September 1, 2005
This huge summer of music closes this week. But it ends with a bang, on Sunday and Monday, Sept. 4-5, the final two days of Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Festival. Topping the list of season-closing acts is John Fogerty, the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman who makes his Jazz Aspen debut Sunday. Fogerty heads a must-see main-stage Sunday lineup that includes country icon Willie Nelson and groove group Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. At the Village Stage, on the festival grounds, Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge leads his fusion group Oteil & the Peacemakers. That night, Snowmass rages with Denson, Burbridge and Colorado jazz-funk band the Motet playing JAS After Dark shows. The festival and the season close Monday with a reggae-heavy main-stage lineup featuring the Ivory Coast’s Alpha Blondy and Britain’s Maxi Priest.
In fact, with the upper valley’s new raging ways, the music never really stops. It just takes a few days off for a breather. On Friday, Sept. 9, Chicago’s Liquid Soul makes an appearance at the Belly Up. Led by saxophonist Mars Williams, who has swung from touring with the Psychedelic Furs to avant-garde jazz projects, Liquid Soul cooks up a contemporary stew of jazz, funk and hip-hop. The group formed out of a weekly jam at Chicago’s Elbo Room, which soon proved too cramped. After moving to the Double Door, Liquid Soul and guests jammed every Sunday night for years. The band earned a Grammy nomination for its 2000 album “Here’s the Deal,” but has slowed down some on the studio end; their last release was 2002’s “Evolution.” The stage, however, is another matter, as Liquid Soul continues to fire up dance floors all over.
With Hollywood limping out of a lame summer at the box office, one of the theories for the slump – that the movies haven’t appealed to intelligent tastes – gets tested now that it’s September. “The Constant Gardener,” based on John Le Carre’s novel of politics, murder and romance in northern Kenya, has a stellar cast, headed by Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. Even better, it is director Fernando Meirelle’s follow-up to his magnificent “City of God,” the tale of Rio de Janeiro street gangs that earned him an Academy Award nomination. With strong advance buzz, “The Constant Gardener” should provide some indication if film fans are simply waiting for something to draw them into the theaters. It shows this week in local theaters.