Good review of my favorite band(s); go see them if you get the chance.
Bill, thank you for the catch. We updated the story to reflect her French background.
sorry frank but Cyrille Aimée is all French maybe with some American mixed in ...
Not reviewed by anyone this year, but surely one of the Festival's most outstanding acts, was pianist Gwilym Simcock playing solo at Christ Church last night. Simcock, who is equally at home in classical and jazz, belongs on any list of the finest pianists in the world right now, and his performance was clear evidence of that. His technical sophistication, combined with an ability to penetrate to the essence of the music he is playing, resulted in a breathtaking experience for the audience, which reacted accordingly. He really needs to be in Hatch Hall, preferably with his trio.
I would strongly agree with Ron's review of The Wee Trio -- for me they were simply one of the best acts at the Jazz Festival this year, even though they are just starting out. I was struck not only by their individual talents, but also the originality of their arrangements. They did some highly imaginative stuff, like transposing one standard into a minor key and supplying entirely new rhythm structures to others -- all with great success. They did play together very well with one exception -- Jared Schonig on drums had a tendency to drown out James Westfall on the vibraphone on occasion. Schonig needs to take his volume down a bit and Westfall definitely needs to bring his up (it may sound loud enough to him, but it doesn't carry as well as it should to the audience). One really wants to be able to hear Westfall because he is especially good -- certainly far better than Jason Marsalis.
This group is probably going to continue to get better and could become a major star in the firmament of American jazz. Those who missed them Friday night can catch them at the Rochester Club on Saturday.
It sure was a great show, I'm pretty sure Joey is the only artist at the Jazz Fest this year who is pretty much the acknowledged leading player in the world on his instrument.
Not to nitpick but Joey wasn't playing a B3, it was actually a C3. And he regularly plays a Hammond "clone" in shows, in fact he played one the night before at the Toronto Jazz Festival. Probably better to just refer to him as a jazz organ player nowadays.
A few comments to amplify's Ron's review of Wednesday night. First, I would note that one of the most remarkable things about Warren Wolf was how much he played during the 10pm set. Instead of doing a quick solo and then turning things over to the other members of his band, he was on his vibes almost the entire time, although his highly capable sidemen did get their respective chances to shine. He also has an exceptional musical touch in addition to his lightning speed.
I, too, found the British pianist Jonathan Gee a disappointment, but I wonder if a large part of that was due to the fact that he was playing with a bass guy and drummer he had just picked up (they were working so hard at reading their scores that they paid little attention to him). If he had been with bassist Joseph Lepore and the great drummer Nasheet Watts, with whom he has recorded an album, it would likely have gone much better. It is also true that pianos invariably sound tinny in the cavernous echo chamber of Christ Church, and last night it was often drowned out by the drums. I do agree, though, that Gee's attempt to sing without engaging the audience was a major mistake -- easily the worst part of his program.
Thank you for this review. I regret missing this festival and will keep an eye on next year. Nice to hear the Brubeck blood continues on. I've been a Rachel Brooke fan for years and urge you to check out more of her catalog.
Good reviewing from City as usual, but it is nonetheless disappointing that none of the bloggers got to the Shia Maestro Trio at the Rochester Club for what was clearly the highlight of the night (and probably one of the best acts of the entire Festival). The music was progressive and highly original, and the talent of the players phenomenal. Shai Maestro was here a few years ago with the great bassist Avishai Cohen, but the bass player he brought with him this time was surely the equal of Avishai and perhaps even more inventive in the ways he managed to coax amazing sounds out of his instrument. The drummer was top-flight as well. One hopes this group will be invited back soon and put in a venue that will bring in an even larger crowd.
I liked the second set a lot. It did strike me as unusual that they alternated pieces that were out or close to out (usually Ballantyne's, e.g. Round Again) with pieces that were VERY in (usually Nussbaum's). I think I have a pretty broad appreciation of the idiom, so I liked them both. They did everything well. But I could see that someone would like just half the set. They demanded a broad taste, or vocabulary, of their audience.
The drummer with Melissa Aldana (who was terrific) was Francisco Mela. He's played at the festival a few times before--with Esperanza Spaulding, Antonio Ciacca, and Joe Lovano.
Re: Vijay. I saw his second set. I heard the same review from others there. I am guessing they fixed the sound for the second set; it wasn't bad. He explained that because his parents were there, he did his "PG" material in the first set; we got the late night material. I am guessing the second set was more adventurous. I thought it was great. He didn't break until 45 minutes in and played till 11:30.
