Haven't done a "Live Shot" post in awhile. What better way to come back to it than with vibist Joe Locke, playing with Geoffrey Keezer, George Mraz, Clarence Penn and Kenny Washington on vocals here in New York City. This was the group's last night of three at Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center highlighting their new CD "For the Love of You". Lucky coincidence I'm in town for a conference and can make that Rochester connection. The photo quality could be better (sorry Mr. Keezer, couldn't get you in the frame).
As I sat listening last night to a rotating group of Eastman School of Music jazz studies students jam at Havana Moe's on East Avenue, swinging their way into better chops through some standards (although most chops were in pretty good shape already), I noticed that, of the folks packed into the bar, there were more under 30 than older. The enjoyment I experienced last night going out to hear some jazz (I also hit the Strathallan for Nancy Kelly's first set with Dino Losito, Bob Sneider and Mike Melito, where more than a few "youngsters" had come to listen) reminded me that I still needed to jump on the #jazzlives bandwagon, despite it being well underway. Let me explain.
At the end of August, in anticipation of all of the jazz festivals that would kick into high gear around Labor Day (Chicago, Detroit, Tanglewood, etc.), jazz writer and blogger Howard Mandel (Jazz Beyond Jazz) started a social networking experiment using Twitter to show that contrary to popular belief and the Wall Street Journal's arts writer Terry Teachout, jazz is not destined for the grave, nor are its listeners all in their late 40s or older (OK, this listener is). The brouhaha caused in the jazz world by Teachout's article is collected on NPR's A Blog Supreme here. While I think the initial idea was to end the campaign after the end of the Labor Day holiday, it appears to have grown feet of its own and goes on.
Suggesting that listeners use what in Twitterspeak is called a "hashtag," #jazzlives," Mandel and a chorus of other bloggers, jazz activists, musicians, festivals, journalists, and of course listeners have been keeping up a steady stream of tweets on Twitter that show folks who love live jazz enough to "raise their hands by tweeting about WHO they heard and WHERE they heard it." Although not a scientific poll (and some say Twitter is actually used by us older folks more than the young), the idea is to show the rich and varied audiences out there for live jazz music and give us some hope that Teachout and others who are walking down the street bellowing "... ring out yer dead!" are wrong. Based on the stream of tweets I've seen, there may have been thousands since the campaign started before Labor Day. I think it's a great thing to keep up as it provides yet another source of what's going on in the wider world of jazz.
So if you're at a jazz gig here in Rochester or elsewhere and are on Twitter, give a shout out about who you're hearing and where you're seeing them by adding "#jazzlives" to your tweet. Please no promotion. You can check out the #jazzlives stream directly on Twitter here. Unfortunately, the widget that is available through Mandel's site and AllAboutJazz.com is a size my side panels can't support (yet...), so I've also added the #jazzlives hashtag stream as a panel on my Twitter widget that can be reached by clicking on the little blue bird with a sax in the right panel and selecting that tab.
Yes, Virginia, there is jazz elsewhere in Western New York (actually, quite a lot, but I only have so much time to keep up). While I can't get it all in, I like to try to let you know about some of the more exceptional stuff when I can. One such series of jazz concerts the Art of Jazz series, now starting its 10th season at Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery. This year's lineup is, as usual, full of new stars, recent folks who you may have heard at the RIJF, and a few old favorites. Between now and May 2, 2009, the following artists/groups will be appearing:
Cindy Blackman Quartet (if you missed her at the RIJF, she's the former Lenny Kravitz drummer who came here with her own Quartet) (October 18).
Tickets went on sale August 15, 2008. For tickets, visit their website or call 716.270.8292. They say that concerts usually sell out well in advance, so if you want to go order early. I may just get over to
Buffalo yet (yes, I have to admit that I've been in Rochester since 2002 and have never been there, other than to the airport once and to pass by on the way to Niagara Falls for one of the many trips to show visiting relatives and friends). Could see some great art, too....
