Sunday, June 26, 2016

Jazz Fest 2016, Day 2: Ron reviews Makoto Ozone and Tommy Smith, Jon Ballantyne, and Phil Robson Trio

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Makoto Ozone and Tommy Smith performed in Kilbourn Hall on Saturday as part of the 2016 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Makoto Ozone and Tommy Smith performed in Kilbourn Hall on Saturday as part of the 2016 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

About three-quarters of the way through their energetic set at Kilbourn Hall, Tommy Smith aimed his tenor saxophone right into the open lid of Makoto Ozone's grand piano. The sounds that came out for the next several minutes were magical.

Smith, who had a gorgeous tone and a voluminous dynamic range, played clusters of notes that did far more than create compelling melodies. Each phrase he played also added up to a chord that would gradually build in the piano's improvised echo chamber and resonate for five seconds or so -- enough time for Smith to begin to create the next note cluster. After the piece, much of the audience gave a rare mid-set standing ovation.

Each member of the duo had referred to the other as a genius during the show, which is kind of a dangerous thing to do; at the very least it sets a high standard. But with Ozone's dexterity and adventurous exploration at the piano and Smith's ability to shape his saxophone's sound from low register growls to beautifully controlled high squeaks, it was hard to argue with either of them.

I always sit on the left side at Hatch Recital Hall so I can see the hands of the pianist as they roam over the keyboard. Music is often both a visual and aural experience and Jon Ballantyne's hands did not disappoint. While his left hand held down the fort, maintaining complicated bass lines, his right broke free, spidering frenetically over the keys. As free as it seemed, there was never a hint of a note gone astray; Ballantyne was in complete control.

His playing was so strong and his set so varied, the hour went by quickly. On a medley of "Monk's Mood" and "Round Midnight," two classics by the great Thelonious Monk, Ballantyne not only traversed Monk's quirky melodies wonderfully, he filled many of the spaces in between the lines with his own quirky runs and flourishes.

You can catch Jon Ballantyne again when he performs with his trio on Sunday, June 26, at the Rochester Club (120 East Avenue). 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. $30 or a Club Pass will get you in.

Over at Christ Church, transplanted British guitarist Phil Robson (he spoke of his recent move to Weehawken, New Jersey) filled the sanctuary with a languid, upper-register sound reminiscent of Pat Metheny. Robson played mostly original compositions, giving the audience little to hang on to, and sadly, most of the crowd left before he got around to a standard, "You Stepped Out of a Dream."

Robson and his excellent band mates, bassist Joseph Lepore and drummer Tom Rainey, had some strong interplay, especially when Rainey took a wild solo using some sort of miniature drumsticks.

Sunday night, I'll be starting off with Pedrito Martinez in Kilbourn Hall before heading over to Eldar in Hatch Hall, and finish with Arild Andersen at the Lutheran Church. (That was not a bad pun, he's Norwegian.)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Jazz Fest 2016, Day 2: Frank reviews Kandace Springs, misses Erykah Badu, and makes it to Junior Brown

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Singer Kandace Springs at Harro East Ballroom on Saturday. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Singer Kandace Springs at Harro East Ballroom on Saturday.

I said it was all about Junior Brown, and that's precisely how things rolled out for day two of the Jazz Fest. Weather-wise it was the kind of conditions that weathermen take credit for. And inside, it threatened to get hot since the buzz was buzzin' for Nashville's super-afroed lady at the keys, Kandace Springs.

As Springs dug into some Coltrane and a little Peterson, along with some of her own designs, she was charming to the max. And she possesses quite a range, which got sultrier the closer she dove into alto territory. But all of this and I just couldn't connect with her.

Springs was sincere and authentic, but her material was too all over the place; there just wasn't a root or thread through the set. She showed the packed Harro East Ballroom (which had simply amazing sound pumping out of the mains, by the way) what she likes -- I would rather see and hear more of who she is next time.

