The 30th Annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival

It sure has taken me a while to blog about this pretty amazing experience! I was so completely exhausted after the local Jazz Fest. I took some time off, dealt with a very major change in my living circumstances, and battled some health issues. It’s been eventful and thoroughly trying.

However, I am now fully back in the saddle, as it were, with teaching and performing! I am looking forward to the rest of this year with my students and one more gig with the big band.

With that out of the way, here’s a bit about my experience playing the momentous occasion of the 30th Anniversary for Bakersfield Jazz.

Our job as The Shafter Big Band was to play the auxiliary stage at the festival when there were breaks between the sets of the big names that rolled through, one of which was Aubrey Logan, who I am now a total fan of. We played on the second day of the festival, which was May 7th. For some interesting context, the first day of the festival experienced a horrendous downpour of rain, the likes of which are rarely ever seen in Bakersfield. Being held outdoors, the torrent of rain had performers squeezing into the minimally covered areas of the stages.


Notice the tiny covered area of the stage and the rain clouds which threatened certain destruction


The auxiliary stage was better covered, but would still have us floating our gear out in canoes in a heavy rain storm!


I freaked out a little, because I knew my usual rig was not rain friendly in the least. Vacuum tubes and water are not good bedfellows. So, I had to purchase a new amp for this occasion to ensure that I could protect my equipment in the case that we got rained out, but would still get the job done. I settled on this pretty awesome Cube 80gx that I have been super happy with since.


My new amp, complete with amp stand to prevent it floating away during the rainpocalypse


READY FOR WAR. Or you know, a few sets at a local jazz festival.

It’s obvious I was prepared for the eventuality of rain. Some might say too prepared. In my defense, we had to be there most of the day from afternoon until late in the evening. In my prosecution, it actually didn’t rain a single drop that whole day, so I felt stupid. Yin and yang!

All in all we played three sets, got a comped lunch, watched some amazing big time jazz acts on the main stage, and basically just had a great old time. I honestly feel it’s one of the best shows we’ve done, as well. One big part was having the help of PacWest Sound, who really balanced our live mix with expert precision. Very impressive. The only negative part of the day was that the auxiliary stage was placed in a little microterrain valley with the food vendors, and the constant smoke gave me a pretty bad asthma attack towards the end of the night. But, that’s a personal health condition I’ll probably always have to contend with if I want to be active in any way, including musically.

Here are a few shots of the event from start to finish:

Lastly, for anyone interested, here are a few vids of us swingin it out!


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