The Rosslyn Jazz Festival has been running for nineteen years now and surprisingly this is the first time I have been to it. I tried to go last year but they canceled it because of sever weather from tropical storm Hanna. It is held in Gateway Park which is a tiny little park. It is a little island oasis in a jungle of concrete and steel. You can even see the Washington Monument from here, it is only the top and it is far away, but you can still see it. As I approached the park the police closed several of the roads to allow vendors to setup and to let the mass of people ebb and flow from the park throughout the day.
When I arrived about noon the place was pretty empty, I actually didn’t think it would fill in much. The weather was cool with a slight breeze rustling the leaves. The sky was cloudy but with a zero chance of rain and little humidity to make things uncomfortable. Other than the cloudy skies all day it was a perfect Saturday afternoon in September. It should have been much hotter and definitely more humid than it was, but I wasn’t complaining. While the park was empty I took the time to finish my coffee and smoke a cigar before the show started. I was still trying to recover from Friday night, worked till 2:30am before going home. I needed all the help I could get to stay awake and for me there is nothing better than caffeine and nicotine.
By the time 12:30 rolled around and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra took the stage the little park really started to fill in. Some people brought chairs and others, like myself, just sat on the lawn. Near the front however not many people were sitting, most were standing. I understood why when they took the stage, people started dancing salsa, mambo and other forms of Spanish dance. Such an energetic band that infected the crowd and got many people on their feet. That’s just what the music wanted you to do, get up and dance. For me the rhythmic beats of Latin swing/samba/mambo/jazz invigorated me more than the caffeine and nicotine, it awoke the music lover inside me.
For the first half of the set I mostly walked around taking a ton of pictures. Not only of the band, but all the people that eventually filled the park. I love to see smiles on peoples faces, especially at concerts. I bet most people there didn’t speak Spanish, but they didn’t have to to understand what good music is. It reminds me of math, math is universal and people from different countries know how to “speak” it. Music has the same quality, it transcends boundaries and cultures to bring people together no matter what language they speak.
After getting a lot of great shots I moved close to the stage to relax and just enjoy the rest of the show. The music was great and I kept tapping my foot to the beat. I couldn’t understand the words, but I understood their meaning. It was such a great show I was glad they opened the festival. When their set ended at 2pm I had to start making my way to Greg’s house. I was going to the Toby Keith concert at Nissan Pavilion with a bunch of people later that night. I wish I could have stated to listened to the other artists. At least I was able to listen to the festival on my way to Greg’s house. The radio sponsors, WPFW, was broadcasting the whole festival which was really cool.
Because I was hungry I took the opportunity to stop by the Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington for a sandwich and beer. I don’t get over to this part of town much so when I do I like to hit this place up. They have some unique sandwiches and a great selection of bottle beers, the place is hard to beat. When I arrived the place was closed for remodeling, my heart sank. I was so looking forward to a good lunch, fortunately their sister cafe is four doors down so I ate their. It is the Stray Cat Cafe and is pretty much the same menu, just has a cat theme instead of dogs. I can’t wait to see the Lost Dog when they have finished remodeling. I hope they expand the seating area because it has always been full when I go.
Now full, I finished my journey to meet everyone at Greg’s house so we could car pool to the Toby Keith show. I am not a fan, but I did have a good time. Check out my next post of a review of that show.