Kandace Springs will perform again on Sunday, June 26, at Anthology (336 East Avenue). 7:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. $30 or a Club Pass will get you in.

Erykah Badu took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and was late by a couple hours, and I sure as hell wasn't going to miss Junior Brown at Anthology. So I forwent Badu and got down with Brown.

After meeting the man backstage and pressing the flesh, I settled in to an amazing show full of deceptively simple rhythm and time signature shifts by Brown and his able band. I don't know which half I like hearing from more: the guitar or the steel guitar. Both are part of his double-necked Guit-Steel -- the instrument equivalent to conjoined twins.

Brown switched off between the two liberally, with some string bending hi-jinx, and played with the low string tuner peg so it would plunge multiple octaves that almost came close to his beautiful baritone. Speaking of his voice: the ghost of Ernest Tubb lives there.

It'll be Charles Ruggerio, The Majestics, and John Abercrombie tomorrow night, along with lots of people watching.

Junior Brown played Anthology on Saturday night. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Junior Brown played Anthology on Saturday night.

Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Jazz Fest 2016, Day 1: Frank reviews Grace Potter, Fitz and The Tantrums, and Davina and The Vagabonds

Posted By on Sat, Jun 25, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Fitz and The Tantrums performed on the East Ave. and Chestnut St. Stage Friday night as part of the 2016 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Fitz and The Tantrums performed on the East Ave. and Chestnut St. Stage Friday night as part of the 2016 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

It was crazy, I tell ya. People were everywhere in the beautifully controlled chaos. Opening day: Jazz Fest 2016. Be still my beating heart as it keeps time with the rat-a-tat-tat of my rickety keyboard as I type away this report from the frontline.

John Mooney and Bluesiana kicked off my musical intake on the Gibbs Street stage with a solid body punch of his slide-driven, electrified guitar. Mooney and crew, which included Rochester’s top cat on the bottom end, our man just back from Amsterdam, Brian Williams on the galloping bass. But alas, this show wasn’t on my list of things to cover, so I regrettably dragged my ass to see Grace Potter.

Well ho-ly shit, Batman, what a knockout show. My regret melted away and was replaced by a spellbound enthusiasm that came on like a rash. Potter came out whipping her hair in a frantic, follicle frenzy that would have made an astronaut toss his cookies. This was nothing like when I saw her with The Nocturnals at Water Street Music Hall a few years back. Then, Potter was more ensconced in somewhat lengthy jams. But not this show.

And though it was like following a pinball on stage, it was impossible to take your eyes off of Potter, unless you took some time to look at the stage right guitarist who served up some bawdy picked licks in response to Potter’s siren call.

By the time we made it out of the Eastman Theatre, Mooney had the massive crowd shaking their collective moneymaker in a sweaty display of hell bound joy.

Next it was pop sensations Fitz and The Tantrums. This band was an ode to energy, and it played as if it were The Thompson Twins leading an aerobics class. Every one of the Tantrums’ songs got immediately lodged in your brain, and the kids piled before the stage couldn’t stop pogo-ing. You remember the pogo, don’t you?

We arrived at Anthology just in time for Davina and The Vagabonds’ second set of New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll stomp. Davina is a dynamite dame, an animated singer, and a master of disguise. Her face contorted and cajoled as she sang out a set of original tunes. I didn’t mind at all when she detoured to belt out a request for a little sugar in her bowl a la Nina Simone, and for Fats Domino’s “Ain’t that a Shame.” If you missed it, then yes it was … a goddamn shame.

I keep going Saturday by checking out Kandace Springs and Erykah Badu. But I have to apologize ladies, in the end, tomorrow night is all about Junior Brown and his Guit-Steel.

