Monday, June 25, 2018

Jazz Fest 2018, Day 3: Frank checks out Beats & Pieces Big Band and Knower

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 12:47 AM

click to enlarge Knower front woman Genevieve Artadi. The band played Anthology on Sunday as part of the 2018 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Knower front woman Genevieve Artadi. The band played Anthology on Sunday as part of the 2018 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.
It's a bit perverse, I know, but I love to see and hear chaos in a church. I like to see statues tumble, stained glass broken. I like to see pews on fire while church bells ring.

I came close to the chaos last night as Britain's Beats & Pieces Big Band shook the foundation of Christ Church with brass-fueled music that filled the place right up to the rafters usually left exclusively for the word of God to swirl about.

The band's arrangements were nothing short of brilliant: angular and hairpin with a vicious whiplash-inducing push and pull. No matter how their director, Ben Cottrell, kicked into a song, be it soft and reserved or melodic, it always landed with a veritable explosion as if crashing into the moon.

To be sure this is a big band — 14 pieces strong — but that's a little misleading. Beats & Pieces has little to do with big band as we know it and rather offered up a madhouse of sharps, flats, and contusions ... in a church. I couldn't be happier.


If Beats & Pieces Big Band did crash on the moon, Knower would be there waiting to welcome them. With front woman Genevieve Artadi bounding about the stage, the band latched on to some serious spine-tinging grooves. Call it cyborg pop, with the drums and bass sharing space with the triggers and keys. Anthology was packed beyond the ravers you'd expect as Knower blessed us with bliss.


Monday, I'll be bounding around the fest to Joe Fransworth Quartet at Max, Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas at the Big Tent, and Trail of Souls at the Lutheran Church.

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