Sunday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Mountain Xpress had it listed as “An All-American Big Band Free Jazz Concert” performed by the Asheville Jazz Orchestra at the Trinity United Methodist Church. Hard to tell what that meant, but I was game to check it out. I parked on the main drag and snuck into a local joint for a hot dog and a local IPA, showing up right at three and stepping inside just in time to catch…the national anthem? WTF?An older woman was passing around American flags. The crowd was almost entirely all-white, average age 60+, and the band opened the set with first a Stan Kenton number, then something by Glenn Miller. Clearly I was in wrong place, and so turned to go, but just then the vocalist was introduced. She told the crowd she’d be singing a tune by “one of my favorite Americans, Duke Ellington.” I pumped my fist in the back door. About time! “Looks like someone agrees with my choice,” she said from the stage. So I had to stay for that one, then a nice version of the Ella standard, “A Tisket, A Tasket,” from her days back in the Chick Webb band. But as soon as I could I slipped out the front doors and headed for my car, passing on my disoriented way a funky blue mural and a bank of clouds in a blaring blue sky, which was as jazzy as anything I’d heard inside that church.