For those of us who go out to hear live jazz more than the average Joe or Janet, it's clear that jazz artists and venue owners throughout Rochester and its environs are having an increasingly difficult time getting audiences for gigs. While the recent and marked decrease of "bums in seats" at jazz gigs can be laid at the feet of an economy that is increasingly scaring the living sh*t out folks (or at least causing them to reduce spending disposable income), this is not really a recent phenomenon. I've heard artists and others time and again say that the jazz lovers all come out at the Rochester International Jazz Festival and the rest of the year, not so much. Let's face it, jazz and other improvised music is a hard sell. You have to really love it to make the effort and there's always the fear that it won't be "your kind of jazz" (you know how I feel about that, but it's the truth out there). The fact is that there are a lot more jazz lovers out there in Rochester than those who show up at live gigs around town. Without growth in the audiences for live music there will be an inevitable drop in the amount of live music and especially jazz available to hear. Sure, Eastman will always guarantee a certain level of highly talented jazz musicians around town and a certain number of folks dropping in who have a connection to the school or its faculty. However, if we're going to have a vibrant live jazz scene here in Rochester, NY, and keep attracting people from out of town, we have to turn out to hear them play. How many times do you think a world-renowned artists like Mulgrew Miller will return when only few hardy souls turn out to hear him? Same goes for local artists and groups. They have to feed themselves and/or their families.
Since I've been here, I've been thinking about how to bring a tradition from my former home town of Chicago—the jazz "pub crawl"—as one means to turn people on to the fantastic home-grown talent here and the venues that showcase that talent here in Rochester. I was reminded again of why when I read a recent post by jazz journalist Howard Mandel in his blog Jazz Beyond Jazz. As Mandel writes, "[t]he real signs of Chicago's jazz depth and diversity are evident in the unique 'club tour' (aka pub crawl), which the Jazz Institute of Chicago cleverly designs to introduce listeners to local musicians playing small venues way outside the downtown Loop." Typically, the "crawl" involves moving between different clubs throughout the city via bus (we used yellow school buses back in the day when I was hitting these every year, now they're using tourist trolleys) on a single pass over one night. Everywhere you go, there is live jazz, drink, sometimes food; everywhere you go there your (now $25) pass will get you on the bus and in the club. When you're ready to move on, you go out the door and a bus will take you to the next stop on the circuit or back to the central connection to take a different circuit. The JIC's jazz pub crawl was a fantastic way to discover the music and where it was being played around the city, showcasing local artists you might not know and venues where you might never have ventured if you hadn't been there before. Due to its proximity to the time of the jazz festival, it was possible that someone was already in town and might sit in somewhere.
Looking at the "scene" here, I think this could work in Rochester, providing people a chance to catch some of the rich and diverse local jazz artists (not all of them can be in the festival) and see where some of the local clubs and restaurants that at least try to bring in live jazz can be found in and around Rochester. Because of Rochester's well-known "in 20 minutes you can be anywhere" geography, they could in both the suburbs and in the City. Like Chicago, it might make sense to do this right before the RIJF itself or perhaps at several different times during the years.
You heard it here first....So what do you think? I'd welcome your thoughts and suggestions in the
comments to this post. If we don't get more people out to hear the
music, it's going to be increasingly difficult to find music to hear.
