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June 2015

Posts from May 2015

Get a fix of home-grown live jazz at Fairport Canal Days, June 5th-7th

image from www.fairportcanaldays.com

This year's Fairport Canal Days is coming next Friday-Sunday, June 5-7. The music at FCD has continued to skew toward jazz and featuring local jazz artists. This year's lineup at almost 90% jazz, which includes Saturday night headliner Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses who will be playing the music of his father and original compositions. 

Over 40 bands will perform next weekend, showing FCD's commitment to featuring local talent—from school bands to emerging local artists and groups, to the very best world-class professionals who call the Rochester area home and those hailing from beyond our area. The festival also has added a new stage at the Fairport Brewing Co (at Four Corners). As always, FCD is an all volunteer, family-friendly, non-profit festival where all proceeds remain within the community.

Here (after the fold) is the music lineup for Friday night through Sunday afternoon: 

Continue reading "Get a fix of home-grown live jazz at Fairport Canal Days, June 5th-7th" »

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

The days dwindle until XRIJF, but there is ... (Live jazz in ROC, May 28-June 3)

b & w jazz sign

Just applied for my 2015 credentials to the XRIJF, which puts the dwindling number of days until the Rochester jazz festival begins in stark relief. Lots to do before I jazz.... Who are you looking forward to hearing. Go to our Facebook page or give @jazzrochester a holler on Twitter (will you following us on Twitter push us over 10K?), or let us know in the comments!  

Below you will find the next seven days of live jazz in and around Rochester. Let me know if something is missing and I'll add it in.

Continue reading "The days dwindle until XRIJF, but there is ... (Live jazz in ROC, May 28-June 3)" »

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

Have a little jazz with your lunch on Tuesdays ... June Jazz Duets

JuneJazzDuets_2015_cropLate in the summer of 2014, the Rochester & Monroe County Central Public Library presented a series of musical performances. Featuring a keyboard and saxophone, one of the performances highlighted the importance of the duet format in jazz, which is frequently referred to as a conversation. As an opening act for the Jazz Starts Here Series at the Central Public Library during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, the Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library will be presenting a series of jazz duets, featuring some of Rochester's finest jazz musicians on the first three Tuesdays in June, starting at noon in the Central Library. The scheduled duet performances are:

  • June 2nd: Jeff Campbell, bass with Bob Sneider, guitar
  • June 9th: Kristen Shiner McGuire, drums and vibraphone with Vince Ercolamento, reeds
  • June 16th: Doug Stone, reeds with Paul Hofmann, keyboard

Performances will be in the Dorris Carlson Reading Garden (Kate Gleason Auditorium for bad weather).

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

XRIJF ... There's a 2015 app for that!

XRIJF app imageThe official Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival smartphone apps for Android and iPhone are now available for download. I have downloaded mine and it is a real improvement over previous versions. The 2015 app has a number of new features, including:

  • A new Discovery home page provides you bios, audio excerpts, direct links to artist web sites and more. XRIJF has really stepped up their game this year on the bios with more links, especially to Soundcloud, Spotify and other streams so you can hear the artists first. 
  • The ability to set up your own customized schedule with the Favorites tool, which will also send you alerts shortly before your selections will be starting. No more need for breaking out that spreadsheet now! You can also share your favorites with friends by connecting the app to your Facebook account or via email.
  • A new Multimedia section that will feature videos posted during the festival of artist interviews and more.
  • An interactive Photo Booth that allows you to take photos of your activities during the fest and share them with other app users and your friends (with a nice inset logo of "Rochester International Jazz Festival").
  • For those of you who are unfamiliar with the layout of the XRIJF, the app has Google map links on each show page and on the venue map.
  • Browsing by day or venue, or pull down to search the schedule or the artists.
  • You can buy tickets with the app.
  • Instant alerts if there is a schedule change, sell-out or special news (users need to enable push notifications for this to work, of course)
  • Get info on getting around the fest, parking, shuttle service, food, street closings, FAQs, travel, sponsor activities and more.
  • Connect to the the festival's latest social media latest posts including Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, all in one place (and without having an account).
This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

A month of live jazz in Rochester until XRIJF... here's the next week (Live jazz in ROC, May 21-27)

piano keys imageI can't believe that the 2015 XRIJF is only one month way, but isn't that they way it always happens. The nine days of non-stop music just sneaks up on you! I've started my coverage, which you can see in the posts below.

