The finale of my extraordinary birthday events this year was courtesy of May Miculus and Craig McPherson, our friends who live in the country outside Warrenton, VA. May has made a beautiful house and garden and Craig has a spectacular art studio on the property where he crafts his mezzotints. Check him out at http://www.craigmcpherson.net. They treated us to a jazz concert at Castelton, a teaching and performance venue set in the rolling hills and farmlands.
Before the concert we were invited to dinner nearby at the home and studio of Casey and Patti where we were also joined by their friends, Misty and Bruce. They made a spectacular dinner right out of the garden, accompanied by a big pitcher of sangria. Casey Eitner is a biotech guy and Canadian on the verge of becoming one of US, and his wife Patti Underwood is an artist. In the “it’s a small world” category, her work is being considered for Yolanda’s Art Night show by their beneficiary, Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) this coming October. To see her stuff, go to http://www.punderwood.com. She is currently working on layered prints with musical undertones. Pun intended.
After a collegial dinner we headed out for the concert, a real treat in this pastoral landscape. It began with two student jazz bands, made up of talented youngsters who audtition for the opportunity to study with the greats. And they were great, especially the trumpets…but I’m biased. Then came Wynton. We heard him a couple years ago at the Kennedy Center, but this was better because jazz is made for intimate settings.
The band played standard tunes by Duke Ellington, along with great original scores by band members, Christopher Crenhaw (trombone) and Carlos Henriquez (bass). Every player had their own special place in the limelight as a soloist, and with years of practice together, played two tight sets. Misty had close connections to Wynton back in the day in New Orleans, so she found her way backstage to meet him and tease him about owing her an interview.
Wynton owns a Monette trumpet, which he has played since he was in his 20s. It’s a heavy horn with a large bell, brushed satin gold plated with an integral mouthpiece. It’s a handmade instrument, customized for each player by David Monette of Portland, Oregon.
On the way home we were treated to a spectacularly textured sky, hiding a just-passed Blue Moon. Shine on!