One of the unique events in Champaign-Urbana is the Jazz Walk. Bands (duos and small combos) are scattered across the sculpture garden at Meadowbrook Park, and you walk from one to the next. The result is a series of surprisingly intimate performances. You have each group almost to yourself, sharing one or two or three songs with a shifting mix of perhaps a dozen or so other pedestrians.
You can linger longer if you like, but the event only goes on for two hours, so if you spend too much time with one band it begins to eat into your time to spend with the others.
As a bonus, you get to enjoy the sculpture as well.
I liked all the music, even the groups that didn’t play exactly my sort of jazz had the sort of energy that makes a live performance worth attending.
It was a cool, cloudy evening, and was already getting a little dark for photography, but I thought my camera did pretty well—I got an adequate shot of each group, and a few pretty good ones.
We went to eat tapas and hear George Turner play at V Picasso this evening.
George is a great jazz guitarist. He’s been a local performer since coming to town to work on a Masters and now a PhD at the university. We first encountered him playing with his trio at the Iron Post a few years ago, and have made a point of going to hear him whenever we get a chance.
He played mostly jazz standards. I’d heard most of them many times, but the only ones I recognized were “My Funny Valentine,” “Girl from Ipanima,” and “Moon River.” (I have an odd relationship with jazz standards. I’ve heard all of them, because my dad played them when I was a kid, but a lot of what my dad played were instrumentals, so I often don’t know the names of the songs.)
It was a good show, and good food. A pretty small crowd. He’s playing a couple more times this week and next, so if you like great jazz guitar in an intimate setting, check it out.