Vail gets cool in odd time |

Vail gets cool in odd time

Andrew Harley
Special to the Daily John Coltrane

VAIL – The hard boppers and the cool cats unite during this prolonged Labor Day weekend to fuse some festive free form and some intricately constructed compositions in a brass pot, string-stirred and served on the heads of a pair of drumsticks.The 10th annual Vail Jazz Festival plays in 9/5 time today followed by a six-beat pattern on Labor Day in the Centennial Ballroom – located on the upper level of the Conference Center at the Cascade Resort and Spa.

The Vail Jazz Festival may not have booked the big-name pop acts like Jack Johnson and Sheryl Crow, or the celebrated intellectuals of sub-genres like Lucinda Williams is to barbed-wire folk, Steve Miller Band is to rural space rock and Robert Randolph is to a steel-pedaled book from the gospel of funk. And there will be no David Byrne.However, the Vail Jazz Festival preserves the right to be called a jazz festival by choosing musicians that keep solid roots in the actual genre.

Jazz cannot be pinned down by tradition, but there are musicians who spend their lives pursuing and celebrating the infinity of blue notes and the epiphanies of syncopation. There are people who devote the precious majority of their waking lives to inscribing the ethereal proverbs of cool fusion with saxophones; they weigh their ritualistic meditations of rehearsed compositions with the enigmatic scales of improvisational harmony.These are the people summoned by the Vail Jazz Festival; invited to share their melodic discoveries. The gathering and exaltation continues today at 10 a.m. with Gerald Clayton, Reuben Wilson, Wally “Gator” Watson, Barbara Morrison, Ann Patterson, Jeff Clayton, Tim Green and Terell Stafford, and the last collaboration – Matt Wilson, Hilton Ruiz, John Webber, Mike Mossman, Eric Alexander and Patterson – hits the stage at 11:50 p.m.

For more information about the Vail Jazz Festival or to purchase tickets, visit, call (888)-VAILJAM or, locally, call 477-5510.Andrew Harley can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or at

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