26 posts categorized "Local Artists" Feed

Paul Smoker: "In his playing there was a fierce beauty, and in his person a helpful, generous guy"

Having heard Paul Smoker play a number of times since moving to Rochester, I knew the intensity and beauty of his playing and compositions. I felt that his recent passing on May 14th should be noted here in these pages, but I didn't know Paul and there had been some thoughtful pieces on Paul and his music by Jeff Spevak in the D&C and Ron Netsky in City and didn’t feel I had anything more to contribute myself. But Tim Sullivan, Professor Emeritus in the Music Department, who did know Paul, responded to my call out to my email list of local musicians about writing a guest post. Tim's guest post is below:

image from www.paulsmoker.com“A musician is one who travels with $5000 worth of equipment in a $500 car, 100 miles for 50 bucks.” That aging quip is one that many musicians and their spouses know, one to which they respond with grins and grimaces. Paul Smoker was known as a tough traveler, and as a strong player. Those aspects of his presence traveled quickly to our town when he moved here from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, largely to be closer to two members of his band who, by 1990, lived in New York.

What traveled more slowly was a certain deep beauty of his playing and person. Paul and his pianist wife Beverly decided that they would move to the place that provided work for one of them, and that place was Rochester, and that person was Beverly, who became the chief professor of piano at the Music Department of Nazareth College. Paul’s drive to play necessarily directed his energies toward “the city” and as the faculty of the college came to hear the reach of his musical thought we were glad to have him in town, when we could.

It was, I think, during the third year of the Smoker’s life here, the Spring semester of 1992, when an opening of particular beauty appeared: the college big band needed brass players and Paul was asked to identify trumpet students who might play. At the end of a phone conversation he said “well, of course, I could play….” And, when word got out that Paul would be in the band, players emerged from goodness knows where in a sort of re-enactment of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. That semester the band wailed, the band was fun, and Paul, I think relaxing in an environment where his fierce new music drive would not be under scrutiny--after all, one thinks of the Biblical question “What … could come out of Nazareth…?” (paraphrased here)--played for us from his gorgeous cornucopia of the knowledge of bebop. It was bebop superb, bebop beautiful, bebop flowing, bebop nourishing the band. And he was IN the band, swinging, inspiring, and illuminating all.

Around then one discovered a further virtue of the man, his generosity. If one wondered, as I would, about a particular piece of new-music by a composer such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, a cassette of the work would soon appear on one’s desk. (Yes, a cassette, this was during the last millennium … later, CDs, of course). That generosity, an inclusive one, flourished when Paul became the director of the jazz ensemble at Nazareth, as he wrote parts to fit kids into the band. Generous and provident he was.

Yes, effectively and rather famously, he presented the tough guy face. But a lot of us knew better. In his playing there was a fierce beauty, and in his person a helpful, generous guy.

Please feel free to add your own thoughts about Paul Smoker and his music in the Comments.

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.

Local guitarist lets you in on a little XRIJF secret ...

Sam Nicolosi dropped this over my transom...

Psst! keep it to yourself, but we're meeting in the "Garden" on Wednesday. That's the day, June 26th, during which the two science guys (and acoustic-jazz guitarists), "Ted Nicolosi and Shared Genes" hit the stage behind the Central Library (that's across the street from the Rundel building). High noon, 90 degree temps, situated in the middle of an enormous heat sink comprised of concrete, asphalt and brick: A "Thermodynamic Scenario" for sure. Ladies: permission granted to bring hats! The guitar necks will be expanding causing the strings to go sharp, the coefficient of friction will rise along the frets, linear speed may be affected and power amps will loose efficiency. Shared Genes

Oh well, that's what goes through the mind of the very first Xerox Product Design Engineer to perform in the "Xerox-RIJF". Yup, sorry to disappoint you, but that's me, Sam Nicolosi, the elder of the duo. In many years of service I have had the privilege to develop mechanical designs and patents for several Xerox products, including the new Xerox iGen Production Printer.

I will be joined by my ace side-man and son, Ted, a guitar virtuoso in his on right. Ted, however, is off in a different science direction, he is a fourth year Biomedical Sciences major at the Rochester Institute of Technology (my alma mater), "premed as they say". So if you have the time and "curiosity', stop out to see us on Wednesday at noon, to see the R.I.T. "science" connection to the Xerox-RIJF. Ladies, remember the hats!

Note from Greg: I would love to have more personal experiences of XRIJF 2013 from the many local artists who are playing. Contact me through the email in the middle panel to get the ball rolling.

