Not sure how they do it, but for four straight years the folks behind the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival have raised the bar higher and higher.
Saturday’s fest did exactly what it was supposed to do, showing off Morristown at its best.
The Green never looked better, August smiled, and five acts–Trio da Paz, Bucky Pizzarelli’s Guitar Summit, Winard Harper and Jeli Posse, Mikey Junior and headliner Matt Schofield–brought their A-games to the party.
Christie D. and her friend Victoria Mallachi ventured from Manhattan and Long Island, respectively, to see the 88-year-old Pizzarelli “because he’s a legend.” But they were pretty impressed with Morristown, too.
“I love it. It’s even nicer than we anticipated,” said Christie.
Mark North came from Bradley Beach to check out the music. Will he return here? “Oh sure, definitely. It’s a great town,” he said.
Opening scenes: Trio da Paz. Please click icon below for captions.
“Everything just clicked,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty, who hatched the festival idea in his first term and showed off the results this weekend to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, who told the crowd he was taking notes for something similar.
“The sound system was phenomenal. We had thousands of people on the Green. It was just an incredible day of music for our community, and we appreciate everybody who came. And most of all, we appreciate all the sponsors who make this happen,” Mayor Dougherty said.
“We had a lot of good help with the weather, too. The weather has really come through,” said Linda Smith, co-promoter of the event with her partner and husband, Don Jay Smith.
Maybe the Presbyterian Church across the street had something to do with that. Pastor David Smazik presided over a wedding; at one point the sound of bagpipes mingled with Bucky Pizzarelli’s jazzy guitar chords. (Bucky has collaborated with everyone from Benny Goodman to Paul McCartney, but as far as we know, this was the first time pipers have backed him.)
“We really stepped it up with the stage and the sound this year,” added Don Jay Smith. Boulevard Productions was hired on the recommendation of Bruce Springsteen, Don said.
Is that how they will raise the bar next year? The Boss, on the Green?
“Probably not Bruce,” Don said with a laugh. “Don’t count on it.”
Stay tuned to MorristownGreen.com for more photos and videos from the Festival. And if anyone found a ratty Twins beach towel on the Green… please let me know. It’s got some sentimental value!