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Posts from February 2007

A Day in Harlem At the Baobab Cultural Center

Head down to the Baobab Cultural Center on Wednesday, February 28th at 7:00 p.m., for a screening of Director Jean Bach's 1998 documentary A Great Day in Harlem, which tells the story of Art Kane's wonderful photograph taken for Esquire magazine that was sort of a "class picture" of 57 jazz legends in 1958.  The Baobab is located at 728 University Avenue in Rochester. 

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

Right here . . . Right now . . .

Three days of jazz for you.  Otherwise (and remember, some of the best of it may be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday here in Roch-cha-cha) you're on your own:

Friday, February 23rd

  • Bob Sneider / Paul Hofmann @ Grill at Strathallan (5:00 pm)
  • Whitney Marchell Jackson & Trio @ Horizons at the Lodge at Woodcliff (7:30 pm)
  • Hochstein Jazz Bands @ Downtown Presbyterian Church (7:30 pm)
  • Squeaky Chair Jazz Band @ Starry Nites Cafe (8:00 pm)
  • Bill Dobbins/Mike Kaupa Quartet @ The Grill at Strathallan (8:30 pm)

Saturday, February 24th

  • Chris Ziemba @ Grill at Strathallan (5:00 pm)
  • Jimmie Highsmith Jr. w/Tyler Owens @ High Fidelity (7:00 pm)
  • Whitney Marchell Jackson & Trio @ Horizons at the Lodge at Woodcliff (7:00 pm)
  • Maggie Mullen Quartet @ Little Theatre Cafe (8:30 pm)
  • Bob Sneider Quartet @ The Grill at Strathallan (8:30 pm)
  • Sonny Miles Organ Trio @ Café Underground Railroad (9:00 pm)

Looking Ahead to Next Week

  • February 28th: Michael Vlatkovich Quartet @ Bop Shop, Village Gate (8:00pm)
  • March 2nd & 3rd: Ralph Lalama @ Grill at Strathallan Hotel (8:30 pm)
This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

Dr. Lonnie Smith @ VENU . . . a whole lotta head waggin goin on

Caught Dr. Lonnie Smith appearing at the VENU Resto Club and Lounge on St. Paul in Rochester, part of the Exodus to Jazz series.  As he was before at the Rochester International Jazz Festival last year, the "beturbaned" Doctor was the funky Glenn Gould of the Hammond B3 organ, humming along as he played.  Appearing with guitarist Mel Henderson and drummer Yoron Israel (who had the last Exodus to Jazz performanace) on drums, the good Doctor played mostly material from his newest album Jungle Soul on Palmetto Records.  Forgot the camera again, so the impressionistic picture above will have to do [Added February 24, 2007: Well, thanks to Petra Henderson, we now have some less "impressionistic" images from the gig added at the bottom of the post]:

Live views....

Met Jose DaCosta, the promoter for Exodus to Jazz.  He is trying real hard to bring a quality live music experience to Rochester, which should be supported. Another great thing about the show was how diverse the crowd of about 100 was. I am always heartened when that occurs.

The venue is well-suitedDrlonniesmith_ph to seeing live music.  A separate room, downstairs from the bar that you see at street level.  The stage is ample and the sound was pretty good for a smallish space.  There were about 100 souls in all.  There is food available, but unlike the former Montage Grill, they've got it right.  While you can get food (and it was quite good), it doesn't get in the way of Yoron_israel_dls_phthe experience of hearing the music.

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

All the kids are doing it . . . AND Rochester jazz musicians

So are you MySpacing? Like this blog, this phenomenon of social media allows one to easily set up a site that runs on creating links between people and building networks. There are also some great tools available on MySpace sites, including a way to stream an artist's latest music. Musicians of all stripes, not just the ones all the youngsters are listening to, are flocking to MySpace.  A number of jazz artists and groups are also getting in on the "Friends" action.  So far, I've managed to find the following local artists in my meanderings around MySpace (some of whom already have links in the right panel):

If an artist is not in the Artists links yet, I'll be adding them soon.  If you wish to have your MySpace page added to my artist list, then let me know through the comments and I'll see if I can get them in there. I started to set up a MySpace page to see what it was all about.  Didn't get very far before realizing that I was just setting myself up for more work and, as you can see by the lean posting in the past week, I'm having enough trouble keeping up with the amount I have now in relation to this and other blogs that I post to.

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

The Return of the Listings....

