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Carolina International Jazz Festival: Swing & More

Wilbert Sostre reports from jazz festival in Puerto Rico

Performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Arturo Sandoval in performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Arturo Sandoval in performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico
Arturo Sandoval in performance from the 2012 Carolina International Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico

The theme for the 8th edition of the Carolina International Jazz Festival was “Carolina Swings.” There are two definitions in jazz for the word “swing.” Swing is one of the essential elements of jazz. Quoting Duke Ellington song “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” The Jazz Book by Berendt and Huessman defines swing as the “overlapping of two different conceptions of time,” the more “holistic African sense of time and the clock-based time sense of the Westerner.” “Swing gives jazz its peculiar form of precision, which cannot be compared with any other kind of precision in European music.” This definition of “swing” is present in all styles of jazz but must not be confused with the jazz form or style played by the Big Bands of the late 1920’s, 30’s and early 40’s. That was the era of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman.

Most of the music played in the Carolina International Jazz Festival falls into the first definition, music that can be defined as jazz, so it swings, but the musical offering of the fest was not entirely music from the Swing era. The students of the Carolina Arts School under the direction of professor and saxophonist Janice Maisonet opened both nights of the Festival. The music presented by these talented students, even though it contained elements of Latin jazz, bolero and forms of Latin music, was the closest in style to the Swing style of the 30’s. Their repertoire included nice versions of “Sunny Side of Street,” “There’s No Greater Love,” and Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” Student/singer Dorian Andrade joined the group both nights singing this Duke Ellington classic and also did some good scats ala Ella Fitzgerald.

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Originally Published