You can still catch John Mooney and Bluesiana play a free show on Saturday, June 25, 7 p.m., at the East Ave. and Chestnut St. Stage.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday, June 24, 2016

Jazz Fest 2016, Day 1: Ron reviews Scofield-Lovano Quartet, Mikkel Ploug's Equilibrium, and Paul Hofmann

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The Scofield-Lovano Quartet got right down to business at Xerox Auditorium Friday night. The two stars -- guitarist John Scofield and saxophonist Joe Lovano -- walked onto the stage, along with the excellent rhythm section of Ben Street (bass) and Bill Stewart (drums), and launched into Lovano's "Symbolism." Scofield played gorgeously, even slipping into some Wes Montgomery-style octaves, while Lovano let loose torrents of notes from his tenor saxophone.

Throughout the set, Scofield and Lovano would begin and end tunes with harmonized heads, played in the manner of a sax and trumpet horn section. Every tune, including Scofield's "Museum" and "Slinky," and Miles Davis's "Budo," was filled with great melodic ideas that would hang in the air during improvisations by the two leaders.

Lovano and Scofield played off of one another nicely, each bringing decades of musical personality to the stage. The set was tight, allowing for only one solo each for Street and Stewart, but both were excellent throughout.

After playing the first composition at the Lutheran Church, singer and saxophonist Sissel Vera Pettersen introduced the members of Mikkel Ploug's Equilibrium, and pointed out that she is from Norway, Ploug is from Denmark, and clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst is from Belgium. But the audience already knew that the music was from another planet.

Ploug anchored the group with his relatively straight electric guitar playing. He was flanked by Badenhorst on clarinet and bass clarinet and Pettersen on voice, soprano sax, and electronics. I use the term "on voice" because for most of the set she used no words; her voice was her instrument. She moved her head from side to side and back to front, using the microphone like a Theremin.

The ethereal mixture of her voice and Badenhorst's clarinets was perfect for the beautiful church environment, but if you closed your eyes, you could be floating through distant galaxies. A virtuoso on clarinets, Badenhorst's vocabulary included slap tonguing that made it sound like he was playing two notes at once. Pettersen and Ploug used electronics occasionally to deepen the lush textures and adventurous harmonies.

Popular piano teacher and local jazz hero Paul Hofmann couldn't help but teach a bit of jazz history during his Hatch Hall performance. For instance, the audience learned that Miles Davis led generations of musicians astray with his version of Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't." Hofmann set the record straight with his spirited rendition, true to Monk's original arrangement.

Hofmann's performance was dedicated to the tunes of great pianists who were also great composers. He played tunes by Monk, Bud Powell, Duke Ellington, and others, all in his sparkling style, with an Art Tatum-like arpeggio thrown in once in a while for good measure. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Hofmann's style was the first thing he did when he arrived on stage. He took off his shoes, preferring to hit the petals with his feet in socks.

Saturday night, I'll start with Makoto Ozone and Tommy Smith in Kilbourn Hall. Then I'll head over to Hatch Hall for Jon Ballantyne, and my last stop will be Christ Church to catch the Phil Robson Trio.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Jazz Fest 2016: Other music happening downtown

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Throughout the nine days of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, several other Rochester venues will take advantage of the wandering crowds still looking for more music, and will host their own mini-festivals. While they are not affiliated in any way with the XRIJF, Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Way), Bernunzio Uptown Music (122 East Avenue), Downstairs Cabaret Theatre (20 Windsor Street), and Victoire (120 East Avenue) will have performances June 24 through July 2. (Victoire doesn't have a set schedule posted for its live performances, but you can always peek your head into the restaurant's courtyard from East Avenue to see who's playing.)

More information can be found at abilenebarandlounge.com; bernunzio.com; and downstairscabaret.com.



