On Saturday night at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis I truly had the opportunity to experience legends that walk among us. The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival closed with the University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) Jazz Ensemble & special guest Clark Terry. Yes, 90 years young and still scatting. He shared with the crowd that he hasn’t been able play the horn since he was 85 but he would share some vocals. The students did a wonderful job and truly showed that jazz is alive and well. They were followed by Ron Carter and the Golden Striker Trio. I am almost rendered speechless when I think about the history that performed on one stage. Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Mulgrew Miller, and Russell Malone and a group of talented student that I’m sure we will be hearing more from in the future. The evening was perfect with one exception: I was sad to scan the room and see empty seats. Are you kidding me??? With ticket prices ranging from $10-$35 the house was not sold out. I had the same experience a couple of weeks ago at Jazz at the Bistro. I had the opportunity to see Christian McBride, Benny Green, and Greg Hutchinson and there were empty seats in this intimate venue. I completely understand that we all have less to spend but I still see long lines for $8 lattes. Skipping the line at the local coffee house for two weeks could have gotten you tickets to both concerts. I guess some people don’t recognize an opportunity of a lifetime. I can definitely say these are two events that I will never forget.
I love Jazz in St. Louis!!!