From the point of view of the jazz community, this most American of the arts was barely on the fringe of the Fringe Festival.
It was a tribute to Samuel Brown, the veteran teacher at Jefferson High School whose students included many celebrated jazz men, none of whom took part in the festival. In another venture, Harold Land, the tenor saxophonist, was set to lead a group at Cal Tech but exercised his option to withdraw in favor of another, longer booking. His place was taken by Harold Land Jr., his pianist son, leading a quintet with the trumpeter Oscar Brashear.
The fact is that not one world class name was hired; not one outstanding organized combo such as those of Wynton Marsalis, Art Blakey, Chick Corea, Phil Woods or any of the scores of others who could have represented the many phases of small group jazz today. Nor was there a solitary big band, nor any of the countless vocal luminaries who currently light up the scene. Not one composer was invited to write original music to be performed during the month of festivities.
This sort of Cinderella treatment was common in jazz three or four decades ago, but many of us were under the impression that the music had come out of the shadows. Evidently neither the festival director Aaron Paley nor anyone advising him was aware of this.