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

Jazz@Rochester Picks for XRIJF 2012: Local artists shine at XRIJF this year

We have a lot of jazz talent conveniently located here in Rochester and they will be out in force this year. The number of local artists (and artists who hail from around here) playing the festival seems to have increased and there are more than a few who are gracing the stages of some Club Pass venues, including:

  • Penfield Rotary Big Band @ Verizon Wireless Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • Gap Mangione & Special Guests @ The Rochester Club Viva Italia Series, June 23rd, 6:00 & 10:00 pm 
  • RPO Marimba Band @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, June 23rd, 6:00 pm 
  • J.M.O.G (Jazz Men on the Go, including Pat LaBarbera) @ Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza, June 23rd, 6:00 & 10:00 pm 
  • Joe LaBarbera Quintet @ Montage, June 24th, 6:00 & 10:00 pm 
  • ESM-XRIJF Gerry Niewood Jazz Scholarships Performance @ Kodak Hall At Eastman Theatre, June 25th, 8:00 pm
  • Bill Dobbins Plays Ellington @ Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music, June 26th, 5:45 pm
  • Jack Allen Big Band @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, June 26th, 6:00 pm 
  • The Westview Project @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, June 27th, 6:00 pm 
  • Generations Trio with Rich Thompson @ Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza, June 27th, 6:30 & 9:00 pm (you can check out their new "Generations" CD on the Rochester Jazz Sounds page by clicking on the button above)
  • Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, June 28th & June 29th, 6:00 pm 
  • Harold Danko @ Hatch Recital Hall at Eastman School of Music, June 28th, 7:45 pm.

 On the free venues, there's even more:

  • ECMS Jazz Combo led by Bob Sneider @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 22nd, 6:00 pm
  • John LaBarbera Big Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 22nd, 7:15 pm
  • The Uptown Groove @ The RG&E Fusion Stage, June 22nd, 9:00 pm
  • John LaBarbera Big Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 22nd, 9:15 pm
  • Dan White Group @ Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, June 23rd, noon
  • Bill Tiberio Band @ The RG&E Fusion Stage, June 23rd, 9:00 pm
  • ECMS Latin Jazz Ensemble @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 23rd, 5:15 pm
  • ESM Honors Performance Units 1, 2 & 3 @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 23rd, 6:00 pm
  • Teagan & The Tweeds @ The RG&E Fusion Stage, June 23rd, 7:00 pm
  • Calle Uno @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 25th, 7:15 pm 
  • Doug Stone Group @ Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, June 26th, noon 
  • Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 26th, 6:00 pm 
  • New Horizons Big Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 26th, 7:15 pm 
  • Music Educators Big Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 26th, 9:15 pm 
  • Sean Jefferson Group @ Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, June 27th, noon
  • ESM-XRIJF Jazz Scholarships Alumni Combo @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 27th, 6:00 pm
  • Russell Scarbrough Soul Jazz Big Band @ The RG&E Fusion Stage, June 27th, 7:00 pm
  • Fred Costello @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 27th,  7:15 pm
  • Russell Scarbrough Soul Jazz Big Band @ The RG&E Fusion Stage, June 27th, 9:00 pm
  • Fred Costello @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 27th,  9:15 pm
  • Bob Sneider & Friends @ Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, June 28th, noon
  • The Gutbusters @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage,  June 28th, 4:00 pm
  • Bat McGrath @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 28th, 6:00 pm
  • Bill Tiberio & Friends @ Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, June 29th, noon
  • ECMS Saxology + Jazz Bones @ City of Rochester Jazz Street, June 29th, 6:00 pm
  • Po' Boys Brass Band @ City of Rochester East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage, June 29th, 7:00 pm
  • ECMS Jazz Combo led by Howard Potter @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 30th, 5:15 pm
  • ESM Honors Performance Units 1, 2 & 3 @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 30th, 5:15 pm

And of course there are the great High School Bands we all love to listen to while we get our first beer and get in line (or just sit on Jazz Street and the other venues and chill):

  • Fairport HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 22nd, 4:45 pm 
  • Hilton HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 22nd, 5:15pm 
  • Gates HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 23rd, 4:30 pm 
  • Buffalo Academy of the Visual and Performing Arts HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 23rd, 5:15 pm 
  • Brockport HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 24th, 4:30 pm 
  • Spencerport HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 24th, 5:15 pm 
  • Webster-Thomas HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 25th, 4:30 pm
  • Greece-Athena HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 26th, 4:30 pm
  • Pittsford-Sutherland HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 26th, 5:15 pm 
  • Webster Schroeder HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 27th, 4:30 pm
  • School of The Arts HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 27th, 5:15 pm
  • Eastridge HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 28th, 5:15 pm
  • Greece-Olympia HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 29th, 4:30 pm
  • Newark HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 29th, 5:15 pm
  • West Irondequoit HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, June 30th, 4:30 pm

Geez, that was a lot! I apologize if I missed any (and feel free to point it out so I can amend. You can find out information on a number of these artists by checking out their sites linked to from Rochester Jazz Artists Links.  Remember that you can go hear many of these artists all throughout the year, so if you miss them at XRIJF (as I will, I'm afraid), you can likely catch them later. Just watch my listings posts on Wednesdays or, if you prefer to be notified by email, put your email address in the box in the middle panel, follow the instructions, and you'll get all the posts to this blog (and nothing else... I don't spam or sell your address).