... on April 25th in 1960, Hammond B3 organist Jimmy Smith recorded two albums in one day? According to AllAboutJazz.com, at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Jimmy Smith—accompanied by Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell and Donald Bailey—recorded two classic albums: Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special. Now, if Mr. Smith could squeeze that much jazz into a single day, imagine how much you might be able to catch in this final week of Jazz Appreciation Month. Of course, to advance that cause, I gladly provide your Rochester area jazz listings for the next seven days—the last seven days of Jazz Appreciation Month. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 24th
Nick Humphrey @ The Rabbit Room, 5:30 pm
Matt Valerio @ The Grill at Strathallan, 6:00 pm
Joe Santora and Emily Kirchoff @ Michael's Valley Grill, 7:00 pm
Jim Nugent Trio @ Bistro 135, 7:00 pm
Lumiere @ The Little Theatre Cafe, 7:30 pm
Nazareth College Jazz Ensemble with Paul Smoker, director @ Nazareth College Wilmot Recital Hall, 7:30 pm
Rick Holland-Evan Dobbins Little Big Band with Honeoye Falls-Lima High School and Middle School jazz ensembles (see article here) @ Honeoye Falls-Lima High School, 7:30 pm
Russell Fielder Quintet @ Merchants Grill, 8:00 pm
Joe Santora and Emily Kirchoff @ Michael's Valley Grill, 7:00 pm
Shared Genes @ Triphammer Grill, 7:00 pm
Madeline Forster @ Pane Vino, 7:00 pm [added]
Bobby DiBaudo Quartet @ Horizons at the Lodge at Woodcliff, 7:30 pm
Westview Project with Nick Brust @ Brio Mediterranean Bistro, 7:30 pm
Bob Sneider Quartet @ The Grill at Strathallan, 8:30 pm
Mike Cottone Trio @ Flat Iron Cafe, 9:00 pm
East End Jazz Boys @ Havana Moe's, 9:30 pm
Kinetik-Flo w/ Freddy Colons, Cinnamon & DJ Selecta Preece @ Club Pazzo (Main St. near State), no time given
After Hours Jam Session with the Quinn Lawrence Trio @ Flat Iron Cafe, 12:00 am (OK, it's Sunday)
Sunday, April 27th
Bill Slater @ The Lodge at Woodcliff, 11:30 am
Musicale Sundays Third Sunday Dance featuring Moondance, Ernesto LaBella and others @ Artisan Works, 12:00 pm
Monday, April 28th
The Rick Holland Evan Dobbins Little Big Band & The Rick Holland Quartet @ Tasteology, starting at 7:15 pm
White Hots @ Little Theatre Cafe, 7:30 pm
Big Apple Mondays Swing Dance Class and Live Jazz with Quinn Lawrence Trio @ Flat Iron Cafe, 8:30 pm
Tuesday, April 29th
Joe Santora and Emily Kirchoff @ Virtu, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, April 30th
Jack Allen @ Roger Robach Community Center Ontario Beach Park, 7:15 pm
Margaret Explosion @ Little Theatre Cafe, 7:30 pm
Dubblestuff @ Jazz 90.1 (Live Studio Concert Series), 8:00 pm (listen live on the radio or online) [added]
We've compiled these listings from information obtained from the performing artists themselves and from other sources. Please forgive me for any discrepancies with reality; feel free to let me know what the problem is, and I'll get the corrections up on the site as soon as possible. Any list items that contain the notation "[added]" or struck-through text reflect corrections implemented after initial publication of this post. Email subscribers should check the listings post online for updates or revisions before making decisions based on the information in this post. For additional information regarding a particular performance (where I haven't previewed it in a separate post in advance), you may want to check the artist or venue web sites listed in the right panel of this weblog.
If you go out to hear a performance listed here, feel free to drop a comment to this post about how it went. I want to hear from you!
A few days ago, the announcements were made for the 2007 Grammy Awards. Here are the jazz categories with the artists, nominated albums and tracks, and labels (Field 10, Categories 45 through 50 if you're keeping score). I've provided you with links so you can follow your muse to find out more or buy some of the music if you like.
Let us know what you think about the nominees and/or their albums in the comments to this post. Start a conversation with the others who comment. Maria Schneider (up for 2) is an Eastman grad. Who else?
Gap Mangione New Blues Band @ Horizons at the Lodge at Woodcliff, 7:30 pm
Maggie Mullen Trio @ Little Theatre Cafe, 8:00 pm
Bob Sneider Quartet @ The Grill at Strathallan, 8:30 pm
The Westview Project @ Flat Iron Cafe, 9:00 pm
Sunday, October 7th
Phil Bridenbaugh benefit w/Matt Valerio Quartet featuring Art Fulluca @ Flat Iron Cafe, 5:00 pm
Monday, October 8th
Nothing, nada, zilch?