Abilene Bar and Lounge Late Night Sessions

Friday, June 24

Roc City Pro Jam Throwdown; 10 p.m.; Free

(Commander Cody and his Modern-Day Airmen will also perform Friday at 7:30 p.m. $20)

Saturday, June 25

The Beale Street Blues Band; 9:30 p.m.; Free

Sunday, June 26

The Dirty Bourbon Blues Band; 9:30 p.m.; Free

Monday, June 27

The Tragedy Brothers; 10 p.m.; Free

(Bill Kirchen will also perform Monday at 7:30 p.m. $20-$25)

Tuesday, June 28

Bottle Train; 9:30 p.m.; Free

Wednesday, June 29

Ruckus Juice Jug Band; 9:30 p.m.; Free

Thursday, June 30

Meg Gehman and the Influence; 9:30 p.m.; Free

(The Dead Woods will also perform on Thursday at 8 p.m.)

Friday, July 1

The Tobey Village House Band; 9:30 p.m.; Free

Saturday, July 2

Grand Canyon Rescue Episode; 9:30 p.m.; Free



Bernunzio Uptown Music

Friday, June 24

The Televisionaries; 7 p.m.; Free

Saturday, June 25

Ill Doots; 9 p.m.; $5

Sunday, June 26

The White Hots; 5 p.m.; Free

Monday, June 27

The Rita Collective; 6 p.m.; Free

Tuesday, June 28

Busted Valentines; 7 p.m.; Free

Wednesday, June 29

Empire State College Celebration and Community Concert; 5 p.m.; Free

Thursday, June 30

Bossa Nova Bradley Brothers; 7 p.m.; Free

Friday, July 1

Bobby Henrie and the Goners; 7 p.m.; Free

Saturday, July 2

The Crooked North; 5 p.m.; Free



Downstairs Cabaret Theatre

(Each night's set is 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., followed by a jazz jam until 12:30 a.m. Each night is $10)

Friday, June 24

Modern and contemporary Jazz

Saturday, June 25

Blues and beyond

Sunday, June 26

Love, dreams, and all that jazz

Monday, June 27

From begin the beguine to Brazilian bossa nova

Tuesday, June 28

Night featuring Oliver Haynes, John Nyerges, Mikailo Kasha, and more

Wednesday, June 29

An evening of standards and hits from the Great American Songbook

Thursday, June 30

The music of famous piano trios

Friday, July 1

Night featuring Tyrone Allen, Aidan Lombard, Luke Norris, Julian Garvue, and Daniel Sunshine

Saturday, July 2

The art of the chordless trio

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Jazz Fest 2016: What's FREE at the fest

100 free concerts at 7 venues

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The Xerox Rochester International JazzFestivalis already great because of the musicians that will be there, but it's even better when some of those shows are free. Although tickets are required for admission into the Club Pass shows and Kodak Hall, there are seven venues and 100 shows open to the public at no cost -- other than maybe letting your shorter friends sit on your shoulders.

These venues do tend to fill up quickly, so be sure to arrive early (and also be kind to those aforementioned smaller crowd-goers). For the most up to date information on schedules and lineup changes, check out the festival's website at rochesterjazz.com, and keep up with City Newspaper on our Twitter page @roccitynews.



Venues

Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County (115 South Avenue) Free shows June 27-July 1

City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage (Gibbs Street at East Avenue) Free music daily

City of Rochester East Avenue & Chestnut Street Stage Free shows June 24-25, July 1-2

Rochester Regional Health Big Tent (corner of Main Street and Gibbs) Free shows daily at 6 p.m.

City of Rochester Midtown Stage (corner of East Main Street and Andrew Langston Way) Free shows July 2

Avangrid Foundation / RG&E Fusion Stage (corner of East Ave. & Chestnut St.) Free shows June 26-30

Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown (70 State Street) Free jam sessions nightly at 10:30 p.m.