In addition to the above, the nightly late nigth jams at the State St. Bar & Grill at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, which in addition to Bob Sneider and the guys usually includes local students and others who sit in for a tune or two before the XRIJF artists step up to the stage for a jam. There will be some other performances around the XRIJF that are not part of the XRIJF as well. The Little Theatre has teamed up with WXXI for some nearby "tie-in" jazz events and Bernunzio's Uptown Music has at least one special event during the festival. Check out my Jazz Around Town posts on Wednesdays below (and to come) for more details on that and on the jazz going on outside of the festival.

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

D&C's "Jazz Stories" begin for the 2011 XRIJF

Every year one of the treats that comes out of the Democrat & Chronicle's ever-growing coverage of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival is the series of photo essays by Will Yurman and the "Jazz Stories" videos. [Update: Will Yurman is no longer part of the project as he has left Rochester to begin a gig at Penn State). The first of those videos, by Annette Lein (who has taken on the "Jazz Stories" project), was just released (I think today), with a short profile of talented bassist-vocalist Katie Ernst, who just graduated from Eastman School of Music, will stop off for a gig at the XRIJF on June 16th before continuing on her journey (are you heading back to Chicago area, Katie?). I've had an opportunity to see Katie play (and sing) and those of you who go to her Max gig are in for a treat. Her enthusiasm for music is infectious.

These videos and all of the XRIJF-related articles in the Democrat & Chronicle can be found on their redesigned site.

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

But wait ... there's more! Deadline extended on the Rochester Jazz Start contest

calendar imagePerhaps since the original deadline was getting close and there were only about 17 entries and to give bands and artists some more time to add their videos into the mix, the folks at the Rochester Jazz Star contest have extended the deadline for submitting videos to May 14th.  There were 20 up there at the time I posted this.

I've been watching some of the videos and there is a wide variety of talent from around Rochester, including some folks you see around town (and in my listings) and others you may not have heard of ... yet.

The contest is brought to us by Rochester International Jazz Festival sponsor Xerox in conjunction with the festival.  You can read more about the contest in my earlier post "Jazz festival sponsor Xerox brings jazz 'Idol' to Rochester in Jazz Star contest)".

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

Eastman celebrates the legacy of saxophonist Gerry Niewood with an all-star concert on October 14th

image of Gerry NiewoodGerry Niewood—saxophonist and flutist, band leader and long-time sideman to Chuck Magione, died in the February 12, 2009, crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo. Niewood was also Rochester native, Eastman alumnus, and the original lead alto sax of the Eastman Jazz Ensemble under its first director, Chuck Mangione. If you haven't heard of it yet, Niewood's family, friends and admirers from Eastman have put together a great concert to honor Gerry Niewood's musical legacy on Wednesday, October 14th at 8:00 pm. The Eastman Jazz Ensemble and the school's New Jazz Ensemble will perform, along with guest appearances by Chuck Mangione, Lew Soloff, Pat LaBarbera, and Gerry's son Adam Niewood as well as other faculty and musicians associated with Eastman. The concert will premiere a number of never-recorded Niewood original compositions arranged by an all-star cast of writers, including Bill Dobbins, John Labarbera, Rich DeRosa, Dave Rivello, Mike Titlebaum, Don Menza and Russ Kassoff.

Tickets are $12 to $45 (discounts with UR or student ID) and available at the Rochester Philharmonic Box Office, 108 East Ave.; by phone (585) 454-2100; or online. Proceeds will go to the Gerry Niewood Memorial Scholarship Fund at ESM. Those interested in making a contribution to the Fund otherwise may contact the Eastman School of Music, (585) 274-1040, visit the school's fund page here, or send a check payable to the "Eastman School of Music" to: Eastman School of Music, Office of Development-Gerry Niewood Scholarship, 26 Gibbs St., Rochester, NY 14604.

As at the time of our post following Niewood's death, others have recently written about the concert and so I'm reprising the new with the older material I gathered below:

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

Closer to home .... Not everyone at the XRIJF is from out of town!

XRIJF logoMy focus during the Rochester International Jazz Festival often turns away from Rochester to increase my exposure to jazz and other music from beyond our area, but that doesn't mean that I don't value the jazz that is to be found right here. Of course not, if I didn't think that Rochester wasn't an interesting and, in fact, unique location for hearing live jazz and other music why would I be doing this blog at all? It ain't making me rich, that's for sure.

