April 23, 2021
Ferry Facts: Jazz Time!
Jazz Debuts at the FerryFerry grounds have been affiliated with great outdoor concerts for some time, but never in April, for jazz, or as ticketed events. That all changed as of today, when the nine-year-old Exit Zero Jazz festival launched its new three-day outdoor Spring series at the Cape May campus.
Things that will be different from past terminal concerts include cooler weather, marked out socially distanced seating spaces, two stages rather than one with acts rotating between the two stages, the music genre, and a temporary renaming of the Ferry grounds as the "Grand Green." Stage One, called the Philadelphia Mortgage Advisor's Stage, will have four performances daily while Stage Two --the Worldwide Logistics Group Stage -- will have three. Another difference is that the festival is a private event sponsored by the Exit Zero Jazz festival on Ferry grounds whereas prior summer concerts were sponsored by the Ferry in conjunction with Lower Township.
In total, 21 different performances by 18 different groups, or more than one-third of the entire festival, will be at the Ferry, the main festival venue. Other venues include the beach outside Cape May Convention Hall, and Hops Pass Venues on the outside grounds at Cape May Brewing, Hawk Haven Winery and Nauti Spirits Distillery.
Your Festival Tasting
If you don't have a ticket to the festival, here's your at-home seat for a small tasting of some of the music likely to be heard on the Ferry stages.
Breakout artist Gabriella Cavassa above will grace the Ferry stages three times, the most of any festival performer. She just released her self-titled debut album. Recently relocated to New Orleans from her home state of California, she is a frequent artist in NOLO jazz clubs and known for her vocals, compositions and new interpretations. Click the photo above and here to hear samples of her studio recordings.
The Daisy Castro Trio opened the festival and appears twice on the Ferry stage. Click here for a sample of her music from a 2017 video. She also appeared on the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2015.
Her first album, Gypsy Moth, was recorded when she was 13. She started learning classical violin with the Suzuki method when she was six and toured at early ages with her muscian parents as one of the Infidel Castros. Now in her early twenties, her style is defined as gypsy-influenced jazz. Both Daisy Castro and Gabrielle Cavassa are performing on Friday and Saturday.
Pianist Matthew Whitaker, who also appeared on the Millenium Stage in April 2017, takes the Ferry stage on Sunday. For tracks from his debut album Otta the Box go to: https://www.matthewwhitaker.net/music, or click the photo above for his accompanient of What A Wonderful World in a benefit for the American Foundation for the Blind in March 2020. A local NJ musician born in Hackensack, he has been blind since birth. He was featured on CBS News in December 2020.
Is this likely to be the start of a new Exit Zero Jazz Festival format? That remains to be seen. Generally, the festival takes place across 9-10 indoor venues running at times, as many jazz sets do, into the later hours of the evening. Because of COVID, festival operators had to get creative. Last year, they started to move the festival outdoors at smaller venues to less than 20% of their normal crowds. This year, the festival is testing larger outdoor venues such as the Ferry "Grand" Green, and tickets are sold out.
Being outdoors, however, has its challenges. The festival is rain or shine and Sunday's forecast is still iffy. But, if the music muses are the same as for most summer outdoor concerts, we may find the winds change and the show continues on.
Special thanks to Mike Porch for timely photos of Daisy Castro at the Ferry.
Earth Day was just this week, and if you're looking for a different kind of audio experience, consider sampling or subscribing to some of the new climate and environmental podcasts available wherever you like to access podcasts. Here are three to consider:
1. For What It's Earth. Started in Feb. 2019, this series by Apple Podcasts claims to "make big issues bite-sized." Past topics have ranged from the sustainability issues of tea and coffee to the environmental pawprint of pets, and "Air Pollution: What Are We Breathing In?"
2. How to Save A Planet. This Spotify original premiered in August 2020. It asks the question: "What do we need to do and how do we get it done?" Past editions covered topics such as "Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Climate?" and how to talk to family about climate change.
3. How to Save Your Planet. A limited series from Simon & Schuster there are seven archived episodes from April until July 2020 with each episode dedicated ton one room or area of a house to find more "sustainable ways to live." It's a companion audio to the book How to Save Your Planet One Object at a Time by Tara Shine.