Things kept happening at the 2006 Tanglewood Jazz Festival that weren't supposed to. Luckily, most of them -- in particular the surprise guest appearance of Diana Krall at her husband's taping of ``Piano Jazz" -- only made for a better show.
The weather, alas, wasn't as near-perfect as it's been in previous years, driving attendance down to 13,000 from last year's peak of 17,000, with Saturday night's chilly, rain- threatened double bill of Wynton Marsalis and Dr. John by far the hardest hit. The weather wasn't responsible, but Marsalis showed up with a quintet instead of his advertised septet, and Dr. John was missing his promised all-star horn trio as well.
Some things went off as planned, however. It's become a tradition for the festival to open Friday night with hot Latin jazz, and this year it was provided by two terrific orchestras: the Spanish Harlem Orchestra led by Oscar Hernandez and the Big 3 Palladium Orchestra , the latter roaring through the music of Machito , Tito Puente , and Tito Rodriguez under the direction of co-leaders Machito Jr. and Tito Rodriguez Jr. and musical director (and Puente veteran) Jose Madera Jr.
Saturday afternoon was, for the fifth year in a row, given over to a live taping of Marian McPartland's ``Piano Jazz." This year's guest was Elvis Costello , who charmingly bantered with McPartland in between his earnest crooning of lesser-known gems by giants such as Ira Gershwin and Glenn Miller , and his own lyrics to Billy Strayhorn's ``Blood Count" and McPartland's ``Threnody." He then brought out his very pregnant wife and exited the stage. Krall gamely clambered onto a stool and sang versions of ``If I Had You" and ``Body & Soul," making it clear that, when it comes to singing standards, she is very much Costello's better half.
Saturday night's big concert had a couple of happy surprises, too. Marsalis was in strong form as his quintet made its way through material drawn mostly from his recent album, ``The Magic Hour." He then brought out a talented young vocalist, Jennifer Sanon , whose confident runs through ``Good Morning Heartache" and ``Them There Eyes" suggested big things to come from her.
Dr. John's set opened with a New Orleans gumbo including his old hit ``Right Place, Wrong Time." It moved on to a series of singers -- Ann Hampton Callaway , Catherine Russell , John Pizzarelli , and Irma Thomas -- coming onstage to join Dr. John for a couple of tunes apiece, many of them coming from his new album, ``Mercernary." The surprise of the night, though, was when Marsalis came out dancing as he led his quintet back onstage with everyone else for the New Orleans tribute encore.
The Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band was up Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't misnamed. Just a few of the biggest names on hand included director Slide Hampton , Roy Hargrove , Cyrus Chestnut , and Jimmy Heath . The surprise here was vocalist Roberta Gambarini getting Hargrove to join her for scatted vocals on ``Blue 'N' Boogie," and Hargrove pulling off his side of the exchange with aplomb.
The festival concluded Sunday night with Dave Brubeck's quartet being augmented after intermission by a symphonette for rarely heard reads of Brubeck compositions for strings. But the symphonette also joined in on a set-ender that was no surprise at all: the Brubeck classic ``Take Five."