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New Century, Same Genius: Ornette Coleman at JVC

Mulgrew Miller

Trumpeting “tranquility” as a jazz festival theme can be misleading, unless the venue is a pristine, azure-wrapped paradise-in-progress in the British West Indies called Anguilla. The island is 145 miles east of Puerto Rico and 9 miles north of St. Martin, and it boasts endless unspoiled beaches, 36-miles of roads (where they drive on the “wrong side” — legally, of course), a few Yellow Pages and one brand new traffic light. Tranquility, indeed.

So while the name of the third annual Tranquility Jazz Festival may seem semantically ambiguous, there was never any doubt about what the thrust of the festival should be: “Straight-Ahead, No Chaser,” so said the Anguilla Tourist Bureau. But as with most festivals, diversity of styles and genres could be heard.

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