The fact is that Rochester has (and has a history of having) a great number of incredible and talented jazz artists who call this area home. There are many who are teaching the jazz artists of tomorrow and are students of the music themselves. Some are playing this year's XRIJF; some are not and should be. Come out and hear some of these great artists during the festival and find out what you're missing throughout the year (and don't forget check out posts each Wednesday here to find out when and where, like the one I'll post tomorrow). Here's a rundown of locals (and those who were here recently) at the XRIJF:

Friday, June 12th

Saturday, June 13th

  • Smugtown Stompers @ Mary Jemison Boat on The Genesee River, 2:30 pm
  • Smugtown Stompers @ Mary Jemison Boat on The Genesee River, 4:30 pm
  • Honeoye Falls HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30 pm
  • Pittsford-Sutherland HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15 pm
  • Greece Jazz Band @ XRIJF Club Pass Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Sunday, June 14th

  • Smugtown Stompers @ Mary Jemison Boat on The Genesee River, 2:30 pm
  • Smugtown Stompers @ Mary Jemison Boat on The Genesee River, 4:30 pm
  • Webster Schoeder HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30 pm
  • Rush-Henrietta HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15 pm
  • High School Band Directors Big Band directed by Bill Tiberio @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 6:00 pm
  • Eastman Community Music School Jazz Combo @ XRIJF Club Pass Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Monday, June 15th

  • Mike Cottone @ Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, 12:00 pm
  • West Irondequoit HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30
  • Hilton HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15
  • Bill Tiberio Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 6:00 pm
  • Mike Melito Quintet @ XRIJF Club Pass Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 7:15 pm
  • Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra @ Eastman Theatre, 7:30 pm
  • RIJF-ESM Scholarships Performance "Celebrating The Legacy of Woody Herman" @ Eastman Theatre, 8:00
  • Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 9:15 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Tuesday, June 16th

  • Matt Valerio Quartet @ Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, 12:00 pm
  • Greece Odyssey HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30 pm
  • Penfield HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15 pm
  • Eastman Community Music School Jazz Combo @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage , 6:00 pm
  • Sean Jefferson 5tet + Marcus Strickland @ Montage, 6:00 & 10:00 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Wednesday, June 17th

  • Bob Sneider Trio @ Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, 12:00 pm
  • Greece Athena HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30 pm
  • School Of The Arts HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15 pm
  • Eastman Community Music School Jazz Combo @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage , 6:00 pm
  • Dave Rivello Ensemble @ XRIJF Club Pass Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Thursday, June 18th

  • Matt Owens @ Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, 12:00 pm
  • Brockport HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30 pm
  • Spencerport HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15 pm
  • Brockport Community Big Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 6:00 pm
  • Clay Jenkins & Friends @ XRIJF Club Pass Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • Eastman Community Music School Jazz Combo @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage , 6:00 pm
  • New Horizons Big Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 7:15 pm
  • Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 9:15 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Friday, June 19th

  • Fairport HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30 pm
  • Newark HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15 pm
  • John Nyerges Quintet @ XRIJF Club Pass Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • XRIJF Salutes the late Joe Romano with Special Guests @ Xerox Auditorium, 6:30 & 9:00 pm
  • Campbell Brothers (opening for Robert Randolph) @ City of Rochester East Ave. & Alexander St. Stage, 7:00 pm
  • Po' Boys Brass Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage,7:15 & 9:15 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Saturday, June 20th

  • Webster Thomas HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 4:30 pm
  • Kendall HS Jazz Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 5:15 pm
  • Rochester Metro Jazz Orchestra @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 6:00 pm
  • Bacci Band @ City of Rochester East Ave. & Alexander St. Stage, 7:00 pm
  • After hours with Bob Sneider Trio @ State St. Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, 10:30 pm

Let me know if I missed anyone! If you're playing around town during the festival, send me an email and let me know when and where so I can get you into the post tomorrow and next Wednesday.

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

Join Rochester's music community as they remember Rafael "Ralph" Ortiz

Rafael OrtizCome out to join more than seventy Rochester area musicians when they come together for a nine-hour benefit concert to honor their friend, Rochester bassist Rafael "Ralph" Ortiz, who passed away February 2, 2009, after a short battle with cancer.

The concert will take place at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water Street) on Sunday, April 26 from 1 to 10 p.m., and will feature 11 bands and many guest appearances on alternating main and club stages at Water Street Music Hall, including (subject to change):

  • Chet Catallo & the Cats, with special guests Eli Konikoff and Peter Chwazik
  • Prime Time Funk, with special guests Todd East, Jeff Cosco and Trevor Neumann
  • Steve Greene
  • Joe Brucato
  • Atlas
  • Don Maracle & Dave Hanlon
  • The Buddahood
  • Me & the Boyz
  • Po Boys Brass Band
  • The Legendary Dukes
  • Dan Schmitt & the Shadows
  • Mint Jam

"Incredibly, Ralph played with most of the musicians participating," says Prime Time Funk co-founder and best friend, Jim Richmond. "Some he taught, and the rest are fans who wanted to play with him but never got the chance."

