As I thought, on the second evening of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, my path diverged from that I set before, but it was for a good cause—just enjoying the music where I was at too much to leave. A satisfying (and much more relaxed) evening throughout, I started out at the Bill Charlap Trio's first set at Kilbourn Hall. As a friend remarked, this is the Rolls Royce of piano trios, with Charlap joined by bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. It was definitely a fine ride through a night marked mostly by Bernstein compositions, with some Gerry Mulligan, Arlen and others mixed in. Ending the set with an incredible medley from West Side Story at the end that weaved themes from that musical into the improvisations from a number of angles. They were tight; always seeming to know where the music was heading and spot on the mark when needed. City's Ron Netsky and D&C's Anna Reguero wrote about it here and here.
First trio down, I headed over to the Nordic Jazz Now series at the Reformation Lutheran Church for the Arild Anderson Trio. With Tommy Scott on saxophone counterpointing Anderson's inventive bass playing—adding electronic effects and bowing in creating the soundscapes. Drummer Paolo Vinaccia was an amazing and also inventive percussionist, never once using drum sticks, but creating his own sounds with mallets and brushes (and as Ron Netsky pointed out in City, what appeared to be small hand brooms (I was in the balcony, so couldn't see them well enough to be sure). These three artists were each amazing musicians and Arildsen's music was beautiful.
The play on words in this posts title is, of course, meant to add up to 15, which was the number of players in the big band Ensemble Denada (yes, that's in "de nada" in Spanish, which means "it was nothing"). The compositions of Norwegian band leader and trombonist Helge Sunde (he was also a witty M.C.) were complex, dynamic, and quirky. The musicians in the band were all great musicians and were almost all given a chance to shine on solos. All behind this, literally, were black and white visual images and electronic sounds being "played" on a number of Apple laptops and other gear. I decided early in the show that there was no way I was leaving until this was over as it was, again, one of those truly unique things you'll only get a chance to hear at XRIJF.
This evening at the XRIJF was one of those that keeps reminding me why I puy myself through this marathon every year. I had heard some truly wonderful jazz over these hours, jazz that came from a number of angles and points on the globe, and then was able to meet up with some of my friends for a beer and some Americana over at the new after hours at Abilene. Truly satisfied again, I headed home to get some rest before heading out again today. Right now my itinerary is departing some from what I published before. I think I'm going to continue the "Kilbourn Hall first" streak and see the Jazz Passengers at 6:00 pm, followed by Nicolaj Hess Global Motion+ and then float from there, perhaps taking in Ronnie Scott's All-Stars or moving through several options.
If you're onTwitter then follow @jazzrochester or the list of tweeting XRIJF artists and other XRIJF sources I've been building. Use the hash tag #XRIJF to join the conversation (and if you have room and want to be included in the D&C's coverage, #rocjazz. If you don't want to sign up for Twitter, but want to check out the conversation anyway, then click on the XRIJF on Twitter button at the top of the page for a page with a running stream of tweets from the festival. A lot of will also be republished on the or Jazz@Rochester Facebook page.