Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jazz Fest 2015, Day 4: Frank reviews Joe Locke, Blue Highway, Stephane Wrembel, and Kat Edmonson

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Kat Edmonson performed at Montage on Monday, June 22, during the 2015 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Kat Edmonson performed at Montage on Monday, June 22, during the 2015 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Joe Locke's double malleted arms were a blur last night at his 6 p.m. Kilbourn Hall show. It was if he were a cross between an octopus and a helicopter. You could literally feel the heat coming off of him. This was my fourth or fifth time seeing the vibe master and by far the best. He has always been lightning fast but sometimes so much so that the melody couldn't keep up. This time however, was different -- or I'm just becoming a better listener perhaps. After explaining the evening program's poetic significance and Rochester's poetic significance on his life and career, Locke and his crew jumped in with his impressive technique raining a flurry of notes in a blinding cascade. It was breathtaking and gasp making.

The Squeezer's stage leaves a lot to be desired in the ambiance department; it feels eerily like a gutted department store. But Blue Highway certainly made up for the deficit with some smoking finger style and beautiful four-part harmony along with impressive, reverent nods to Ralph and Bill. Bluegrass at its bluest and grassiest.

A little bango with the Django ... Stephane Wrembel has changed things up a bit since I last saw him a couple of years ago. First of all, he stands now. Secondly, and more importantly he has changed up his sound considerably, with newer, more electric meanderings permeating his trademark Gypsy chop ... and no doubt winning himself some new fans in the process.

Kat Edmonson was so achingly gentle at her 10 p.m. engagement at the Montage Music Hall stage. A lullaby personified, the young lady with a complexion (she must moisturize) like fine china played with a mix of jazz curiosity, grace, and bliss.

click to enlarge Stephane Wrembel performed a free show on the Jazz Street stage on Monday, June 22. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Stephane Wrembel performed a free show on the Jazz Street stage on Monday, June 22.

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