(NewsroomPanama) Panama’s 8th Jazz Festival grand finale was looking like a watered down version of previous events as the rain that dragged on into the dry season, poured down on Cathedral Square, Casco Viejo on Saturday (January 15).
Umbrellas kept off the rain, jazz bought out the sun
Usually the area is packed by soon after midday for the free nine hour concert, but this year by 3 p.m. the audience was relatively sparse, and sponsor’s stalls were minus the usual crown of socialites, seeing and being seen, while the true jazz lovers sat near the stage , or on stools they had lugged in. Everyone to his or her taste.
Saturday’s Jazz lovers had the square largely to themselves, and neither rain, nor the slowly arrive shine.
could dampen their enthusiasm for the free annual music feast.
The concert started with some who may, one day, end up at the top of the bill …young talented discoveries of the Danilo Perez Foundation. They were followed by the Carlos Ubarte and P. Mauriat Jazz Quartet and the Crossroads High School. By the time The Paris Conservatory of Music Ensemble arrived on stage the rain had slowed, and more people started to trickle in. Under the direction of Riccardo Del Fro, the ensemble played music composed by group members and the audience were well rewarded with some musical sunshine for their fortitude in challenging the clouds.
When the Mexico Tonic Foundation, took the stage, the square was beginning to look more like the sun blessed days of the previous seven years, and by early evening the trickle had become if not a torrent, a healthy stream until some 6,000 people were in place.
Of course every action has a reaction and the stream of buses carrying passengers to the festival from MetroCenter, courtesy of the Hard Rock Café, had movie goers at the mall rising to new heights as they struggled to find parking space on the fifth level.
Meanwhile, back at Cathedral Square, the new crowds seemed to be there for the social purlieu, and the prominent rum bar was ready to drop the final letter as things heated up, the bands played on and conversations got louder.
The New England Conservatory of Music and the Berklee Global Jazz Quintet laid the musical carpet leading to the top of the bill reserved for the man the festival was honoring, Vitin Paz with the Vitin Paz Quintet. Vitin, one of the finest trumpeters in the history of Latin America music, blew his sweet heart out, and earned the respect of even the rumbas at the back.
Those of you who were afraid you would melt under the occasional showers, missed out.
The happy crowd departed, some for a nearby beach party, the true jazz lovers to the fund raising event at the Panama Hotel, for the Danilo Perez Foundation, and the Salsa Meets Jazz finale with Danilo Perez Sr Band and invited performers.
The week was a bright cover for some of the bad news that has hit Panama almost as consistently as the rain.
Out and About
with Lourdes Quijada