Last night I went to Symphony Hall in Nashville for the first time since moving nearby. I love the symphony, but it is a chore to drive in Nashville, for it is growing like weeds, and the traffic is horrendous. Although we could lightly afford the $100 price tag for the seat I chose near the stage, I made the trek on last evening to hear Winton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
I thought that Mr. Marsalis and his orchestra were going to play traditional jazz, similar to the concert I attended over twenty years ago. I was ready to “shake my groove thing” to the ninth degree.
But, it did not take long for me to catch on that the night was dedicated to Christmas music. I learned later that I had missed the most informational part of the title of the night’s entertainment: The Big Band Holidays!
You would think that jazz and Jingle Bells don’t really go together, but you would be wrong! The jazz renditions of What Child is This, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and White Christmas, was off the hook!
I tried to be “respectable” and keep still, as it appeared many of the more “upper-crust” members of the audience were doing. But, I just could not fight the beat. I capitulated to the rhythm of the music, and, before I knew it, nearly every part of my squat body was moving, shaking, laughing aloud in pure joy, just grooving. I occasioned called out things, such as Yeah! Get down! Now, you doing it!
There were 16 members of the orchestra, and one of them was a young black woman named Camille Thurman who made her saxophones flat out talk to us! Also, two young jazz singers, Vuyo Sotashe and Veronica Swift , sung so beautifully. He reminded me of Nat King Cole with his smooth tones, and she scatted as though Ella Fitzgerald had personally taught her!
The various members of the orchestra had put pencil to paper and produced so soulful arrangements of the old holiday classics. Winton Marsalis appears not to be an imperious leaders, for he allowed each orchestra member to shine, and then he played his solo, which was amazing!
When he announced that the last song, Silent Night, would be played with a New Orleans flavor, I worried that that rendition would be sacrilegious. However, it was played and sung so well that nearly the whole audience was clapping. It was a swinging version, but, the song still touched my soul and made me thankful for the little baby boy born to a virgin who came to save me from my sins.
It was a great night. Douglas went to Chick-Fil-A and ate a salad and read a book while he waited for the concert to end. He was uncomfortable with me driving alone on the interstate so late at night, but he wasn’t interested in the music.
Indeed, the last and only time time that he accompanied me to the symphony, he went to sleep and started snoring, embarrassing us both. He had to leave out, and he swore never to return to such a boring event. So, we both had a swinging good time last night, just in different ways!