Friday, June 24

3:45 p.m.: Harley School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m.: Pittsford Mendon HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: Hilton HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: Prime Time Brass (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6:00 p.m.: ECMS Latin Jazz & Junior Jazz (Jazz Street Stage)

7:00 p.m.: Toronto Community Soul Project (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

7:30 p.m.: John Mooney & Bluesiana (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Fitz & The Tantrums (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

9:30 p.m.: John Mooney & Bluesiana (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)




Saturday, June 25

3:45 p.m.: Gates-Chili HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m.: Webster Schroeder HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: Honeoye Falls Lima HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: 78RPM Big Band (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6:00 p.m.: ECMS Jazz Combo W/ Bob Sneider & Mike Kaupa (Jazz Street Stage)

7:00 p.m.: John Mooney & Bluesiana (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

7:30 p.m.: Toronto Community Soul Project (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

9:30 p.m.: Toronto Community Soul Project (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)




Sunday, June 26

3:45 p.m.: Penfield HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m.: Pittsford Sutherland HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: West Irondequoit HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: ESM Honors Performance Unit 1 (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: Penfield Rotary Big Band (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7:00 p.m.: Madeleine McQueen and the Breeze (RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m.: CNY Jazz Orchestra (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Madeleine McQueen (RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m.: CNY Jazz Orchestra (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)




Monday, June 27

12:00 p.m.: Mel Henderson Trio (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

1:00 p.m.: Jazz Workshop for Young Music Students with Gwyneth Herbert (Eastman School of Music Room 120)

3:45 p.m.: Greece Olympia HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m.: Newark HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: Canandaigua HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: ESM Honors Performance Unit 2 (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: Brockport Big Band (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7:00 p.m.: Bill Tiberio Band (RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m.: RIJF-ESM Jazz Scholarships Performance Directed by Jeff Campbell (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Bill Tiberio Band (RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m.: RIJF-ESM Jazz Scholarships Performance Directed by Jeff Campbell (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)




Tuesday, June 28

12:00 p.m.: Karl Stabnau (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

1:00 p.m.: Jazz Workshops for Young Music Students with Christine Tobin (Eastman School of Music Room 120)

4:30 p.m.: Greece Athena HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: Bloomfield HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: New Energy Jazz Orchestra (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6:00 p.m.: New Horizons Big Band (Jazz Street Stage)

7:00 p.m.: Marc Silver (RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m.: ESM Youth Jazz Orchestra + Music Educators Big Band + New Horizons Big Band (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Marc Silver (RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m.: ESM Youth Jazz Orchestra + Music Educators Big Band + New Horizons Big Band (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)





Wednesday, June 29

12:00 p.m.: Rod Blumenau (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

1:00 p.m.: Jazz Workshops for Young Music Students with Mammal Hands (Eastman School of Music Room 120)

3:45 p.m.: 12 Corners Middle School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m.: Eastridge HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: Webster Thomas HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: ESM-XRIJF Scholarships Alumni (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: EYOJ (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7:00 p.m.: Danielle Ponder (RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m.: Nikki Hill (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Danielle Ponder (RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m.: Nikki Hill (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)




Thursday, June 30

12:00 p.m.: Hannah Walpole (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

1:00 p.m.: Jazz Workshops for Young Music Students with LeuwenSteffan (Eastman School of Music Room 120)

3:45 p.m.: Buckman Heights Elementary Band (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m.: Brockport HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:30 p.m.: Spencerport HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: ECMS Saxology 1 & 2 Jazz Bones (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7:00 p.m.: Calle Uno (RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m.: Soul Stew (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Calle Uno (RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m.: Soul Stew (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)




Friday, July 1

12:00 p.m.: Herb Smith (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

1:00 p.m.: Jazz Workshops for Young Music Students with Matthew Halsall (Eastman School of Music Room 120)

4:30 p.m.: Fairport HS Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: Monroe Community College Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: Greece Jazz Band (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6:00 p.m.: ECMS Jazz Combo with Mike Kaupa & Paul Hofmann (Jazz Street Stage)

7:00 p.m.: Mingo Fishtrap (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

7:30 p.m.: Denis Parker & the Modern Saints (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Los Lonely Boys (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

9:30 p.m.: Denis Parker & the Modern Saints (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)




Saturday, July 2

4:30 p.m.: Nazareth College Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m.: School of the Arts Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: ESM Honors Performance Unit 3 (Jazz Street Stage)

6:00 p.m.: Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7:00 p.m.: Lucky Chops (Midtown Stage)

7:00 p.m.: Denis Parker & the Modern Saints (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

7:30 p.m.: Mingo Fishtrap (Jazz Street Stage)

9:00 p.m.: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (Midtown Stage)

9:00 p.m.: The Wood Brothers (East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage)

9:30 p.m.: Mingo Fishtrap (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m.: Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown)


Get more reviews and information with CITY's Daily Jazz Blogs, updated every day of the festival!




Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jazz Fest 2016: Meet City's jazz bloggers

Get to know Ron, Frank, Daniel, and Jake

Posted on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Ron Netsky

ron_175px.jpg

My real job is chairman of the art department at Nazareth College, but I've been writing about jazz for City since the late-1990's. My love of music can be traced to the people I grew up with: my uncle was a Broadway composer; my twin brother, Steve, is a songwriter; and my younger brother, Hankus, is a jazz and Klezmer musician. I can still hear the sound of Hankus playing "Mode For Joe" on the alto saxophone in our house in Philadelphia.

I love all kinds of music, but one of my most favorite is hard-bop jazz. So during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, I'm looking forward to artists like John Scofield and Joe Lovano (as the Scofield-Lovano Quartet), Russell Malone, and Helen Sung. But I also love the mystery of some of the more out-there acts who can usually be found at the Lutheran Church, so Mikkel Ploug Equilibrium and Ikiz Cabin Crew are also on my list.

Frank De Blase

frank_175px.jpg

My name is Frank De Blase and I write about music for City -- been doing it for 16 years. It's rather tricky, I tell ya. Frank Zappa once said, "Writing about music is like dancing to architecture."

I shy away from the title "critic" because I see my job as more instigating a conversation: opening a dialogue with people from the passionate to the die-hard, from the gonzo to the rabid. Where do you fit in to that list? I don't just love music and what it means to us all, I need it; I gotta have it, man. So for me the Jazz Festival is a kind of downtown junky parade of people wallowing in each other's soundtrack, sharing, debating, and lapping it up.

This year I've intentionally set my focus on those I know little about. I've got some preliminary background and such, but other than that, I'm in their hands. I'm looking to add a few new favorites to the merry-go-round in my head. We all look and listen to music differently and my view certainly isn't the only one, so I invite you to start a dialogue with a stranger.

Feel free to comment on my daily blog -- agree, disagree, tell me I'm full of shit, or how much you liked my Hawaiian shirt collection I plan on showing off. Of you can simply come down and enjoy what I like to refer to as the most wonderful time of the year. Happy Jazz Fest.

Daniel J. Kushner

daniel-kushner-web.jpg

What I love most about experiencing live music is the ability to embrace revelatory moments: discovering a new artist, or hearing clever combinations of style and aesthetics that challenge my thoughts about genre.

The Jazz Festival offers a seemingly infinite number of these moments. I tend to gravitate to the venues where formal composition can collide with free improvisation and classical and jazz meld in unexpected ways, which is why you'll be able to find me at Christ Church for Alexander Hawkins Group and Mammal Hands, and checking out at the consistently intriguing Nordic Jazz series at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

I'm particularly looking forward to hearing prolific sonic auteurs and upright bassists Avishai Cohen and Mats Eilertsen in their individual sets. And if you're interested in funky party bands that incorporate healthy doses of Afrobeat and North Indian music, respectively, Emefe and Red Baraat are not to be missed.

This is my second consecutive year covering the Jazz Festival for City Newspaper, and I'll be live-tweeting from the shows @danieljkushner.

Jake Clapp

jake.jpg

As City's Arts & Entertainment editor, I'll spend a lot of my time in the next week coordinating coverage -- and burning the midnight oil posting the great blogs our reviewers send in. But I'm hoping to squeeze in as many Jazz Fest shows as I possibly can.

