July Fest is over. This morning, downtown Binghamton was back to normal. Where crowds had gathered the past three days, gentle breezes blew through the almost empty streets. The vendors were gone, the sidewalks cleaned, the music stage disassembled. The only live music was birdsong and an occasional burst of rap music from a passing car.
I ended up going to July Fest all three days. Friday because I work down there anyway, Saturday to browse the booths I couldn't get to Saturday, and Sunday to listen to a musician by the name of Gap Mangione, performing with with his New Blues Band.
Funny how we can sometimes close ourselves off to new musical experiences. Last year, the first year of the Binghamton Jazz Festival (held with July Fest), my spouse didn't want to go at all. He loves hard rock music - groups like Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Staind. Of course, the roots of rock are complex, and include jazz.
Would we have gone if Gap wasn't Chuck Mangione's older brother? Probably not. But I am very glad we went. A lot of the music was what I would consider "easy listening" but the day was sunny, and it was so nice to sit downtown and people watch. The musicians in the band (including Gap) were excellent and we enjoyed the hour and a half or so that they played.
I wonder how many people half expected Chuck to suddenly appear onstage and play. He didn't, of course, but Gap did several songs written by his brother. The last song of the set was "Feels So Good".
It did, Gap. It did.
Here's a picture of the band. Gap is in the white shirt.
Oh, one other thing. Gap sure had the biggest smile I've ever seen.