37: Inspiration Comes from Life at the Newport Jazz Festival
The drive from Brooklyn, NY to Newport, RI takes two and a half hours on a good day. On Friday, July 31, it took six hours but the slow ride built anticipation. It was the first day of the Newport Jazz Festival and I was going to cover the event, along with my father, Ben Sidran, for WBGO radio.
Ben and I spend a lot of time together, often on the road, and we’ve been engaged in an ongoing conversation about the nature of life, art, craft, commerce, and catering for many years. Recently we’ve started to document our travels and conversations (earlier this summer we made an episode of the Third Story about our time in Copenhagen), and apparently the word is spreading, because WBGO invited us to basically do what we do under the auspices of public radio.
We spent three days in Newport, checking out the music, hanging with musicians and trying to find a lobster roll.
During the course of the weekend, we spent time with some wonderful jazz personalities, including Jon Batiste, Dr. John, Jason Lindner, Maria Schneider, Jose James, James Carter, Jamie Cullum, David Hazeltine, and Bob Dorough.
Each of them helped us to paint the picture of real life as it comes into contact with a career in music.
The conversations we had with musicians occasionally touched on the nature of the festival itself, but in many ways the festival was just an elegant and intense backdrop for a larger conversation about a life in music.
In almost every instance, when asked about their inspiration, motivation, and transportation, the musicians responded with a personal story from their own life. Inspiration comes from life. That's what we learned in Newport.
This episode features a collection of the pieces we produced for WBGO, followed by the conversation Ben and I had in the car on the way back to Brooklyn. (By the way, it only took two and a half hours to get home.)
Were you at Newport this year? What did you think?
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