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INTERVIEW: Gas House Gorillas 

So, five gorillas walk into a bar... But seriously folks, five guys from Brooklyn walk into a joint in Anytown, USA, and promptly take the stage. They look like a cross-section between The Bowery Boys and escapees from The Reformatory for Wayward Boys circa 1959. It's still not clear if these cats are the band, or if they beat up the band and took their instruments. If it weren't for their impressive musicianship, the jury would still be out. Ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your heads. This is, as the members put it, "God's favorite band," The Gas House Gorillas.

God? These guys aren't conceited; they're convinced. Bassist Crusher Carmean clears up any confusion: "God didn't have a favorite band until we came along," he says. "We are the alpha and omega"

The Gorillas burst on to the scene in 2003 with vocalist/guitarist Rick Fink and members of the stellar New York jump-blues outfit, the aptly named Blues Jumpers. Whereas the Blues Jumpers were traditional and amazingly period correct, the Gorillas' immediate mission was to ruffle feathers, twist panties, and get in faces. The band tweaked the music with speed, volume, and onstage mayhem. They put some punk-rock gas in the jump-blues punch.

"It's as if a group of punk-rock kids were listening to The Treniers," says drummer Eddie Everett. "And Louis Jordan and Fats Waller and Cab Calloway, and Wynonie Harris. So our sound may be rootsy, but we deliver like The Ramones."

But purists may freak out at these iconoclasts' shenanigans. Tough.

"We are not interested in sounding vintage," Everett says. "We may give a song a Reverend Horton Heat or Led Zeppelin or Beatles treatment. Everything has been done. There are a lot of musical references to choose from. It's all how you make it your own."

The Gas House Gorillas make the stage their own, too. Whether it's with the jungle savagery of Everett's drums, the rusty wail of Monsta Jim Davis' saxophone, Fink's bluesy howls and pleas, the genre-bending kerrang from Snake Osborn's guitar, or Carmean, who climbs all over his bass like well, a gorilla, the Gashouse Gorillas own the stage everywhere the band goes.

So even if these guys did steal the instruments from the actual band, let them hang on to them. They sound great. Besides, have you ever tried to take something away from a gorilla?

The Gas House Gorillas perform Friday, June 28, 7:45 p.m. & 9:45 p.m. at Abilene Roots & Americana Stage (153 Liberty Pole Way). Tickets cost $20-$25, or you can use your Club Pass.

In This Guide...

    Friday June 21 - Schedule

    3:45, 4:30 & 5 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:30 p.m.: Quincy Jones Presents: Nikki Yanofsky Harro East Ballroom ($20-$25, or Club Pass)

    INTERVIEW: Pink Martini

    With equal dashes Esquivel lounge and Martin Denny exotica, chilled on retro rocks and poured into a Camelot-era America glass, Pink Martini is the ultimate in sophisticated pop cool and classic, jazzy swing. Since 1994, this ensemble from Portland, Oregon, has traveled the world plugging into orchestras along the way.

    Friday, June 21 - Artist Bios

    Bill Dobbins Bill Dobbins is director of the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Eastman Studio Orchestra, but European jazz aficionados know him as the long-time conductor of the WDR Big Band (1994-2002) and occasional conductor of the Metropole Orchestra. Dobbins is also an excellent pianist who has played with Clark Terry, Phil Woods, and Peter Erskine.

    Saturday, June 22 - Schedule

    1 p.m.: Student Jazz Workshops Eastman School of Music (Room 120) 3:45, 4:30 & 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

    Saturday, June 22 - Artist Bios

    78 RPM Big Band This group originated in the early 70's as an Oktoberfest band in Western New York. Over the years it has traded the oom-pa-pa-oom for some sweet swing a la Glenn, Tommy, and Artie.

    Sunday, June 23 - Schedule

    1 p.m.: Student Jazz Workshops Eastman School of Music (Room 120) 3:45, 4:30 & 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

    INTERVIEW: Marti Brom

    There's a spot in certain female voices — a transitional spot, if you will — between sweet vibrato and growl. Texas rockabilly songstress Marti Brom traverses this vocal twilight beautifully, leaving a slew of broken hearts in her wake.

    Sunday, June 23 - Artist Bios

    BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet Brothers Michael and David Doucet began touring Louisiana in 1986. Since then their cajun dance music has earned them Grammy nominations and even a Super Bowl performance.

    Monday, June 24 - Schedule

    Noon: Mike Kaupa Quartet Central Library (FREE) 4:30 & 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

    Jazz Festival Guide 2013

    Exclusive interviews, artist bios and interviews
    CITY Newspaper's guide to the biggest music festival in Rochester! For more coverage, check our website every day of the festival for reviews, blogs, photos and more!

    Monday, June 24 - Artist Bios

    Alfredo Rodriguez When Alfredo Rodriguez plays a ballad, he leans so far into the piano that you might think he's kissing the keys. In a way he is, with the exquisite touch of his fingers.

    Tuesday, June 25 - Schedule

    Noon: Nick Finzer Central Library (FREE) 4:30 & 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

    INTERVIEW: Anat Cohen

    When Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen steps out of her Brooklyn home, she finds herself between two worlds. Cohen resides in Williamsburg, a vital neighborhood in the New York jazz scene.

    Tuesday, June 25 - Artist Bios

    Alfredo Rodriguez See listing for Monday, June 24. Anat Cohen See feature on page 22.

    Wednesday, Jun 26 - Schedule

    Noon: Ted Nicolosi and Shared Genes Central Library (FREE) 4:30 & 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

    Wednesday, Jun 26 - Artist Bios

    Aaron Goldberg Trio When Wynton Marsalis hired Aaron Goldberg to play piano for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he called him "a modern improviser of great clarity, finesse, and dexterity." A sought-after sideman, Goldberg has lent his keyboard talents to Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and many others.

    Thursday, June 27 - Schedule

    Noon: Herb Smith Central Library (FREE) 1 p.m.: Student Jazz Workshops Eastman School of Music (Room 120)

    INTERVIEW: Rudresh Mahanthappa

    It's not unusual for a jazz artist to lead several groups, but Rudresh Mahanthappa just might hold the record. He leads or co-leads 10 different ensembles.

    Thursday, June 27 - Artist Bios

    Bob James and David Sanborn with Steve Gadd Saxophonist David Sanborn has played with famous artists from every genre imaginable — David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, the Grateful Dead, Billy Joel, and Eric Clapton are just a few. For this concert he will be joined by keyboardist Bob James, drummer Steve Gadd, and bassist James Genus.

    Friday, June 28 - Schedule

    Noon: Karl Stabnau Central Library (FREE) 1 p.m.: Student Jazz Workshops Eastman School of Music (Room 120)

    Friday, June 28 - Artist Bios

    Ben Taylor Imagine the expectation that comes with being the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon. Ben Taylor lives up to that expectation, but with a voice all his own.

    Saturday, June 29 - Schedule

    1 p.m.: Student Jazz Workshops Eastman School of Music (Room 120) 3:45, 4:30 & 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

    Saturday, June 29 - Artist Bios

    Al Chez & the Brothers of Funk No doubt you've seen his mug and heard his horn on the tube. For 15 years he honked his horn on "Late Night with David Letterman."

    Festival Information

    Tickets, Venues, Parking
    The 2013 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival Friday, June 21-Saturday, June 29

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