Agree about Kari Ikonen.
Melissa Aldana was fantastic at Max. Not really out but chordless. Nice balance of freedom and structure.
I didn't attend the concert - I do not live in the Rochester area (I found this review from Tyshawn Sorey's Facebook page, where he is taking it in jovial stride). I know that, on the surface, this may seem like it disqualifies from making a comment, but allow me to elaborate.
I am fairly acquainted with both Mr. Sorey's and Mr. Escreet's music. The two of them have a sonic rapport through their respective working groups, of which each musician is a member of the other's ensemble. Though I have never heard these two play duo together, I *have* heard Sorey play duo with pianists before, most notably with Matt Mitchell - piano/drums is a format that Sorey happens to favor.
Being familiar with how these gentleman play music, it is statistically impossible for them to have, in Mr. Netsky's words, not "approach playing anything [he] would call music". It would be like going to a Chuck Close exhibition and saying there was nothing you would call a painting. These two are excellent musicians - though I'm sure what they did was not to the author's liking, it is still music.
Calling free improvisation, or any music that frees structural boundaries or places emphasis on sound textures, "not music" is intellectually lazy. It is also, unfortunately, not an unfamiliar screed against it. That doesn't make it any better. Mr. Netsky makes his prejudice very front and center.
Reviewing a jazz festival is extremely difficult (I would know, I've done it several times), because you have to be ready for a huge tapestry of different sounds and approaches. If the Escreet/Sorey duo was outside of Mr. Netsky's wheelhouse of being able to describe, he should have left it alone. These performances typically involve a high degree of communication, sonic exploration and controlled dissonance, but not so much in the area of melody, harmony or song structure. I am absolutely sure that's what happened this time around. There is no way that telling a reader that Escreet "banged at the piano" and Sorey "banged at the drums" (how else do you play drums??) encapsulated any nuance of their duo. There is no way calling something "meaningless noise" is a good gesture of journalism.
That's my two cents.
Thanks for leaving a comment about this review and joining the conversation. Ron is a seasoned jazz reviewer and has covered XRIJF for City from the beginning.
But if you disagree with his review, please feel free to elaborate. We love hearing what our readers think, especially when they have another point of view. What are your thoughts on the Escreet/Sorey show?
And please, remember to be civil.
It's fairly telling that you begin this article talking about Marsalis's bands' clothes - it sets up the impression that you don't particularly know how to write about music, a hypothesis you corroborate when you "reviewed" Escreet/Sorey.
I put "review" in quotes because what you did was actually no such thing. It was a dismissal and not even an in-depth one at that. Here's a tip, man: if you're going to review a jazz festival, get ready for some free improvisation and when it happens, know how to write about it.
I've seen enough reviews of these kinds of musics to know when a writer reacts on reactionary impulses rather than their ears. Your tell was when you called it "not music", which is wrong as it is boring at this point.
The sound in the church is typically challenging. On top of that, they didn't get the dynamics right in the sound check. When they both played loud, you couldn't hear Escreet at all. They were both miked. I thought about saying something to the sound guy but didn't. I didn't like the set much either, but I wondered if it would have been better with better sound dynamics. I have liked Escreet in the past.
The previous night for Partisans, I could hear the sax and drums clearly, but with the amps at the back of the stage all I could hear from the guitar and bass was a rumble. I know they play more cleanly than I heard. I wish the festival would either work on the sound in this venue or ditch it. It's disappointing to go to hear good musicians and not be able to hear them.
My Mom always said if you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all!
If you conduct a concert and if you think that the concert was good that should only be the view for yourself.You should not depend on others for views as everyone opinion is different.
I just heard the concert tonight (Saturday). I do not agree with the above review, Especially regarding the performance of the Violin Concerto. I have performed this concerto many times. Quint's phrasing was odd and uncomfortable to listen to. His playing was not in the Romantic style. I regret to say that although his playing was extremely virtuosic, it was at the same time rather messy. I was so looking forward to hearing the Saint-Saens, but I was disappointed with his rendition. He had many intonation issues and his tempos were all over the place. The slow sections in the first movement were too slow and the slow movement was too fast as were the slow sections in the third movement. Also, Quint sped up and slowed down in places that were inappropriate. That is why neither the orchestra nor the conductor could follow him exactly all of the time. On the contrary, I thought that the RPO did a wonderful job with both pieces on the first half! Unfortunately, I could not stay for the second half.
Thank you for the kind words. It was great fun.
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