As it was one of the things I really wanted to do with this blog (e.g., promote live jazz in Rochester), I feel it necessary to try to continue doing some kind of listings after the free ride was over, although I just don't have the free time to do it exhaustively.  I hope you'll check the other sources for finding out what's going on around town to see where the jazz is, but here's a start:

Friday, February 16th

  • Mike Kaupa/Paul Hofmann Duo @ Grill at Strathallan (5:00 pm)
  • Pat Labarbara with the Bob Sneider Quartet @ Grill at Strathallan (8:30 pm)
  • Gap Mangione New Blues Band @ Horizons at the Lodge at Woodcliff (7:30 pm)
  • Saturday, February 17th

  • Chris Ziemba @ Grill at Strathallan (5:00 pm)
  • Gap Mangione New Blues Band @ Horizons at the Lodge at Woodcliff (7:30 pm)
  • Pat Labarbara with the Bob Sneider Quartet @ Grill at Strathallan (8:30 pm)
  • Maggie Mullen Quartet @ Little Theatre Cafe (8:30 pm)
  • Sunday, February 18

  • Bill Slater Jazz Brunch @ Horizons at the Lodge at Woodcliff (11:30 am)
  • Looking Ahead to Next Week

  • February 19th: Eastman New Jazz Ensemble w/Dave Rivello, Ralph LaLama, saxophone @ Kilbourn Hall (8:00 pm)
  • February 20thBlood & Bone Orchestra @ Bop Shop, Village Gate (8:00 pm)
  • February 21st:Eastman Jazz Ensemble with guest artist Ralph LaLama, saxophone @ Kilbourn Hall (8:00 pm)
  • February 22nd: Dr. Lonnie Smith @ VENU Club & Lounge
  • Let me know what you think in the comments.  I'll keep fine-tuning this as we go along.

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

    Enjoyed it so much, I came back for more . . .

    My Sunday session hearing Wycliffe Gordon lay trombone tracks down for Jimmie Highsmith Jr.'s new album just wasn't enough, so Dianna and I drove out to Dynamic Recording Studios Saturday night while Jimmie did some more work on the album.  Another great experience as I had the opportunity to experience the full recording of one of the tracks—Marvin Gaye's What's Goin On.  First, John Viviani and Nick Murray of local band Filthy Funk laid down the rhythm track with Jimmie's drummer Jerome (Jimmie, shout out his name in the comments as I didn't get it).  Then Jimmie and Marvin Williams, one of Jimmie's mentors laid down the saxophone tracks separately.

    Jimmie is trying make this album sound "live" by keeping some of the immediacy of the recordings, k keeping takes and not processing it too much in the mix.  It was fascinating watching the process roll out and getting to see one of the cuts on the new album be recorded from start to finish.  My thanks to Jimmie for the opportunity to see the process firsthand.

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

    Why we haven't heard . . . ?

    Although I'm not sure of who scooped who (albeit I didn't make announcements about the late James Brown or Etta James, I did make announcements about a number of other artists well before the April date—see here and here), Frank DeBlase over at City Newspaper's music blog recently noted that John Nugent and the folks at RIJF are doing more than keeping mum themselves about who's been signed to play this year's Rochester International Jazz Festival.  According to Frank and confirmed by John Nugent in the comments to his post, Nugent has "put a gag order on booking agents, publicists, and record labels to prevent leaks" putting it in the artists contracts that they cannot release the information until after the April 5th announcement, including in the site Pollstar, which we all relied upon for the "scoops".  Whether you believe that holding off the announcements until April is the best move or not (and John IS a professional at this, we must remember, and it's not like he hasn't had much success in promoting the RIJF), as he notes:

    It's wonderful to see all the guessing of which artists we will be presenting at RIJF this year which is now fully booked. We're truly flattered because it means there is anticipation, which is what it's all about.

    I for one haven't had much time to try to divine who will play this year.  I'll wait until April as I haven't been disappointed yet in the choices that Nugent, et al. has made in past years.  I'll let others read the tea leaves.

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

    Readers . . . I need some guidance!

    For those of you who come back to this blog for information on what's going on around town, you've found less of that here due to the City Newspaper's changes discussed here.  In addition to keeping you apprised of gigs by out-of-town artists and highlighting others in the Google Calendar, which by the way has been updated to include a number of gigs at the Strathallan and Bop Shop, I want to know how I can help you. Due to the amount of other things on my plate, I really cannot compile all of the possible live jazz out there on a weekly basis, but I want to replace the former Wednesday listings with something. 