But for now, see below to find the next seven days of live jazz in and around Rochester. Let me know if something is missing and I'll add it in.

Continue reading "A month of live jazz in Rochester until XRIJF... here's the next week (Live jazz in ROC, May 21-27)" »

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

T minus 1 month and counting ... XRIJF is coming soon!

XRIJF logoNow that I’ve had a chance to pore over the schedule a bit, I thought I’d write something to get Jazz@Rochester’s coverage of the Rochester International Jazz Festival started. I’ve been procrastinating (what else is new…?) as I wasn’t sure how to approach coverage this year. I’m still not sure, but as of today, with the XRIJF only one month out and I have to start somewhere. So hear goes …. 

On first glance during and shortly after the press conference in March, I was thinking “geez, there’s not much here that I want to hear this year,” but as I have spent some time (and some listening), I’ve revised my thinking. Festival music producer John Nugent’s oft-quoted aphorism, “it’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know” has always worked for me. While there were few “bucket list” jazz artists appearing during the XRIJF running from June 19th to the 27th, there are a lot of artists and music that I’m going to check out. In the past, some music I still have on my version of "heavy rotation” (given that I haven’t heard many of my CDs and LPs in the past 10 years, any artist I play more than once or twice a year fits that definition) is by artists I “took a chance on” during a previous RIJF. Indeed, making sure your schedule gets you in to hear the “bucket list" artists can crowd out the opportunity for serendipitous discovery of new sounds. Fewer on the "bucket list," more opportunity....

As is typical for XRIJF, in the 2015 lineup there are a number of artists returning who have appeared in recent editions of the festival.  I’ll let someone else do the math (and I’m sure someone will) as, for me, that isn’t automatically a black mark. That’s the thing with jazz and other types of music that involve improvisation—what you hear in 2013 or 2014 is unlikely to be what you’ll be hearing in 2015, even from the same artists. A change in venue or exposure to a bigger or different audience can lead to a completely distinct experience. There are some artists who appear many times who bring something fresh every time they come.  If they ARE doing the same old thing over and over, then that’s another story… and I'll leave and listen to something new.

There are some new venues at XRIJF this year, which I think starts to show hints of the coming development of our hometown jazz festival and its future growth, hopefully along with a resurgent downtown Rochester. First, there is the Lyric Theatre, 440 East Ave (just east of Alexander). This former church is on the way to becoming a major arts venue across the musical spectrum, but as I understand it, XRIJF Music Director John Nugent and Festival Producer Marc Iacona will be doing programming for the venue. During this year’s XRIJF, that solo concert venue will feature one show daily from 4 to 5 pm Sunday, June 21 through Thursday, June 25. I haven’t confirmed, but I hope there will be a shuttle bus available as there has been in the past for some venues. The second new venue is a combination of two former venues in a new space. Abilene will no longer be an XRIJF venue, with its Americana music is being pulled together with the more straightup local rock/pop of the Squeezer’s stage that has recently been in a tent at the Inn On Broadway, to become the Squeezers Roots & Americana Stage at the Sibley Building, 25 Franklin Street (entrance on Main). This appears to be the beginning of moving the XRIJF footprint toward the developing Midtown area, with both Sibley and the Midtown Tower (along with other nearby properties) to be occupied in the next two years. Other venue news includes that the Harro East Ballroom Club Pass Venue will be open for two additional nights this year with two shows nightly all nine days. Additionally, the 6:00 pm shows at the Rochester Regional Health System Big Tent will be free, featuring regional big bands, with the later shows being Club Pass shows.

So, back to the music…. In the Big House (Eastman Theatre), the main jazz attractions (plural for the headliners is sometimes unusual) will of course be Steve Gadd 70th Birthday Celebration, with a “special guest” (June 26th), Diana Krall (June 19th), and if you stretch a bit, Herb Alpert & Lani Hall (June 20th).

