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Sounds of jazz, blues fills park with music

By Staff | Mar 31, 2008

There’s nothing like the sounds of sweet jazz and sometimes having the blues is a good thing.

Even though dozens of music lovers admitted they know what it is like to “have been mistreated,” more than 2,500 packed the field at Jaycee Park for Cape Coral’s 19th Annual Sounds of Jazz and Blues event Saturday. Event organizers were excited by the turnout — larger than usual — which may have swelled because of the major name recognition of headliner Boney James.

“It’s another flavor we bring to Cape Coral to wrap up Celebrate Cape festival,” city special events coordinator Todd King said.

The mistreatment clearly did not extend to Saturday’s event. A few clouds of bugs were clearly a nuisance to some in attendance but once the sweet sounds began in the early evening, everything else just faded into the background.

Cape resident Larry Brewster expected the evening, his first time at the event, to bring an opportunity to hear “good music and relax” and he was not disappointed.

While Brewster does not have a favorite jazz or blues musician per se, he listens to a lot of the genre and thought what was blaring from the stage Saturday night was right up his alley.

Residents from across the city, as well as all of southwest Florida, brought some of the jazz and blues club feel to the park as they carried in cheese, wine and other top shelf items. Kathleen Anderson has been doing her part to bring the club to the event for the last five years and believes the lax carry-in policy is a positive asset to the atmosphere.

Ellen Tracy, who was treated to her first Cape jazz festival Saturday, sat with Anderson throughout the evening sipping wine and snacking while taking in the music. She said she was especially pleased to be able to sit outside with sandals and that the encroaching bugs that caused a minor nuisance to other festivalgoers did not to bother her.

“I came all the way from Syracuse for this,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful.”

Tracy, a B.B. King fan, got in to Saturday’s concert thanks to her brother who flew her down from upstate New York. While she is a big jazz fan, Anderson said she was glad the festival started to broaden its musical base in to blues.

“I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “We’re definitely blues fans.”

Organizers said the vast majority of tickets sold were from outside the Cape but the city had its share of representatives.

The concert brought out a number of prominent officials who took in the fantastic sounds and the delicious fare. Assistant City Attorney Marylin Miller had a particularly impressive spread complete with brie cheese, shrimp, fine wine and a full-sized serving table.

Miller said she has kept the tradition alive for at least 15 years and recalled when the event was held at the Coral Oaks Golf Course. She called her husband, Bill, “Mister Jazz” and said that he has practically every album from every notable artist in the genre.

“He likes to eat, too,” she said. “And I’m a good cook.”