Tickets are $20 and will be available this Friday, March 20 at: WSMH, Northfield Music, House of Guitars, Record Archive, The Bop Shop, Sound Source, Abilene Bar & Lounge, Murray Street Station (Newark, NY) and Irene's Coffee & Jazz House (Geneva). The event will also feature a silent auction of special items including one of Ralph's basses, guitars donated by Northfield Music and House of Guitars, and two club passes donated by the Rochester International Jazz Festival. The sale of food and concessions will also benefit the Rafael Ortiz Memorial Fund, which will help to pay medical and other family expenses as well as fund two music scholarships in Ralph's name: one for a graduating senior pursuing music studies from Ralph's alma mater, Newark High School, and the other for bass lessons at Northfield Music in Pittsford, where Ralph taught for 20 years.

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

Why we keep beating our heads against the wall …. The Bop Arts symposium

Bop Arts logoTom Kohn is relentless .... He is passionate about the music that inhabits the edges of our listening and he wants to share that passion with Rochester. He doesn't care that, from all evidence, there are few around town who share his feelings. Listening to music that challenges him fills him with joy and Tom simply is going to root out those who the music has a chance to reach and then try to share his joy with them. This desire in him has led him to spend more than 25 years running the Bop Shop, arguably one of the best remaining independent record stores in the country and also to put on more than 200 jazz (and another 50 or more rock, blues and other music) events near his store and elsewhere. He continues to branch out in his work of proselytizing. It is why he recently formed a nonprofit, Bop Arts Inc., to help fund more of this innovative and improvisational music throughout the year. It definitely ain't making him money. A similar passion is why I do this blog. I'm not trying to shove one type of jazz or another down any of my readers' throats. I just want you to try once in awhile to open up your ears to something other than what you've always been told to was “good music” by others.

So I came down to the Bop Shop Atrium on Sunday night, March 1st, to check out the symposium, called “The Making of a Music Community: Perspectives on New Music from Performers and Listeners," that Bop Arts put on to bring musicians and others together to talk about building a community of music. In this world, the “experts” are the musicians. Like the music that Tom programmed which took up most of the event, the symposium was improvised, but it was much more than a panel of experts. Trumpeter Paul Smoker, who brought his jazz ensemble from Nazareth College, and percussionist and vibe player Kevin Norton, who was here with his trio Counterpoint, both riffed on some great stories of why they “keep beating their heads” against the wall of indifference that confronts their music. Both have deep and long association with jazz and those who ply its less traveled paths like Anthony Braxton (who both played with on several projects). As Smoker put it, playing the music and the focus and drive it has given him saved his life. Guitarist Adam Caine, whose trio finished up the night brought the perspective of a younger artist who was just coming up in the jazz world.

Like the name Kohn gave to the symposium, last night we created a small community. As Norton said during the symposium, the music he loves forms "audiences and musicians into a community of the moment.” We came together for some compelling music, some tasty lasagna, and a bit of exploration of why we keep “beating our heads” in trying to bring live music making and improvising to a wider audience. All in all, it was a good night....

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

Rochester loses another jazzman . . . Gerry Niewood joins the 2009 fallen

image of Gerry NiewoodGerry Niewood—jazz saxophonist and flutist, band leader and long-time sideman to Chuck Magione, Eastman graduate—was a victim of the February 12, 2009, crash of Flight 3407 near Buffalo (along with Coleman Mellett of Mangione's band). He was scheduled to perform with Mangione's band Friday in Buffalo. He came to play in Rochester pretty often; I heard him at the Strathallan in 2007.

Others have already written so much about him, I'll just point you to them (and the many comments that accompany them) and some other places you can go:

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

Remembering one of the first fallen of 2009 .... bassist Ralph Ortiz

image of Ralph OrtizIn posting the list of the jazz fallen of 2008 (which I did from a conference in NYC) on February 2nd, I was unaware that a bass player Rafael "Ralph" Ortiz, beloved by many in Rochester, had just passed away Monday after a short battle with cancer discovered only weeks ago. I had heard that Ortiz was in the hospital at the Exodus to Jazz gig on January 30th and was told at that time that his time was short, but hadn't heard about his death from anyone and have been traveling.  Ralph was most recently associated with Prime Time Funk, but also played with Cabo Frio, Chet Catallo & The Cats, and a host of other bands.

Although I'm a bit late (apparently the wake was on the 4th), due to the number of folks who have already left comments elsewhere (and elsewhere on this blog), I thought I'd add a quick post to provide another place for musicians who worked with or loved Ralph Ortiz to write their thoughts on his passing.  You can find other thoughts on the City obit and on Jeff Spevak's article in the D&C and read comments there as well. Added imageTracy Kroft remembers on Rochester Music Scene (and Heard).

Please click on the comment link at the bottom of this post if you'd like leave your thoughts here.

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

Friends of Joe Romano gather for a memorial party this Sunday

sax imageFriends and musicians who wish to get together and share memories of Rochester jazz saxophonist Joe Romano, who died of cancer in late November, are invited to a memorial party taking place this Sunday, January 11th, at the Midvale Country Club (2387 Baird Rd, Penfield, NY 14526; 585-586-7100). The party will start 2:00 pm. There will be music from around 2:00 to 4:00 pm, as well as pictures, videos, recordings, food, a cash bar, and lots of musicians, family and friends. For additional details call the Midvale CC or Diane Armesto  (716-913-1463). Proper dress is required--no jeans & sneakers please.

