The 2016 Jazz Up Close series at the Russell Library was supported by a generous grant from the Middletown Commission on the Arts. 2016 guests included Caroline Davis, Monnette Sudler, Steve Wilson, and Godwin Louis.
The 2016 theme of “Spanning Generations” featured an roster with a roughly 35 year spectrum of age. I’d first played with Godwin when he was just out of college, while I’d been listening to Monnette’s recordings since MY college days. In between were Steve, who since I first heard him in 1993 has emerged as one of the dominant alto saxophone voices in modern jazz, and Caroline, who, like Godwin, has been making increasing waves since her visit to Middletown. I was curious to experience and share commonalities and differences in how folks across generations approached their music, and this series did just that and then some. And for me and Henry, it was a wonderful opportunity, in playing with each of them, to experience the continuity that comes with how jazz music values both the vigor of youth and the wisdom of experience, often in ways that do not follow lines of age as predictably as one might think.
-Noah Baerman, series curator