In closing, I still don’t know how I will be covering the festival itself in these pages. Before the festival I’ll try to write some posts about some of the artists I want to see and why. Not sure whether I’ll do the day-by-day that I've done in the past, however. During the nine days of the XRIJF, as I’ve told many of you before, I have found myself more focused on being a listener, not a blogger. When I started covering this festival in 2006, there was not a lot of coverage by the mainstream media. Now it seems more like saturation coverage (at least for Rochester). Despite my little blog’s focus on jazz in Rochester, surprisingly, we don’t get a lot of traffic during the XRIJF itself as we struggle to be heard above the din of the other coverage. That’s OK! Really! I think that’s a sign of how successful the Festival is. If last year is any measure, you’ll find me on Twitter and Facebook more than on these pages. There I will be able to share things I hear and experience in real time. I will, however, be focused on the jazz at the festival (although from time to time, I reserve the right to listen to those that cross over into other "genres" since jazz is not my only passion). 

Let us know what you think about the lineup and whatever else you want to discuss about the coming XRIJF in the comments below, on other posts as I publish them, or on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to have a conversation with you … or you can talk amongst yourselves! Let others know what we're doing here so that they join in the conversation, too.

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

So much music, so little time... (Live jazz in ROC, May 14-20)

jazz club sign

OK, I'm giving up and taking the Bistro 135 off my list of venues. Their site remains up, but there is no indication of status.  If anyone has heard the skinny on what happened (I've heard several different stories...), send me an email through the Contact Us button above. By the way, if you think another venue should be on the list have them contact me that way, too.

Below you will find the next seven days of live jazz in and around Rochester.

Continue reading "So much music, so little time... (Live jazz in ROC, May 14-20)" »

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

2015 DownBeat Student Music Awards recognize four ESM students

image from www.esm.rochester.eduCongratulations are in order.... The Student Music Awards announced in the June issue of DownBeat magazine included four students at the Eastman School of Music:

  • Garret Reynolds was recognized for Undergraduate College Outstanding Composition for his work Our Time. The 12-minute piece was recorded during his recital in November 14, 2014. It features Evan Burrus, alto saxophone; Matthew Sieber-Ford, tenor saxophone; Julian Garvue, piano; Emiliano Lasansky, bass; Michael Craig, drums; and Lanighan on trombone and Reynolds on flugelhorn. Reynolds, a member of the class of 2016, is a jazz trumpet major.
  • Brendan Lanighan was recognized for Undergraduate College Outstanding Arrangement for Lament by J.J. Johnson. The piece was recorded in October 2014 and features Shoghi Hayes, trumpet; Mike Forfia, bass; Michael Craig, drums; and Garvue on piano and Tanaka on clarinet. Lanighan will receive his bachelor’s degree in jazz trombone and music education this month. In the fall, he will be student teaching at Williamsville East High School, gigging, and continuing to teach his private students. 
  • Gabe Condon and Julian Tanaka were named Graduate College Arrangement winners for In a Sentimental Mood and Orbit (Unless It’s You), respectively. Condon’s arrangement of the Duke Ellington standard “In a Sentimental Mood” was inspired by a 1963 recording of the work featuring John Coltrane and Ellington. The seven-and-a-half minute work was recorded during a March 2014 concert by the Eastman Studio Orchestra, featuring Marc Abrate as baritone saxophone soloist and Condon as guitar soloist. Condon, who is receiving his master’s degree in jazz writing this month, is releasing his debut album on June 22. He will be pursuing a performing career in New York City after graduation. Orbit (Unless It's You) is a rarely performed Bill Evans trio piece.  Tanaka arranged it for a big band, and the five-and-a-half minute work was recorded during an Eastman Jazz Ensemble concert in fall of 2014. Featured soloists were Garvue on piano; Condon on guitar; Tanaka on clarinet; and Aaron Eckert, euphonium. Tanaka will be continuing his studies next year as a master’s degree student in jazz writing.

Entries for the annual Student Music Awards are judged on musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement, authority, and other criteria. The judges include editors of DownBeat, professional musicians, and educators.  

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

I'm baaaack and there's jazz in Rochester! (Live jazz in ROC, May 7-13)

jazz this way sign

The prodigal jazz blogger has returned with a belly full of Chicago jazz and blues and a little R&R in Wichita. We seem to already be dwindling as we head toward our jazz in late June, so better start some XRIJF coverage soon.

By the way, have you liked a Jazz@Rochester Facebook page today? I share stuff there (and on Twitter) that doesn't get in here, so you might want to check it out....

Below you will find the next seven days in live jazz in and around Rochester. Listen amongst yourselves....  

Continue reading "I'm baaaack and there's jazz in Rochester! (Live jazz in ROC, May 7-13)" »

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