There is more jazz in June than XRIJF... Live jazz outside of the festival, June 21st to 27th

Jazz 411 for other 356 Days imageThis post and next Wednesday's will feature other live jazz gigs in and around Rochester (at least those that I've heard about). Yes, live jazz continues during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.  Not everyone is given a berth on the XRIJF ship each year, and those who are may have some extra time to do a gig here and there, so here are some more.  You should, of course, refer to the XRIJF website listings for finding something to hear at the festival. I will be posting tomorrow on what I'll be doing during the festival.

I will add to this post and next week's as I hear of more, so check back.  It's going to be a bit light... as it always is as the big festival sucks all the jazz out of the air. But that's not a bad thing...!

As always, let me know if any gigs below are no longer happening, if I got something wrong wrong, or if you have heard of something that's not in these listings that I can add.  To do that just click on the Contact Us link above this post. 

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This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © 2018, Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

First night of XRIJF 2018 was a trifecta ... plus my picks for Day 2

00202827-5EBD-4696-9613-86E84147FED1I was quite worried before the music began yesterday.  So much going on in my brain, I barely slept on Thursday night. Things started to click into place when I took a tour after emerging from the garage, poked my head into “Jazz Street” and saw the preparations and familiar faces I always see, and then I hit my “office” at Havana Moe’s on East Ave, worked on the blog and watched the crowds start to arrive.  It really clicked in when the music began.

A quick recap from last night...

  • The first show of the night was Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez, two incredible musicians with deep roots in Cuba and its music.  I had seen both play with groups separately, but hearing them together was a wonderful way to start the 2018 XRIJF. I suspected it would be, which was why I made a exception to wanting to hear new artists this year (and my love of the music of that island).  Both are such consummate musicians, both throwing flurries of notes and also pulling back and playing delicate figures. The connection between these two musicians was palpable.  
  • Hoofed over to the Lutheran Church for Marius Neset.  Another good choice. Neset and his quintet were on fire at times.  Although Neset’s saxophones were up front, his band stretched out throughout the performance. The band was tight. the music was not simple, with shifting tempos and time signatures. As often happens in the Nordic (and now Euro) Jazz series at the Lutheran Church, there was a standing O at the end.  For good reason....
  • I headed over to Christ Church for the first Made in the UK Series gig with the Will Vinson Trio.  Vinson noted that while English, he’d been “marinating” in the States for awhile.  He was celebrating release of a new bass-less trio recording, It’s Alright With Three, and brought along guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Ziv Ravitz.  Hekselman was outstanding.  Vinson and the band filled that huge space with sometimes anthemic sounds. 
  • I actually was able to get into The Wilder Room for the Sara Gazarek Quartet. It was SRO, with the reconfiguration of the Wilder Room seeming to reduce the amount of space (although moving the bar out outside must have created more space?). Vocalists are not my thing most of the time and while she has a wonderful way of putting together a song and her voice is beautiful, I slipped out the back after  the first few songs of her set.

So what’s on for tonight? Lemme see...

  • Django Bates Beloved Trio @ Christ Church
  • Sigurdur Flosason @ Lutheran Church of the Reformation
  • The Bad Plus @ the new Temple Building venue

Depending on timing, weather, etc., I may trade off to see Mwenso & The Shakes or the late show of Gypsy jazz group Des Sourcils.  On the other hand, I’m finishing up this post in Van Bortel Subaru. We were out near the dealership for a graduation party and water began to pour into  the passenger side of the cabin from the dash.  So, it may be that my “grand plans” will be dashed ... with a fat repair bill to boot.  


This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © 2018, Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

The XRIJF starts tonight and JazzRochester will be there... let the music begin!