Since it was posted the day after Joe Romano passed away, a number of jazz artists have added wonderful reminiscences about Joe in the comments to my post, Joe Romano is sitting in with the angels now... Rest in peace, Joe. I encourage you to click on this link and read them.

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

Joe Romano is sitting in with the angels now... Rest in peace, Joe

saxophone imageJoe Romano, a sax man close to the hearts of many jazz musicians in Rochester and around the world has passed away. Joe played with a veritable Who's Who of jazz greats, including Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Woody Herman, Chuck Mangione, Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones, Billy Higgins, Art Pepper, Barry Harris, Sonny Stitt, and Charlie Parker. As Ron Netsky noted in City Newspaper in 2003, "[o]ver the last half century, few Rochester jazz musicians have pulled off as much as Joe Romano."

Romano was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer a few months ago and recently moved back to Rochester to live out the rest of his days. He died yesterday evening at the age of 76.

If you'd like to leave a comment about memories of hearing or playing with Joe, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to me here at the blog and I'll collect them and post them at a later date.

Added image Here's a profile of Joe published today in the Democrat & Chronicle. Check out the growing number of rememberances in the comments (click on the Comments link below)

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

Another voice from Rochester jazz . . . Drummer Mike Melito

As I've promised, I'm trying to add new voices to Jazz@Rochester. I've heard today's guest post writer, drummer Mike Melito, a lot over the past few years, playing with various groupings with Bob Sneider and Phil Flanagan and others at the Strathallan, and sitting in with a number of other artists such as James Moody and Benny Golson at the RIJF. I've heard him enough that I can recognize Mike's style even before I see his smiling face. He's just a great guy and I'm glad he's willing to write some stuff for my readers. I asked Mike to write a bit about being an jazz artist here in Rochester and he sent in the following:

I’ve been a professional jazz musician in Rochester for 25 years. The jazz scene here has changed quite a bit over the years. Some years there would be all kinds of gigs and other years not as many. I would do quite a bit of driving between playing gigs in Buffalo, Syracuse and Utica as well. I can say that today Rochester probably has the most venues for jazz out of all those cities. I’ve been asked many times by people why I never moved to NYC? There are a few reasons but the main reason is the players I get to play every week here are every bit as good as most guys in NYC. I think there is a misconception about New York. People think if you live in New York you must be great. Mike Melito at RIJFThat is totally not true!! I’ve played with many guys who live in NYC and make a good living in jazz that can’t touch the guys I play with here every week.

My regular Strathallan gig has been going great! We’ve had some great guests come in to play with us. Guests have included Vincent Herring, Grant Stewart, Ralph Lalama, John Nugent, John Swana, Peter Bernstein, Ken Peplowski, Harry Allen, Don Menza, Frank Strazzeri, Rachel Z, Todd Coolman, Gerry Niewood, Pat Labarbera and many more. Bob Sneider has done a TREMENDOUS job with booking all these guests. Look for many more guests to come as well. The next guests to come are three on the same weekend! Trumpeter Jim Rotondi, bassist Lee Hudson and my brother drummer Tom Melito all play the Strathallan the weekend of April 11th and 12th. That should be a GREAT weekend! Having Bob Sneider, Paul Hofmann or Bill Dobbins on piano will be equally exciting! We play every Friday and Saturday night from 8:30pm to 12:00 am. No Cover!

I recently recorded a new CD that should be out in the summer. It’s called In The Tradition and features Grant Stewart on tenor, John Swana on trumpet, Bob Sneider, Paul Hofmann and bassist Neal Miner. I’m very proud of this record. It came out well! There are some great tunes by Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark, Tadd Dameron, plus some originals too. Stay tuned . . . .

Watch for Mike's album on my Rochester Sounds page in the future and check out his albums now on CDBaby.com.  I'm sure we'll hear (and read) more from him in the future. By the way, feel free to leave a comment and let me know who you'd like to hear from and I'll see if I can get them to write something up.

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

Future of Music Coalition brings a free seminar to help musicians learn new tools to improve their art and livelihood

What's the Future for Musicians?The Future of Music Coalition is partnering with the the Rochester Musicians Association (AFM Local 66) and the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester to bring a “What’s The Future for Musicians?” seminar to Rochester. This free event will be held at the Rochester Museum & Science Center on Monday, April 28, from 3:00-8:30 pm. The Future of Music Coalition is a national non-profit that deals with issues at the intersection of music, technology, policy and law. One of FMC's missions is to help musicians understand these tricky issues in order to make better-informed decisions regarding their art and livelihood.

