Jazz! An original American art form developed from the improvisational fusion of blues, ragtime, spiritual and brass band music in the late 1800's. It was first recorded in 1917 on primitive equipment that failed to capture the true character of the music.
Today, we can enjoy the many facets of the genre in high fidelity almost anywhere in the world, at any time. Nothing, however, can substitute for the the experience of hearing and seeing jazz performed live in concert.
This year marks the 26th annual Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, conceived by jazz bassist, Paul Brown. Held in America's oldest public park, Bushnell Park, it is open to the public and free of charge. This is the place to be for one weekend every year, in July.
The festival attracts an average of 55,000 fans each years, with more that 70,000 attending in 2016!
Jazz is something that unites people from all walks of life, all races and ethnicities, ages and backgrounds. It is one of the few things that allow us to set aside our differences and unite us as an American People.
While Hartford's finest patrol the park on foot and horseback, I've never seen or heard of any sort of altercation or disturbance. Jazz seems to bring out the best in people. Total strangers laugh and talk with each other, sharing libation and cheer.
There are plenty of food vendors offering a wide variety of eating fare and adult beverages. Souvenirs and crafts are also available. People are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs, dogs, food and beverage. The only "don't" is, no portable gas grills.
For more information, visit the GHFJ homepage.
All photos and video shot by editor.
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