Unfortunately for me and fortunately for you, the first day of the XRIJF is chock full of great artists I want to check out.  Timing to get to all of them is tough, so I'm concentrating getting out to hear:

  • Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez @ The Xerox Auditorium
  • Marius Neset at the Lutheran Church
  • Will Vinson Trio @ The Made in the UK Series at Christ Church
  • Sara Gazarek Quartet @ The Wilder Room

I'm sorry that I'm likely to miss Terell Stafford Quintet in Kilbourn and Joey Alexander  Trio at the new Temple Building venue.  I've heard them both before and know they'll both be fantastic.  Just concentrating on folks I haven't heard or, in the case of Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez, just love the LatinX side of jazz. XRIJF is all about choices... I reserve the right to change mine, but there it is.  

This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © 2018, Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

JazzRochester at the 2018 XRIJF

Every year, I make a “grand plan” for JazzRochester's coverage of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. Most years, the amount of time I have to implement these plans falls short of my grand plan. While this summer at least I’m in town for it (see 2016), and I plan on the usual crazy nine days of music, liquid refreshment, street food, etc., the combination of being a new homeowner (and learning what that means… just had the AC go out) and an unanticipated uptick on the attention I’ll have to give my day job during the festival are conspiring to undermine my plans even more. So much for my “grand plan”….

In some ways, my worries of not meeting expectations are really just a reflection of the knowledge of what I wanted to do compared to the reality of what I can do with the time I have given my “real” life. Over the 10+ years that I’ve been doing JazzRochester, and covering the jazz festival in these pages, the success of the festival has changed my relationship with it. When I started this blog, there was not very much coverage of the Rochester jazz festival in the major media in Rochester and the traffic to JazzRochester would triple or better during the festival. Now, the media market is saturated with coverage and my little old JazzRochester blog is just another voice among the many news and other outlets that have much louder "voices." My traffic actually goes down during XRIJF! While I would hope to gain new readers, the reduction in traffic is fine with me; it shows the success of the festival, and I hope that success may translate into an expanded audience for live jazz in and around during the other 356 days of the year (in fact, that has become my catch phrase as you see by the image accompanying this post). And this blog is mostly about the 356 days of the year.

So, what can you expect from JazzRochester during the nine days of the XRIJF? Here’s what I plan to do:

  • Increasingly over the past years I have been focused on getting out and hearing the music during the festival, and … frankly… enjoying myself. The lineup this year has the usual mix of those who I know and those I don’t. There are no artists this year who are on my “bucket list.” That’s not a bad thing…. As I’ve said before, it just makes it likely that my “picks” morph during the festival and that I’ll create opportunities to discover new sounds and artists in real time. As John Nugent has said over and over, “it’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know” that matters. I plan on hearing as much of the latter as possible, so my “itinerary” will be in flux … on purpose. I’ll try to let you know the ones I think are “must sees” each night, so check out the blog and other channels for that.
  • I will use the other JazzRochester platforms, especially Twitter (currently at over 11.7K followers), the JazzRochester Facebook Page and JazzRochester on Instagram, to connect festival goers with the artists as they communicate about the festival and their music and images from the XRIJF. . In addition, I have a list of the Twitter handles of artists at XRIJF that I’ll be checking out (and you can too, if you’re too inclined). I’ll also use Twitter and Facebook to share the information about the festival being put out by XRIJF and other ROC coverage of the festival. Follow me if you’re on those platforms.
  • I will try to do a recap post each day of what I ended up hearing the night before and a preview of the music I hope to hear that evening. I’ll try to get these out to subscribers in real time on the blog, so check your email before heading down to the festival. But don’t be too surprised if my aforementioned life gets in the way.
  • I will continue to do the Wednesday listings post to let you know about other live jazz in and around Rochester. 

I hope that you will let people know about JazzRochester during the festival, so more people who are discovering the wonderful music at XRIJF and especially that played by the many local artists and bands and musicians who will be participating this year, are also hip to where to find the most complete listings for live jazz during the rest of the year. Tell your friends; tell people you’re standing next to in line!

See you on Jazz Street!  Say hi if you see me....

This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © 2018, Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.