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Yesterday I got to enjoy the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. I first heard Wycliffe Gordon yesterday afternoon in a combo with trumpet player Ed Polcer, who complimented Wycliffe’s sweet and colorful style. They were presenting a class/performance on New Orleans Jazz & the Fine Art of Collective Improvisation. It was WONDERFUL. Hoo-Boy can Wycliffe make that trombone dance.

The opener for the Wednesday evening concert made me nervous as the young Russians (elect-guitar, elect-bass, drums, alto sax) were apparently getting paid for the number of notes they played with higher ones somehow paying better than medium and low. But the concert went to GREAT immediately thereafter.

The All-Star Rhythm Section played behind and with soloists, duets and combinations including Wycliffe Gordon’s magical trombone, Ed Polcer’s gorgeous trumpet, Aaron Weinstein whose jazz violin reminded me of the best I’ve heard and Houston Person’s sweet and wonderful tenor sax.

Unsurprisingly, I hadn’t had enough when the brassmen left the stage, but all good things do come to an end.

I was surprised to find that Dr. John’s sound has not perceptibly changed in the long time since I last heard a recording of his and that the sound was a heck of a lot more exciting than I remembered. Another surprise was that I enjoyed the drummers more than I usually do.

They gave us a special treat and brought the drummers, Dr. John and several other musicians back to the stage for a special New Orleans closer. All three drummers played together, off each other and around the New Orlean’s classic the stage band was running through. Dr. John on the grand piano was a complete joy, while the drummers were over the top.

I can’t describe the excitement and pleasure I was getting from that music – I was darn-near ecstasy, on my feet with the whole rest of the stadium.

Then, strolling towards the stage from the floor behind me, two trumpets, two trombones and two saxophones joined in (including, of course Wycliffe Gordon, Ed Polcer and Houston Person). The pleasure almost turned me inside out – it was radiating outward and inward, colliding and flowing through me in every direction. All I could do is stand there and cherish the moment while they took a lap around the floor on their way to the stage to finish out the tune.

That was one long climax that left me glowing for an hour … or do I count it through now, 16 hours later?

I promptly bought his “Standards” CD … and am glad I did. I will probably add at least the other two here soon.