dessert the merangue Ellen demanded. (Demanded! Yes!)
The charming Ariana made choosing the food very fun. She offered tastes of the soup, explained what was in the different dishes, told me of her (yet to be visited) relations in France, and made the whole experience a real pleasure before we’d eaten a bite.
While Ariana got everything ready for me, I walked down to the SCAD box office for tickets to the Battle Royale, the culmination of a very prestigious competition among several top-notch high school jazz bands—two from California, two from Washington state, one from Oregon, three from Florida. (See the extended quotation below.) this is some serious business, and we’re going to see the finals. Excited.
The winners of our fourth annual SWING CENTRAL High School Jazz Band Competition & Workshop, three of the finest high school jazz bands in the country, open the show with the music of Thad Jones, Benny Carter and Johnny Mercer.
Then, prepare yourself for an event of unbridled skill and improvisation. For decades, jazz musicians have pushed the limits of conceptual music: engaging in friendly competition known as “cutting.” BATTLE ROYALE pits masters of the art of improv going head-to-head. Selected student musicians from SWING CENTRAL are also featured.
Marcus Roberts Trio vs. The Clayton Bros.
Wycliffe Gordon vs. Andre Hayward
Scotty Barnhart vs. Terrell Stafford
Jeff Clayton vs. Mace Hibbard
Update: Excellent. The three bands were crisp and solid. The third place band got a challenging ballad which though subtle didn’t impress the way the more upbeat songs from the other two bands did. I believe the song didn’t serve them well. Very enjoyable. Then came the cutting: the bands and players they name above were just amazing, and that word is used on purpose. Amazing. Jazz lives, friends.