As I wrote in a previous blog post, I was looking forward to this year’s Jazz Festival in Taichung, Taiwan. And rightfully so!! The line-up of entertainment for opening night offered a little something for everyone and it definitely ensured a downright swingin’ and swayin’ good time!
Even if you were unaware of the Jazz Festival, the vast amount of people crowding Calligraphy Greenway and Civic Square in Taichung signaled that something really special was happening there last Saturday, October 19th, 2013.
There was a wave of activity everywhere. Vendors promoting their food, drinks, and other products lined the area. Signs with saxophones, pianos, double, basses, trumpets, and drums decorated the entire area and swayed to the rhythm of the wind.
And in the late afternoon, the sound of jazz echoed and could be heard in the far-off distance.
We made our way passed the vendors and through the crowd of people and headed towards one of the smaller stages, known as J2 (Jazz 2).
It was obvious that we were getting closer. The music got louder, the cluster of people got thicker, and the energy became more apparent and contagious. And voices speaking English surrounded us. As a foreigner living in Taiwan, there was something special about that.
The Muddy Basin Ramblers were performing on this stage with their homemade instruments and their original numbers about Taiwan. We couldn’t help but tap our feet and enjoy numbers about sweet potatoes and betel nut with a bluegrass, jazz vibe.
When the show came to an end and after their encore performance, we decided to enjoy some real, authentic western cuisine. I opted for the pasta prepared by a well-known hotel in Taichung. It was the best spaghetti I have ever eaten in Taiwan (besides my own, of course)!
With our food in one hand and our blanket in the other, we found the perfect spot on the grass around the front of the main stage to sit, relax, and enjoy the rest of the evening.
The opening concert commenced when Japanese saxophonist, Kaori Kobayashi (however, spelled Kaorikbayashi in the Jazz Festival promotional material), took to the stage. Her performance had a rather ‘cute, smooth spin’ on Jazz and was thoroughly enjoyed by the Taiwanese audience. Her talent and stage presence were to be admired.
Then it was time for the headlining act to perform. French singer, Anne Ducros, graced the stage. Her performance was awesome. The melody of the music and her beautiful voice (with such a huge range) really entered your soul. The selection of songs were beautiful. And at that point, I realized that ‘This is Jazz.’
The Taichung Jazz Festival has performances every evening until Sunday, October 27th, 2013. Check http://www.taichungjazzfestival.com.tw/index_en.html for more information regarding performance times and performers. If you are in the immediate vicinity, I highly suggest that you check it out. It’s free and pretty awesome!!
Please forgive the poor picture quality. I didn’t bring my professional camera with me!