This year, the Jalisco Jazz Festival didn’t crank out its customary closing concert, which like last year’s would have been held in a cavernous event space on the penthouse suite of a building in the Plaza Andares mall complex in Zapopan.
As festival founder Gil Cervantes related to me the day after the non-event, a confluence of unfortunate events, including a key musician’s personal emergency, made the production an impossibility.
But as in years past, the festival’s yearly blowout didn’t signal the complete cessation of music-related activity. For instance, Cervantes told me the news of the previous evening’s cancelation in the Plaza Andares, not in the rooftop event space, but far below at the central, open air “Foro” stage during this year’s “Ruta del Jazz Andares” event.
The Foro stage sits like a boulder in the middle of a raging river of stuff: two floors of shops hawking the high-income-signifying uniforms and assorted accoutrement of Guadalajara’s wealthiest residents, who could be seen walking along the railed walkway above the Foro stage, gazing down armed with bags of booty in benign ignorance at the studious, serious-faced young jazzistas plying their trade on the raised stage – before quickly continuing on, en route to another crucial purchase.
The band who was winding down upon my arrival at the Foro around 2 p.m. was Cienfuegos, who were there participating in the “Premio Fiesta de Jazz” (Premio FJ) competition. There was a pleasing symmetry in this; I had seen the band, led by multi-reedist Chen Quintero, play in Parque Agua Azul a little over a year ago, shortly after my arrival in Guadalajara. After Quintero and company packed up their instruments and left the stage – to be followed by three more groups in the competition – I buttonholed the roguishly unshaven Cervantes, lounging in the back and looking jovial and relaxed in loose-fitting clothes, despite his organizational burden.