Some songs are so tied to events that it’s hard (or maybe impossible) to separate them. Here’s one of mine.

In 1985, Aprill and I lived in New York. We spent many summer evenings on the lawn of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, one of the first outdoor amphitheaters built in the U.S., listening to concerts ranging from Stevie Nicks to Dan Fogelberg to the Philadelphia Philharmonic. Those were incredible nights – and none were better than when the Kool Jazz Festival rolled into town. We saw and heard some unbelievable jazz – Spyrogyra, David Sanborn, Chick Corea, Weather Report, Gary Burton, Dave Brubeck – you name them, we probably saw them.

One particular Saturday we’d been at the festival the whole day. It had been warm, the sun was setting and we were in the warm shade of the pine trees when Al Jarreau took the stage. He launched immediately into an Jarreau classic – Black and Blue. We were completely in the moment when his band then cranked into Trouble in Paradise. Aprill and I looked at each other, hopped up and just started dancing on the lawn. Twirls, swirls, the electric slide – who knows how we danced in the 80s. But the image of the moment – the sounds, smells and sights – is stamped indelibly in my memory.

If you know me, you know I never want to go back in time. But if I could go back to that moment in 1985 on the lawn of Saratoga with Aprill in front of me and Al Jarreau singing in the background, I’d do it in a New York minute. For now, I’ll have to settle for this video (which appears to be pretty close to circa 1985 – kinda scary!). Enjoy Al Jarreau in his prime.

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