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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

The Cape May Jazz Festival is a lovely little clambake held in a quaint, historic landmark community on the Jersey shore where gingerbread-style Victorian architecture and afternoon teas are the norm. The festival has grown significantly from its earliest years when festival founder Carol Stone booked a mere three bands in a single venue, and at the 17th edition of the Cape May Jazz Festival, 20 bands came together at nine separate venues along Beach Avenue near the boardwalk and within earshot of the sound of surf, many to pay tribute to the music of Miles Davis.

Featured on the bill of this festival-wide retrospective were 10 musicians who played with Miles during different periods in his ever-evolving career. Together they offered up a heartfelt salute to Davis in representing the music of their respective decades: bassist Percy Heath from the ’40s; saxophonists Jimmy Heath and Jackie McLean along with drummer Jimmy Cobb from the ’50s; drummer Joe Chambers and bassist Buster Williams from the late ’60s; saxophonists Dave Liebman and Gary Bartz from the early ’70s; saxophonist Bill Evans from the early ’80s; and trumpeter Wallace Roney from the early ’90s.

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