Burlington Discover Jazz Festival – The Necessary Means at Nectar’s

The first week of June is a great time to be in Burlington. It’s the week of the annual Burlington Discover Jazz Festival which brings together international and local musicians together to play at a variety of venues around the city. I love walking down Church Street during the festival; every block you can hear different sounds drifting out of the windows or on outdoor stages.

This year, The Necessary Means played at Nectar’s as a part of the festivities. Ray Paczkowski and Russ Lawton (Soule Monde) opened.  If you haven’t seen these two play together, you’re missing out. It’s hard to believe that two people can produce such a big, full sound. I kept looking around to see where they were hiding all the other musicians.

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After a quick stage reset (it’s gotta be hard always moving around that big Hammond organ) the Necessary Means came on and didn’t disappoint. Their Facebook page describes their sound as “70’s horn funk meets modern jam jazz” and that about nails it. Longtime Grift fans will recognize a few songs as solo riffs that have been turned into full fledged, standalone art. What strikes me every time I see these guys play is that in addition to sounding great, they’re all having fun on stage.

Enough words.  Enjoy the photos — and maybe put on a few tunes while you’re scrolling through them.

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I found the secret sauce to Daiki’s awesome percussion. Coconut Juice.

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I recommend picking up their album, “Click” from CDBaby. It’s only 6 bucks as a digital download.

 

There are still a couple more days of music. Who’re you going to see?

What a difference a year makes

Last year, Lake Champlain was dealing with historic flooding. This year, I’ve started to hear references to record low lake levels. Since I now commute along the waterfront, I’ve been witness to the lack of water. Take the photograph below. It was taken yesterday, April 25th, 2012.

One year ago, the same lighthouse looked like this.

When I compare the two images, I think the lighthouse was actually damaged enough that they had to remove some of the lower boards.

According to this chart, the lake level should be around 99′ at this time of year. Instead, we’re at about 96.5′ — more like what I would expect in June. And that’s after a pretty rainy couple of days. We were at 96.0′ on April 21st. According to the USGS, the lake level changes by about 5′ annually. If we’re at the annual high point now, what does that mean for the rest of the summer? Will September or October 2012 bring us new record lows, only 18 months after record highs?

On a somewhat related note, there’s still a lot of effort going in to repairing our broken state after last year’s flooding. There are lots of people in VT that still need homes rebuilt and businesses that are still recovering.  One of the things that’s near and dear to my heart is the Burlington Bike Path. OK, it’s somewhat selfish, it’s part of my daily commute — but it’s also a big draw for tourism. Many events like those put on by Run Vermont and Race Vermont rely on the Bike Path for their routes. It’s in rough shape right now as a result of all the flooding last year. Parts have been patched, and repairs on other sections have begun, but there’s a long way to go.  Local Motion has put together a fund to help repair the Island Line Trail. If you use this path and have a few dollars to spare, I’m sure they would appreciate any contribution.

If the Bike Path isn’t your thing, maybe consider the VT Irene Flood Relief Fund or VT Farm Disaster Relief Fund.

A photographer in Burlington, Vermont