At the seminar, musicians will learn about such topical issues as promotion and distribution, internet marketing, access to media outlets such as radio, compensation in the digital age and the importance of open Internet structures. Artists from all genres—including jazz, classical, rock, folk and hip-hop—are welcome to come and learn. The seminar will be guided by a core group of presenters who have a wide range of expertise in the music, performance, technology, policy, copyright and law space. Attendees will have an opportunity to interact with peer-experts in breakout sessions and roundtable discussions. This seminar is part of a series of New York State music education events, which also includes presentations in Buffalo on April 2nd, Syracuse on April 29th, and Albany on the 30th.

It's free, but registration is necessary.  To RSVP, call the Rochester Musicians' Association at (585) 546-7633 or Tracy Kroft at the Arts and Cultural Council at (585) 473-4000 x 210 or via the online RSVP form.

I'll keep the image in the left panel until after the Rochester seminar. I'm reserving space in the left panel for this and other non-profit causes with a "jazz" or music focus.

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

Just one of those nights . . . .

Last night I got home from work and before I had moved completely into a post work week stupor, I got a call from my friend saxophone player Jimmie Highsmith Jr. While I knew Wycliffe Gordon, the fantastic trombone player with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and former veteran of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, was in town to play a concert with the kids out in Hilton, Jimmie told me that he might show up later at Jimmie's gig with members of Filthy Funk at the new Club Network over on Central Street near the old Post Office. Getting to hear Wycliffe blow live is always a treat, and I enjoy hearing Jimmie and Filthy Funk's jams so I headed downtown. Typical for a lot of venues in Rochester, Jimmie and the Filthy Funk were playing to a house of maybe ten, most of whom weren't paying too much attention. As they played a second set, still no Wycliffe, the place started filling up and people started noticing the funky sounds coming from the back of the room (really liked the version of Wayne Shorter's Footprints and Mr. PC, a Coltrane tune off of Jimmie's most recent album, It Is What It Is.

A third set started and it seemed that the fates had kept Mr. Gordon from joining us on this night. About a half hour before the end of the final set, in walked Wycliffe Gordon. He set up and then blew incredible solos and fills during the two last songs. I'm sure some of the folks in Club Network that night didn't know that they had just heard one of the best jazz trombone players in the world blow.  And boy did he blow . . . .

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

My fellow lawyers are trying to help . . . really!

My friend Tracy over at Rochester Music Scene (and Heard) is also a staffer at the Arts & Cultural Council of Greater Rochester. She let me know that on Friday, December 7, 2007 the Council is hosting one of a continuing series of legal workshops at the its offices at 277 N. Goodman Street. This one will be on "Best Practices for Musicians and the People Who Work With Them," featuring speakers Margaret Spoddig from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Marc S. Brown from the local law firm of Hiscock & Barclay.

Light refreshments will be served. Registration begins at 1:00 pm and the program will run from 1:30 until 5:00. The cost is $30 for students, $40 for Arts Council members, and $50 for all others. You can pre-register by calling Tracy Kroft at (585) 473-4000 x210 or email her here. Payment is requested at the time of registration.

Margaret Spoddig will be discussing issues of importance to performers, composers and venue operators. Currently a Director of Membership in the genre of rock and pop at ASCAP, she recruits music writers and publishers by going out to see the latest bands and communicating with others in the industry. Ms. Spoddig has worked in the recording industry administration at Sony and Universal. Her career began with the inception of her own record label, Devour Records. Marc S. Brown's practice is in the area of commercial litigation, with a particular focus on entertainment law, and he has represented a variety of local, regional and national musical artists, as well as entertainment, recording and publishing companies in contract and licensing matters. He will be talking about contract issues as they pertain to the business of music. Local musician, Greg Wachala, will speak about the challenges of working as a musician in Rochester. Arts Council staff will also be speaking about the member benefits of the pro bono legal assistance program and the health insurance program for artists, including musicians. The workshop is sponsored by the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, Hiscock & Barclay LLP, and the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

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

Quinn Lawrence and the Flat Iron Cafe's after hours jam gets a nod. . .

Frank DeBlase over at the City Newspaper has written a profile of Quinn Lawrence, who holds down a job on the real swing shift with his trio at the Flat Iron Cafe at an after hours jam starting at 1:00 am on Saturday nights (OK, Sunday morning...it all depends on your perspective). Quinn is a multi-instrument jazz man (Frank, you left out the saxophone...) who is comfortable playing all across the spectrum of jazz. If you're out on the town and not quite ready to head home to the bed, Quinn and his trio will keep that head bobbing for awhile longer. There's some great jazz at the Flat Iron at other times, too. Flat Iron Cafe owner Tom LaBue would love to help you get some caffeine into those veins (or beer and wine) and get a bit more than a "modest crowd" out to support the jazz. Check out the story and the jam . . . it's worth staying up late.

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

Jimmie Highsmith reaches a milestone! Jimmie, can we call you "Jr." anymore?

Jimmie Highsmith Jr.My buddy Jimmie Highsmith Jr. is going to be celebrating his 40th birthday with some of his friends on Sept 15th from 7:00 to10:00 pm at VENU Resto-Lounge at 151 St. Paul St. in Rochester.

