Jazz at Five: the Summary

The most poignant moment of last week’s Jazz at Five outdoor jazz concert was in between sets. After one of the three bands had finished and while the next was setting up, there were a mother and daughter standing off to the side, observing. The daughter was very young and resembled the youngest of Donna Reed’s children in It’s a Wonderful Life. The mother resembled Donna Reed. Watching the next act take the stage, the daughter asked:

“Mommy? Where is Jazzcat?”

“Well, darling, Jazzcat couldn’t be here today.”

“But, mommy…where is he? Or she?”

“Well, sweetheart, Jazzcat had to go away. She or he was needed elsewhere.”


“Yes. Jazzcat was needed at a…farm. Jazzcat is at a farm now! A Jazzkitten farm! And he or she is teaching all the little kittens all about jazz and how to talk jazz talk and they’re oh so happy!”

“Really, mommy, really?”

“Oh yes, my dear! And the farm is full of birds and squirrels and cans of tuna and noisy electric can-openers and everything that kittens adore! And Jazzcat is there, teaching them all about jazz!”

“Oh mommy, that sounds wonderful! Can we go to Jazzkitten farm?”

“Not today, dear. But right now we can listen to jazz played by human musicians.”

“Okay, mommy. It’s a start.”

And such a start it was, Gentle Reader! The first Jazz at Five concert of the 2016 series featured stirring performances by Milwaukee’s Skai Academy, Major Vistas, and Ladies Must Swing. Each ensemble brought something unique. Skai Academy: youth, enthusiasm, David Bowie songs. Major Vistas: original music by Bucheit and Weiser. Ladies Must Swing: big band repertory with something for everyone. The event ran smoothly and on schedule. The sound people were professional and courteous. The crowd was abundant and enthusiastic.

Major Vistas were happy to participate. And maybe, for a little while, that little girl missed Jazzcat a little less. Fare thee well, Jazzcat, wherever you are! -Urban Van Hoof