As a kid I grew up playing the string bass ( check out a photo here ) in a big band and many smaller combo groups at school. I started playing the bass sort of by accident when I was thirteen, but it blossomed into doing festival circuits in high school with our tight-knit band. I always loved playing that big old string bass, be it for a jazz group or classical orchestra. When Teva asked me to create a festival outfit styled around one of my favorite music genres, it had to be: jazz.
As jazz has its roots in the musical traditions of Africa, I thought to wear my thrifted blouse that reminds me of traditional dress from the western region, a dashiki. Typically it is a garment worn by men, but hey, I think it looks rad on me, especially because of those crazy bell sleeves! It's kind of kooky, kind of funky, but also unique; just as no jazz song can ever be played the same way twice. With vintage, you bet no one will be wearing the same thing as you.
I've been wearing my Tevas around the city so much lately as the weather has warmed up. They're just the comfiest sandals. I can start my day in Bushwick, head to the Upper East Side for school, grab food in Chinatown and end up on the Lower East Side and my feet feel like I haven't taken a step all day. Pictured here are the Original Universals in "Lizard." I highly recommend packing a pair (or five) to your next festival to give your feet a break. My Tevas pretty much "go" with any outfit because they are casual and so easy to wear. I'm packing them for my trip to California next week, and pretty much with every summer trip I take. Check out the #TevaUpgrade way to attend a festival over at their website.
As a special treat I created a short playlist of some of my favorite jazz charts, beginning with Coleman Hawkins's rendition of Body and Soul (1939), which is quite possibly my most favorite thing ever. When I first heard it I was blown away simple by the fact that it is so lyrical and the riffs he uses are original and unique. After that, every time I hear Body and Soul now it sounds somehow "wrong" to me because Hawkins' version is simply the best. The playlist also features another favorite of mine, the legendary Tito Puente! Kick back and click the image to play!
P.S - I highly recommend taking a "History of Jazz" class at your college if it is offered. You will get to hear some amazing early recordings and learn about the history and origins of a truly incredible art form.