Tuesday, October 9th
Tony Giannavola @ Beale St II (Webster), 6:00 pm
Wednesday, October 10th
Margaret Explosion @ Little Theatre Cafe, 7:30 pm
Adam Niewood and the Rabble Rousers @ The Bop Shop Atrium, 8:00 pm
Check the venue sites or call them for more information if you need it. I've compiled these from other sources so please forgive me if there are any discrepancies with reality. Artists please feel free to let me know via email (link on left panel) if one of your gigs isn’t on here and I’ll try to add it to the post before the gig happens. Email subscribers should check back here to see if there has been an update or revision before you make decisions on jazz to see (subscribers won't get an update email or posting).
As you may or may not know, almost 25 years ago I graduated from the College at the University of Chicago. Hyde Park, the neighborhood in Chicago in which the University is found holds a special place in my heart, but alas not in my ear. One thing that was missing while I lived there in the early 1980s was live jazz. OK, full disclosure, I wasn't really listening to much jazz then, more along the lines of the Sex Pistols and the New Wave stuff at that time, but it was starting to make some preliminary inroads into my listening habits.
So, NOW they start getting more jazz in town. This year the community is hosting the first annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival. The festival will be held at multiple venues in Hyde Park on Saturday, September 29, 2007, 11 amâ2 am. It is being produced by the Hyde Park Cultural Alliance, The University of Chicago, and the Hyde Park Jazz Society, and will provide musical trolleys (OK, I want to know what a "musical trolley" is, too) for moving attendees around Hyde Park to a variety of creative and unexpected music and food venues.
The lineup is a who's who of national and local Chicago jazz talent, artists I fondly remember hearing in the years before leaving Chicago for Western New York, including: Dee Alexander, Orbert Davis, Clark Terry and Willie Pickens Trio, Bill McFarland and the Chicago Horns, Judy Roberts (a former neighbor of mine), Corey Wilkes, Jimmy Ellis and others. Heard Kurt Elling (who lives in Hyde Park) was going to be there, but apparently scheduling conflicts kept him from the hometown stage. So, on the off chance that you're going to be in Chicago next weekend, you should check it out.
So what does that have to do with jazz in Rochester? Not much (well, it's about jazz, isn't it). But in addition to publishing this blog and other things, I also wear the hat as the current President of the University of Chicago Club of Western New York and I'm just giving them a hand on letting alumni around here know about this festival. There are close to 800 of them out there in the WNY region. If you're reading this and want to be informed of alumni events from time to time, you can send me an email through the link in the left panel, or visit the blog I built for the local alumni group: "The Quad Club by the Thruway".
Tickets are now on sale for the ninth season of the Art of Jazz series presented by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. The 2007-2008 series has a stellar lineup of international artists, many of which you may have seen at a Rochester International Jazz Festival near you. Here's the line up:
Saturday, October 13:The Carl Allen–Rodney Whitaker Project—pre-Concert Conversation or Performance, 7 pm; Concert, 8 P.M. (Tickets $12 for students 18 and under).
Saturday, November 10, 2007:The Tord Gustavsen Trio—pre-Concert Conversation, 7 pm. on The Sound and the Story of ECM with Series Producer Bruce Eaton; Concert, 8 pm.
Sunday, January 27, 2008:The Lionel Loueke Trio—pre-Concert Film, 2 pm, African Guitar: Solo Fingerstyle Guitar Music from Uganda, Congo/Zaire, Central African Republic, Malawi, Namibia, and Zambia; Concert, 3 pm.
Saturday, February 9, 2008:James "Blood" Ulmer solo performance—pre-Concert Conversation, 7 pm, The Geography of The Blues with Jim Santella; Concert, 8 pm.
