This RAG was being prepared as the threat of a Category 5 Hurricane loomed over New Orleans and people had been evacuated. I dreaded writing another editorial dealing with the devastation of the Crescent City as I did in 2005, but I'm glad to say that Hurricane Gustav's power diminished, and even though significant damage occurred and must be dealt with, at least there was not rampant destruction and death. One can only hope that our beloved city survives another hurricane season. Our sympathy goes out to those whose lives have been affected by Gustav, and we hope recovery will be faster than it was in 2005. We're also concerned about those in the path of Hanna, Ike and Josephine and hope that damage is minimal.
With Gustav thankfully not claiming center stage, I'll move on to the content of this month's issue. You'll note that it's heavy on festivals. Even so, this issue covers only a smattering of the festivals that have occurred over the past couple of months. What we've tried to do is present a representative sample of the excellent and varied offerings on both sides of the Pond.
This month, we've published many photos (please check out the photo albums attached to the JazzAscona, Great Connecticut and Elkhart festivals), because we want to tip our hat to stellar musicians who aren't often pictured in the RAG and also to acknowledge a wonderful trend -- the emergence of more than a few young musicians playing early jazz.
Our coverage last month highlighted the many young ragtimers who are dazzling the ragtime community (we plan to publish "Ragtime Machine" interviews with several of these youngsters soon), and now we're seeing some fresh new faces at trad jazz festivals. It's to the credit of jazz veterans that they are encouraging this new talent through individual mentoring, clinics and workshops.
European festivals tend to attract an audience that covers the gamut of ages. Now if we could just figure out a way to do that in the U.S.....
Who's up for the challenge?