This will be my third Jazz Fest, and if the last two summers have taught me anything, it's to soak up as much music as nine days will allow. While Ron, Frank, and Daniel carry the majority of City's coverage, I'm excited to fill in the cracks with a diverse group of artists, from a little Cajun and Zydeco -- I need a taste of my home state, Louisiana -- with The Revelers and Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers to gypsy jazz bands like Rhythm Future Quartet. If you have any tips on who I should check out this year, connect with me on Twitter @jake_clapp.

I'll be up until the wee hours of the morning posting all of our Jazz Blogs and photos, so that you have something to read while enjoying your coffee and bagel in the morning. But we want to know what you think. Join the conversation by leaving your comments on the blogs, posting them to Facebook, or Tweeting us at @roccitynews.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jazz 101

Ron Netsky offers a crash course into the world of jazz

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Now in its 15th year, the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival has become the most highly anticipated yearly musical orgy in Upstate New York. We have nine days to indulge in every kind of music, from free street concerts by national acts to $100-plus seats at the ritzy Kodak Hall.

During the course of the larger event, there are actually several festivals going on: the avant-garde festival at the Lutheran Church; the get-up-and-dance festival in the Big Tent; and the pop festival on the outdoor stages. But what about the music at the very core, the music in the XRIJF's name: jazz?

Even hip comedians like Bill Maher make jokes about the ability of jazz to put people to sleep, but if you learn to appreciate it, jazz is about as fascinating as music can get.

The are similarities between jazz and classical music. Composers like Beethoven and Mozart surely improvised during the composing process. When they found a great melody they wrote it down, but when performing at the piano, Beethoven and others were known for playing improvised cadenzas.

Jazz artists dare to improvise right on the stage, right in front of an audience. They find great melodies all the time but they don't write them down; they just move on. In fact, legend has it that when someone transcribed a John Coltrane solo created in the moment, and later, put the written music in front of Coltrane, he couldn't play it.

The similarities continue in the rock world. Artists like the Doors, known for long and imaginative solos on guitar and organ, acknowledged that they were influenced by the modal chord structures and improvisation of jazz players like Coltrane, Miles Davis, and others. When Prince played his famous guitar solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was improvising over George Harrison's chords.

Jazz players are every bit as virtuosic as classical pianist Evgeny Kissin and rock guitarist Jimmy Page. In fact, they seem to weave their solos so beautifully, you might think it's easy. There are the rare Mozart-level geniuses -- like Joey Alexander, the 12-year-old wunderkind who dazzled us at last year's festival and will open for Chick Corea at this year's -- but most jazz players not only know their theory inside and out, they practice for countless hours to achieve mastery.

Up on that stage all of that knowledge and practice is put to work as the piece unfolds. There's usually a head -- a melody to start things off and maybe end with -- but the middle section is filled with chorus after chorus of improvisation. Even seasoned players want to explore new territories in their solos. And, while it might not always equal the cut-throat sessions of a 1950's after-hours jazz club, there is still a healthy competition between players.

Here's how saxophone great Sonny Rollins described soloing to me when he played at an earlier festival: "I learn the melody," Rollins says. "Then I also learn the chords, the harmonic structure of the song. I learn everything about the words, the way the song goes. Then I forget it. You never really forget it, but what I'm trying to say is you don't really think about it because in the art of improvisation there's no time to think. Things are happening too fast.

"Sometimes when you start playing, you may be distracted by the audience -- there's a pretty girl in the front row or something. But when I get into it everything goes and you are sort of in a trance-like state. This is the state where one wants to be. This is where you want to let the music play itself."

In the spirit of an improvised solo, jazz has never stood still. To vastly oversimplify it, the ragtime of the early 20th century gave way to boogie-woogie and other styles. By the 1930's, swing was king only to be supplanted by bebop in the 1940's. Cool jazz and hard bop ruled the 1950's while the avant-garde and soul jazz emerged in the 1960's.