Sunday, March 16, 2008:The Vijay Iyer Quartet—Concert, 3 pm
Saturday, April 26, 2008: The Russell Malone Quartet—pre-Concert Conversation, 7 pm, The Life and Legacy of Charlie Christian, The Father of Modern Jazz Guitar with Series Producer Bruce Eaton; Concert, 8 pm and on Sunday, April 27, 2008, pre-Concert Conversation, 2 pm, The Life and Legacy of Charlie Christian, The Father of Modern Jazz Guitar with Series Producer Bruce Eaton; Concert, 3 pm ($12 tickets for students 18 and under).
I really have to try to get over to Buffalo to see one or more of these this season. Good chance to see some great art as well (I believe the concerts are right in the gallery). Check here for additional or revised information as these dates get closer.
For several years I have tried to shake off the post Rochester Jazz Festival fatigue and head over to Syracuse for the M&T Syracuse Jazz Festival. This year was no exception, but alas "woulda, shoulda, coulda" is not enough. Bill Milkowski over at JazzTimes.com, the online version of Jazz Times magazine (which has now been added to my jazz media links), recently wrote:
For 25 years, Syracuse Jazz Fest has been sustained by the sheer over-the-top enthusiasm of its colorful and endlessly energetic leader, festival organizer Frank Malfitano. From its humble origins in 1982 at the intimate Oliver’s nightclub on Erie Boulevard East, this free event has been embraced by the locals and revisited year after year by music lovers from all over New York State. With financial support coming from M&T Bank, Syracuse Jazz Fest has now become a major event on the summer festival circuit, providing music lovers with three full days of jazz, with a little bit of R&B, funk and blues on the side.Read more of the JazzTimes review....
Sounds like a good time and, like I said before, it's FREE...Maybe next year?
The M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest will feature three major headline acts at its Silver Anniversary edition held at Onondaga Community College, June 29 through July 1: The legendary “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, living jazz legend Dave Brubeck (repeat performance from his appearance at the RIJF), and jazz banjo great and jam band superstars, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. But there is so much more:
"Toots" Thielemans Trio featuring Kenny Werner and Oscar Castro-Neves
David 'Fathead' Newman
Jaco Pastorius Big Band w/ Special Guest Will Lee
Nancy Kelly Quartet
Ed Palermo's Big Band tribute To Frank Zappa with Special Guest Napoleon Murphy Brock
Howard Johnson & Gravity
Harri Stojka A Tribute to Gypsy Swing
While there is no comparison in the number and variety of artists you can catch, there is one very important difference between the Syracuse and Rochester jazz festivals—the Syracuse festival is free. Here is the schedule. Check out the "Dos & Don'ts" about attending this year's festival (some new measures have been put in place due to this year's Virginia Tech tragedy). You can even go and stay on the OCC campus (I believe it is in on campus housing) for $60 a night, sleeping up to 5.
PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's online publicist has dropped me a line that Smiley recorded an interview with the Wynton Marsalis, who is promoting the CD for Congo Square, which we heard during the Rochester International Jazz Festival. In addition to talking about Congo Square, Marsalis talks about his teaching in the Jazz at Lincoln Center program. went further and talked about the influence he has on kids that he teaches and what he is trying to accomplish through the Jazz at Lincoln Center Program. You can see the full interview and what Wynton Marsalis had to say on the ‘Tavis Smiley’ tonight, which airs in Rochester on WXXI at 12:30 am. If you can’t watch tonight it audio will be available at Tavis Smiley's site on KCET in Los Angeles.
The Jeff Marx Quartet at my old haunt Pete Miller's in Evanston, IL, that is. Around 5 years ago, just before I moved to Rochester, my friend Matt and I went to see Jeff Marx's group play at Pete's. It was a trip down memory lane last night, complete with an "El" ride from downtown. Unfortunately, I came down with something just after getting back and I'm flat on my ....cough, hack....