    My traffic showed me that people used the listings, but I can't be sure if they're missed THAT much.  I do this blog out of my love for live music and jazz, but cannot devote much more time to it than I have in the past.  So how can I help you get out there and hear some good jazz here in Rochester.  Please use the comment link below and let me know what YOU want and I'll see if I can accommodate or find a way to do it. 

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

    A Lush Life? A Film About Billy Strayhorn

    Although it premiered on some other stations Tuesday, this Sunday there will be a documentary on WXXI about Billy Strayhorn, who penned many of Duke Ellington's masterpieces, including the legendary Lush Life, but who still remains mostly unrecognized for the genius he was.  Starting a little late at 11:30pm, the film will be part of the Independent Lens series. There was a thoughtful piece by Ashley Kahn on NPR on Tuesday, who uses the autobiographical Lush Life to illustrate both Strayhorn's genius and his complicated life as an African-American gay man.  That song is one of my favorites in jazz.  Of the 500 hundred or so versions of it that have been recorded, I'm partial to the one with Johnny Hartman singing with John Coltrane.  Hope you can check it out; I plan to.

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

    My first recording session. . . Thanks, Jimmie!

    Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows that I try to let you all know about gigs that local jazz saxman Jimmy Highsmith, Jr. has around town.  One reason is that I want to give him props for his support of the Rochester community through benefits and in other ways.  I consider Jimmie a friend now and was delighted to find an email in my Inbox on Sunday asking me to come by Dynamic Recording Studios that evening while trombonist Wycliffe Gordon laid down some tracks on Jimmie's new album.  It was my first experience at a recording session.  Jimmie and the band had already recorded their parts; Wycliffe was here for a gig at the Memorial Art Gallery with Whitney Marchelle.  What was interesting was hearing Wycliffe lay down the solo on the title track of the album, It Is What It Is.  He set up three versions of the solo.  Each was completely different and each one worked (although one worked better), without music or a chart. 

    Jimmie had just had a root canal and had laid down his tracks with the bad tooth and was feeling bad about his playing.  It was especially hard on him to have Wycliffe working with those tracks, which he was going to re-record on Saturday (we hope to be there for that as well), saying that it made feel like he was having company over and there are "dirty dishes in the sink and my drawers on the floor."  But he and Wycliffe go way back. Musicians are always hard on themselves when it comes to hearing their own work.  I'm really looking forward to going this Saturday and taking Dianna with me this time.

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

    Whitney Marchelle & Wycliffe Gordon . . . Family Style Jazz at the MAG

    Over at the Memorial Art Gallery, they are having a Marvelous Masks & Amazing Animals Family Day this Sunday, February 4th, from noon to 5pm to celebrate Black History Month.  There will be a dance demonstration by members of Garth Fagan Dance, story telling, art activities, and exhibition tours with free admission to the galleries.  For Ella Fitzgerald fans out there (or just anyone who likes to hear a good vocalist), Whitney Marchelle will be appearing with trombonist and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis Septet sideman Wycliffe Gordon.  She charmed quite a few at the opening of the MAG's current exhibition Willie Cole's Anxious Objects: favorite brands.

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

    Clarissa Room may not be down for the count...

    In addition to the information on their site that indicated the news of its death was premature, I heard from a friend (thanks Jean) that the Clarrisa Room will be re-opening in February. Frank DeBlase also has reported that Mike Starr (the son of the Clarissa Room's "founder" the late John Starr) assured him that the club's closing is temporary. While I didn't find an official announcement on their site, Jean said let me know that there will be a special "Grand Re-Opening Concert" this month, a benefit to assist Starr's children to keep his dream alive and keep the Clarrisa Room open. She was told there will also be updates on the Coupe DeVille's 24 hr. hotline at 585-234-1639 (I called last night and there was nothing on it about Clarissa Room).

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

    And then there were three. . .RIJF Producers Team Up with PAETEC in Baltimore

    The Democrat & Chronicle reported today that John Nugent and Marc Iacona, the owners and producers of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, have joined with local telecommuncations firm PAETEC Communications to start a similar festival in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland.  Arunis Chesonis, the CEO of PAETEC, is a Baltimore native.  The festival will take place August 9-11.   While some might think that this would draw the RIJF team's attention from the wildly successful festival here, I think it bodes well as it could help Nugent and Iacona to offer a "package deal" to artists, scheduling them into both festivals. With the Stockholm festival that Nugent programs, that makes 3. My wife and I have been talking for years about taking a trip to Baltimore.  Perhaps in August . . . ?

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