Monday, September 19, 2011


I'll gladly confess that I went back to the hotel for a nap. I didn't want to risk missing William Parker's 6:15 AM solo bass concert that was closing out Nuit Blanche (though not the festival -- I had to catch my flight before the final show).

When I got to the Arts Center a solo drum concert was just winding up in the next gallery -- just the thing to reinvigorate a roomful of folk who had been up all night.

After a brief introduction, Parker launched into his ambitious solo.

Earlier in the week, one announcer had joked that William Parker is the patron saint of the Guelph Jazz Festival. Given how often he played, with so many differing configurations of musicians (he even accepted the task of reading Alexandre Pierrepont's text during one improvisation), it's clear that Parker is fully committed to Guelph's celebration of improvisation in music.

As he brought his solo, and my festival, to a close, William Parker began to lead the audience in a sing-along dating to his days playing with the late Don Cherry.

Having forgotten completely that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was coming on, I had booked my flight back to the States on 9/11/2011 -- My mind was very much on the losses represented by that date as I was listening to Parker and getting ready to leave Canada. The lyric Parker was recalling that he had learned from Cherry was just what I needed to sing that day: "May the light that remains abide within you." Then, and I wouldn't believe it myself if I didn't have this picture, I walked out the front door and was faced with a ribbon of rainbow in the sky to accompany me home.

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