Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jazz Fest 2014, Day 4: Frank reviews Bonerama, Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio, Don Mancuso and DDrive, and Jeanne Jolly

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Bonerama performed at Montage Music Hall. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Bonerama performed at Montage Music Hall.
click to enlarge The drummer from Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio, who performed at Max of Eastman Place on Monday, July 23, the fourth day of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • The drummer from Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio, who performed at Max of Eastman Place on Monday, July 23, the fourth day of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press: the Big Easy trombone onslaught was in full effect tonight as Bonerama (not to be confused with a Vanessa del Rio flick) rocked the Montage stage. Instead of merely flooring it the minute it hit the stage, the horn-driven band built up from a funky groove, taking turns before building it into a thundering brass blast. The guitar wasn't as prevalent as it is in most other settings, but honestly, the parts it delivered were mostly made up of vowels from out of nowhere and some deep funk.

Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio were skirting the abstract with a lighthearted, romantic slant and pitch. It was the drummer that knocked my socks off as he buttered the music with fills, stops, and starts with a slap-happy grin and drama. It seems every year or so, I fall in love with a drummer. The last one was from The Bad Plus (that m***er f***er played with his elbows for Chrissakes). This year's percussion crush is this Crash Trio cat. Now if I only knew his name...

click to enlarge Jeanne Jolly performed at Abilene. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Jeanne Jolly performed at Abilene.

Squeezer's Stage was the scene for some serious, no bullshit rock guitar thanks to Don Mancuso and DDrive. As I always say: if it's too loud, you're not old enough. And Mr. Mancuso was gloriously loud as he divided his set between instrumental stuff from his solo LP and the boogie and drive of DDrive with Phil Naro -- one of the best rock voices in the world -- up front. The place was packed, the rock gods were pleased, my ears are still ringing...and I'm old enough.

Like a smokier, darker Kelly Willis, Jeanne Jolly and her band splashed alt-country holy water on the faithful in the Abilene revival tent. The sparseness of the band worked as a rudimentary call and response to Jolly's beautiful voice. The set was peppered by a few too many stops, but Jolly's charm made just about anything that could've happened or gone wrong, alright with me. I know she's not a drummer, but maybe this was a night to fall in love twice.

I'll be ballin' a jack with The Lustre Kings tomorrow night along with other delights, but now I'm beat. Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

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