Monday, October 1, 2007

50 years in America

Monterey Jazz Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary a couple of weeks early. The first festival opened on October 3, 1957 and featured Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry James and many more. Three musicians who were featured at the first festival--Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, and Ernestine Anderson--were also on hand this year for the big anniversary.

The next day, the Soviet Union shocked the world by launching Sputnik, the first manmade satellite in Earth orbit. It had been the week before, September 25, when Eisenhower sent federal troops to desegregate a school in Little Rock. A week before that, the New York Times had reviewed Kerouac's On the Road and called it a great work of art. A week following the festival, Dodger owner Walter O'Malley would break hearts in Brooklyn in announcing the team's move to Los Angeles.

In some ways, 50 years is a long time. In others, just yesterday.

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