Since the advent of jazz-rock fusion in the 1970's, the music has moved in many different directions including world music, afrobeat, smooth jazz, jazz-rap, electronic jazz, and so on. In any given year, almost all of the above can be found at the XRIJF.

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, May 9, 2016

Party in the Park announces 2016 series

Posted on Mon, May 9, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The City of Rochester today announced the lineup to its 2016 Party in the Park series, the 20th season. The series opens Thursday, June 16, with John Brown's Body and Thunderbody, and continues each Thursday through August 11 in Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 353 Court Street.

Each concert begins at 5 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 to each show; children 12 and under get in free. A party pack with tickets to all nine shows are available for $35. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at the Blue Cross Arena box office (1 War Memorial Square), online at Ticketmaster.com, and at the gate the day of the show.

For more information, including a map to nearby parking, check cityofrochester.gov.

The full 2016 lineup follows:

June 16 -- John Brown's Body and Thunderbody

June 23 -- Outlaws, Zac Brown Tribute Band, and The Steppin Stone

June 30 -- Keller Williams & More Than a Little and The Blind Owl Band

July 7 -- Hotel California: The Original Eagles Tribute and Big Eyed Phish

July 14 -- Gin Blossoms and Something Else

July 21 -- Lou Gramm and 10,000 Maniacs

July 28 -- Robert Randolph & The Family Band and Ryan Montbleau

August 4 -- The Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Samantha Fish

August 11 -- The Wailers and Pigeons Playing Ping-Pong

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lilac Fest announces full music lineup

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The Lilac Festival today announced the rest of its 2016 music lineup. This year's Lilac Festival will take place Friday, May 6, through Sunday, May 15, in Highland Park. Music begins daily at 10:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. on the weekends) and runs through 8:30 p.m. All shows are free to the public. It just got bigger and better. Here's the whole shebang. Dig...

Headliners

Friday, May 6: Linda Gail Lewis, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 7: Sheepdogs, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 8: Los Straightjackets, 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 8: NRBQ, 7:00 p.m.

Monday, May 9: Gaelic Storm, 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 10: Matisyahu, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 11: Keb' Mo', 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 12: Rusted Root, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, May 13: The Fabulous Thunderbirds, 7:00 p.m.

Up-and-coming artists

Friday, May 6: Powerglide, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 11: Eilen Jewell, 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 12: Gedeon Luke and the People, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 14: Adam Ezra, 4:45 p.m.

Sunday, May 15: Blind Owl Band, 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 15: Joe Brucato, 5:30 p.m.

Regional artists

Sunday, May 8: Mulburry Sole, 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 8: Tommy Brunett, 2:30 p.m.

Monday, May 9: Sisters of Murphy, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 10: Pillotto, 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 10: Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, May 13: Significant Other, 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 15: Eli Flynn, 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 15: Buddhahood, 4:00 p.m.

  • Re: Jazz Fest 2017, Day 3: Ron reviews Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan, Jochen Rueckert, and Adam Kolker Trio

    • Roberta, thank you for letting us know about the error. We've fixed the blog.

    • on June 27, 2017
  • Re: Jazz Fest 2017, Day 3: Ron reviews Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan, Jochen Rueckert, and Adam Kolker Trio

    • "Cardenas wasn't afraid to keep quiet when the tune called for it; he's among the…

    • on June 26, 2017
  • Re: Jazz Fest 2017, Day 3: Ron reviews Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan, Jochen Rueckert, and Adam Kolker Trio

    • I happened to see the same shows on Sunday and generally agree with the review…

    • on June 26, 2017
  • More »
  • Browse Listings

    Submit an event

    This Week's Issue

    Cover Story:
    Movers of the soil: Farmers of the Rochester Public Market
    The heartbeat of the Rochester Public Market, though, are the men, women, and children who work the region's fields, orchards, and vineyards, rise early on market days, and bring the results of that labor to provide food for Rochester homes and businesses. read more ...

    © 2017 City Newspaper.

    Website powered by Foundation.