If the world felt a little bit under the weather, as the Funky Meters sang in their closing set Sunday night at the Telluride Jazz Celebration, it was pretty hard to tell. Even the rain that finally fell (the monsoons, for some magical reason, held off nearly the entire weekend) could not dampen the spirits of the audience. Suited up in rain jackets and wielding the umbrellas that are de rigueur at the festival, the crowd shook with the same fever with which they started off the day, at the Mardi Gras-style parade. It was the same booty-shaking energy that the eager crowd kicked off the festival with at the sneak peek of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds Wednesday night at the outdoor stage in Mountain Village.
You might wonder what moved the crowds. This year, I think it was the bass. Jazz Celebration is always full of incredible musicians, but to have Victor Wooten (Victor Wooten Band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) and George Porter, Jr. (The Funky Meters) at the same festival was a bass-lover’s dream—they are my two favorite bassists in the world, and their varied styles showcase just how much the genre of jazz encompasses. Victor Wooten’s playing is unimaginably melodious and complicated, and the music of George Porter, Jr. has a little of everything, from zydeco to pure, unadulterated funk.
Enjoy these two video clips. If you missed out on this year’s Jazz Celebration, make sure that doesn’t happen in 2013.