Sedona Jazz Festival

The Navaho Bridge over Glen Canyon near Page, Arizona

Sandy didn't get to spend much time in Boise after returning from her/our trip to Europe and the Middle East. She only had five days in Boise. So when people ask what we did special for her birthday, the answer is Nothing! Well, we did do presents and took walks with Laney and watched the big BSU vs Oregon State game. On Tuesday morning she had to leave for a women in software engineering conference in Atlanta. I had a few extra days before I left to meet up with her for our next trip.

The plan was that when she finished in Atlanta she would fly to Phoenix. Meanwhile, I would drive from Boise to Phoenix and meet her at the airport. (I figured I should get a lot of spousal points - how many times does someone drive a thousand miles to pick up their wife at the airport?) Then we would drive to Sedona Arizona for a long weekend. We wanted to attend the Sedona Jazz Festival. Craig Chaquico, a guitarist that we both really like, was playing at the festival. We have seen him several times in concert and he is always awesome.

I got up early on Thursday and spent a few hours cleaning so the house would be in good shape when Sandy came home. Then I left for Phoenix. The driving was mostly uneventful other than heavy traffic and construction on I15. I think that they have been working on I15 from Ogden to Provo for the past fifteen or twenty years.

A beautiful setup for the Sedona Jazz Festival

I made it to Kanab Utah about 10 pm and found a motel for the night. Unfortunately when I asked the desk clerk where I could get dinner, she said that all the restaurants in town closed at 10 pm. Except McDonalds, but that was ok with me. It was only half a block away so I walked over. It turned out that the dining room closed at 10 pm. Just the drive through was open. So I had to take my place in the line of cars and walk through the drive through to get my dinner. I got funny looks but I got my food. Good enough for me. But I'll probably be too embarrassed to go back to the Kanab McDonald's for several years.

The next day there were no problems driving the rest of the way to Phoenix, although it did seem that the crazies were out. I saw all sorts of people doing really dumb stuff once I got to Arizona. But no accidents, so I guess it was ok.

Sandy's flight got in at 7 pm. After that we had about a two hour drive to Sedona. I knew that Sandy would be tired after a tough week, especially with a three hour time change. So I wanted to make sure I was there to meet her and that we could leave quickly and get up to Sedona and into our hotel as fast as possible. I got to the airport three hours early so I didn't have to worry about traffic. I looked up her flight (it was on United) and checked which terminal handled United. I checked the board in the terminal when I got there which did indeed show her United flight to be on time. I even asked the guard at the exit from security if that was the only way to exit. He said that if she was on a United flight she had to come through this way. I was all set.

Sandy chills out in the shade listening to cool jazz

Except that Sandy called me and said she had just exited security and she couldn't find me. We quickly figured out that while I was where all United flights exited, I was not where all US Airways flights that are United code-shares exit. Oh man, I was in the wrong terminal. I had to walk back to the parking garage, drive from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 (and get to the correct exit as it has three). Then I had to fight through a multi-lane traffic jam to get to where I could pick up Sandy. Then we had to get out through all the traffic and find our way to the correct exit from the airport. All this took about an hour. So much for my clever plan to be out of the airport in ten minutes. We finally got to our hotel a little after 10 pm. They hadn't given our room away, so I guess it was ok.

Saturday morning Sandy was up super early - an early riser still on eastern time. We used the time to go shopping for the one thing that I had forgotten to bring - a blanket we could use for sitting on the ground. We found an "authentic Southwestern, native, Mexican" blanket for $8 in a souvenir store. Then it was off to the jazz festival.

There was no parking at the event so we had to walk a few blocks to a shuttle pick up point. About one minute after we got there the bus pulled up. We heard a lot of people there complaining that they had waited over half an hour for the shuttle. Better to be lucky than good.

The Homemade Jamz Blues Band starts off the festival

We were fairly early so we found a nice spot on the grass in the shade of a huge willow tree. In the shade the temperature was just about perfect, low eighties with a slight breeze. We had come to hear Craig Chaquico but he was playing third. The first group was the Homemade Jamz Blues Band. They were really good. The guitar player was awesome and he also had a great blues voice for the vocals. But the big surprise came when we read about them. They are all siblings and were amazingly young. The guitarist/singer was sixteen, the bass player was fifteen, and their ten year old sister was the drummer. No way did they sound like a "kids act". They are already working on their third album. We bought one and had them autograph it when they finished playing. They were really, really good. Always good to make a surprise find at a music festival like this.

At this point things went sharply downhill. The next band had some kind of problem with a missing instrument, so they had to ask if anyone knew where they could get a bass. Then we waited while someone went to get the loaner. They didn't start playing till forty five minutes late. It might not seem like a big deal, but just wait till later. Neither of us liked this band at all. They played what an old friend of mine used to call "head jazz" - no melody, no rhythym, very discordant. Probably really hard to play, but not pleasant to listen to. We got bored pretty quickly so we hit the food tents to find some lunch.

Craig Chaquico was excellent as always

Finally it was time for Craig Chaquico to play. By this time some clouds had moved in so Sandy and I moved up close to the stage. There wasn't any shade to be in anymore. The music was incredible as always. About half way through the set he played "Gathering of the Tribes". As usual he told his story of the origin of the song at a Native American tribal gathering that he attended. It is supposed to be all New Age and mystical. Especially relevant for a music festival in Sadona which has to be the New Age capital of the US (visiting "energy vortexes" is a major tourist activity). About half way through, just at the "mystical" part of the song, there was a huge crack of thunder. Wow. Impressive. Wonder how he managed to do that?

But I was less impressed by the stage craft when it started to rain about five minutes later. Not a hard rain. It was best characterized by Sandy as a "really annoying drizzle". The blanket we were sitting on ended up over our heads and we were good for a while. The band kept playing. After about ten minutes the rain stopped. Ok, that wasn't so bad. But then it started to rain again, this time harder. We checked our watches. He had been playing for fifty five minutes. The other bands had each played for an hour. No point being fanatical. We grabbed our stuff and headed out. But we grumbled the whole way about the guy who delayed things by forty five minutes, for music that neither of us enjoyed. Oh well. We caught a shuttle bus right away (again) and were back at our hotel in no time.

About an hour later the rain stopped and it was really nice. We didn't really care that we missed the last two acts. We weren't interested in them and had planned to leave as soon as Craig Chaquico finished playing anyway. We did a short shopping trip and Sandy bought some really nice jewelry at a shop she had liked the last time that we were here. Then it was back to the hotel to watch college football. The Badgers lost to Michigan State, Iowa beat Penn State, and BSU massacred New Mexico State.

With the rain, not perfect, but still a Really Good Day.