It took eight years for the weather gods to catch up with the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival.
But they allowed the public to enjoy a full Saturday afternoon of high-energy jazz from the U.S. Air Force Rhythm in Blue ensemble, Bria Skonberg and LaBamba & The Hubcaps.
“Mother Nature is Mother Nature. It was a pretty successful day,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty, who helped conceive the festival prior to his first election and hopes it continues long after he calls it a career.
FACES IN THE CROWD: SLIDESHOW PHOTOS BY MARION FILLER, JEFF SOVELOVE & KEVIN COUGHLIN. HOVER OR CLICK IMAGES FOR CAPTIONS:
While disappointed that the Bernard Allison Group and Davy Knowles were rained out, “what we did produce today was very good,” the Mayor said, as a few die-hard fans packed up their umbrellas Saturday night after an announcement that the show would not go on.
Earlier, a sizable crowd lounged and danced on the historic Morristown Green, as the sun danced in and out of clouds on a warm, humid afternoon.
“It’s great music. And it’s nice to be outside. It’s one of the great events that Morristown has,” said town resident Beth Turetsky, who came with her husband, Ned Levine, and their 2-year-old mini-Labradoodle, Arlo.
In the center of the Green, Diana Kidd of Ramsey and Mike Kostak of Basking Ridge showed off some dance moves. Doug Savides of Morristown brought a guitar and strummed along with the bands.
As Jack Gavin of West Caldwell circulated with “Facts Matter” buttons, 11th District Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill, a French horn player in her school days, waved from the stage and listened to music for awhile.
Backstage, Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg, a former Mendham resident, and his trumpeter and vocalist, Mark “The Love Man” Pender, reminisced about playing with Southside Johnny at the now-defunct Argyles in Morristown.
“I love Morristown,” said Pender, who warmed up for his LaBamba set by fronting the Air Force band for a couple of his original tunes.
BACKSTAGE AT THE 2018 MORRISTOWN JAZZ & BLUES FEST. SLIDESHOW PHOTOS BY KEVIN COUGHLIN. HOVER OR CLICK IMAGES FOR CAPTIONS:
Gabe Schneider, guitarist for Bria Skonberg’s band, said the hot weather reminded him of his native Hawaii. These days, home is New York City. He enjoyed the trees and grass of the Green.
“It feels like a huge space, yet you get a full sense of the community… It’s an amazing feeling,” Schneider said.
Skonberg was making her second appearance at the festival. She said she loves its mix of jazz and blues, noting that her favorite music, New Orleans jazz, has heavy blues roots.
“I appreciate the diversity of the music, and the people that will come to play, and come to listen,” Skonberg said.
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