This year's Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival may not have too many hardcore jazz headliners. But the ClubPass venues are so full of excellent acts, it's going to be tough to choose what to see on more than a few nights.
I'm going to start the festival Friday with one of my favorite artists from two previous XRIJFs. Tessa Souter will bring her gorgeous voice and her excellent band to the Montage on the heels of a great new album. Souter has been writing lyrics to some of the greatest melodies Western civilization has produced, tunes by Beethoven, Ravel, Chopin, and others. Strangely, they make excellent jazz standards. Should be great to hear them live.
After all of that beauty I'll need Get The Blessing, at ChristChurch, to jar me into the wilder side of jazz with a little Ornette Coleman-esque sacrilegiousness.
I'll end the night with arguably the best bassist in jazz, Christian McBride, at Kilbourn Hall. His band isn't called Inside Straight for nothing. This quintet is composed of some of the finest straight-ahead players on the jazz scene today.
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