Jimmie will be joined in this celebration by 4X Grammy nominee Joseph Wooten of the Wooten Brothers (you may have heard brother Victor recently), jazz producer and sax player Will Holten, Tyler Owens on vocals and members of the groups Black August and Filthy Funk, plus others who may show up (every time I see Jimmie he's inviting someone, so who knows who will show up...). Admission is FREE (yes . . . free, although you might want to avail yourself of one of those great martinis they make at VENU and I bet they'll charge you for that). Doors open at 6:30 pm. Remember that VENU likes to see you dress to impress. Visit their website or phone (585) 232-5650.

So, can we call Jimmie a "Jr." anymore?  Of course we can as I'm sure Mr. Highsmith Sr. would appreciate it.  I'm one to talk about age....I passed this milestone over 5 years ago.  Forty years . . . It is what it is! Happy Birthday, Jimmie! Let's . . .

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

Rochester Sounds . . . Check out CDs by local artists

It's been a long time coming, but I thought why limit it to what's on my turntable?  One of the main focuses of this blog is to help promote local live jazz here in Rochester.  To that end, I'm inaugurating a new feature in the left panel "Rochester Sounds . . . " that will feature new CDs by local artists. 

I'll try to rotate as much as possible.  Unlike the other, which is connected to the Amazon affiliate program, for these I'm going to try to link to an online source for buying the CD that will provide the artist the most return. However, in the interest of full disclosure, on some of them  if you click through and buy, I may be  a member of an affiliate program and get a bit of coin (not serious money, actual coins) for the referral. 

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

Jimmie Highsmith and Wycliffe Gordon playing benefit for the Advocacy Center...

Jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis's other groups, is joining local favorite saxman Jimmie Highsmith Jr. and vocalist Tyler Owens at the Memorial Art Gallery on Saturday, May 12, 2007 from 8 pm to 10 pm at "A Night of Hot Jazz and Cool Art," a benefit for The Advocacy Center. The Advocacy Center provides information, support and advocacy to individuals with disabilities and their families. Jimmie Highsmith will also be celebrating the release of his third CD, "It Is What It Is," which features Wycliffe on several tracks (tracks I had the opportunity to see being recorded). The benefit will also include an art auction, with proceeds benefiting The Advocacy Center's programs. Lia Lando from Fox Rochester and News 8 Now will serve as Host for the event. Hors d'oeuvres and desserts will be provided by local restaurants and bakeries. Sponsors include Wachovia, Faraci Lange LLP, Preferred Care, and WROC Channel 8. Advance tickets for "A Night of Hot Jazz and Cool Art" are $35 person and can be purchased by calling The Advocacy Center at 546-1700. Tickets will be $40 at the door. One of the standout things about my friend Jimmie Highsmith Jr. is how he tries to give back to the community through his music.  This is his second year playing for The Advocacy Center's event (and my second year trying to help them connect with you), and he is happy to be involved again: "I wanted to some way benefit a cause that I really felt strongly about," said Highsmith. "I've seen the struggles individuals with disabilities and their families go through to create quality lives. There are a lot of children, adults, and families who need help to break down the barriers that keep them from realizing their goals." Go get'em Jimmie.

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

A rich source of all things Rochester . . . Rochesterblog.com

Recently, I found out that Richard Shade Gardner over at Rochesterblog.com, an online cyberjournal about Rochester and its people, history, etc., had told my business partner that he wanted to link swap (and he has, in fact, linked to Jazz@Rochester).  I had come across Richard's blog awhile ago and had always meant to take a closer look, but hadn't.  You see, Richard writes....a lot and I've been having trouble recently doing the one thing required to follow someone like him . . . reading. But once I took the time, I found a rich source about all things Rochester. Once a week for several years he has written a long form article and published it on the blog. The articles span a gamut from a topless protest on Cobb's Hill to H.O.G. (House of Guitars for the uninitiated). 

In looking back into Rochester's past, he even touches on its history of jazz, including a wonderful article on happening upon a plaque in the Swillburg neighborhood commemorating:

In the middle of a small grassy square, encircled by Avon Place, Fountain Street, and Sycamore Street - tiny streets lined with small hundred-year-old homes - I spot a modest granite monument. I step across the grass and read the bronze plaque:

Dedicated to Cabel "Cab" Calloway the king of "Hi-De-Ho" - An internationally known band leader, singer, dancer, actor and composer. Cab, an African-American, was born in Rochester, New York on December 25, 1907 and once lived at 14 Sycamore Street.

As I've said many times before, Rochester has a rich jazz history and Cab Calloway is a big part of that history.  I really enjoyed reading and hope to find more of that history. Check out this short movie Hi-De-Ho with Cab and the band playing in a Santa Fe sleeper and at the Cotton Club (complete with fan dancers...):

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.

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.

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.