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Get a pre-XRIJF jazz fix on (and get some sun) at Fairport Canal Days, June 3-5

image from www.fairportcanaldays.comThis year's Fairport Canal Days is coming next Friday-Sunday, June 3-5. The music at FCD continues to skew well toward jazz and featuring local jazz artists. FCD remains committed 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. I've added all of the listings received from the folks at FCD below. As always, FCD is an all volunteer, family-friendly, non-profit festival where all proceeds remain within the community.

While I won't be there to join you (I'm still in Wichita, KS), I hope you get out for it. I went last year and had great time (and got my first sunburn of the season). 

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

Continue reading "Get a pre-XRIJF jazz fix on (and get some sun) at Fairport Canal Days, June 3-5" »

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

Get jazzed at the 2016 Rochester Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony!

Rochester Music Hall of Fame log The Rochester Music Hall of Hame celebrated its first inductees in 2012, recognizing those with ties to Rochester whose talents, efforts, perseverance, and creativity have contributed to the creation of musical excellence. Every year new members are honored through ceremony and celebration and their achievements memorialized to promote an appreciation for the Greater Rochester area’s rich and diverse musical history and culture. Among the class of inductees for 2016 are two musicians who are well-known to Rochester jazz fans: Pee Wee Ellis and Joe Locke. 

PeeWeeEllisAlfred “Pee Wee” Ellis is an acclaimed saxophonist and composer who was the architect of James Brown’s era-defining soul classics of the late 1960s, introducing the dynamic arrangements and rhythm that would define the emerging language of funk. Ellis is considered the inventor of “funk jazz” and together with Brown is credited with giving birth to funk, melding together his jazz influences with Brown’s R&B roots. Born in Florida, Ellis’s family moved to Rochester when he was a teenage, studied at Madison High School and collaborated with fellow fledgling jazz musicians (and past RMHF inductees) Chuck Mangione and Ron Carter. He was given the nickname “Pee Wee” by older jazz musicians he jammed with. At age 24, he began working with James Brown and was his bandleader from 1965 to 1969. With Brown, Ellis co-wrote and arranged several songs including “Cold Sweat,” “Licking Stick,” “Mother Popcorn,” and “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” He also performs on many of Brown’s most notable recordings. Other artists Ellis has worked with and composed and arranged for include George Benson, saxophonist Dave Liebman, and rockers Aerosmith, and Van Morrison. Today Ellis lives in the UK where he leads his band The Pee Wee Ellis Assembly, is writing his autobiography, and is developing a project chronicling the history and impact of funk on popular music and culture. Pee Wee Ellis will perform jazz alongside bassist and 2016 Grammy winner Christian McBride and will also be joined by Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, who together with Ellis were the magic behind the famed James Brown horn section, to perform some of the hits Ellis co-wrote with Brown.

JoeLockeJoe Locke is a jazz vibraphonist with an international reputation as one of the major voices of his instrument. He is very familiar to Rochester jazz audiences and has returned repeatedly over the past years to play at the Rochster International Jazz Festival and elsewhere. Locke has more than 30 recordings to his credit and has performed with a diverse range of musicians, including Grover Washington Jr., Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, The Beastie Boys, and the Münster Symphony Orchestra. He has mastered an instrument that has catapulted only a handful of players to the forefront of modern jazz. In fact, the Times of London has noted that Locke is “set to become the pre-eminent vibraphonist in jazz” and the Penguin Encyclopedia of Jazz states that “[i]n the select group of contemporary vibes players, Locke has claims to head the list.” He is an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he holds the position of International Vibraphone Consultant. Locke’s latest album, Love is a Pendulum, which he brought to Kilbourn Hall at last year's festival, was featured in a number of “Best of 2015” lists, including those of DownBeat Magazine, Jazz Times, and that of critic Jack Garner in the Democrat and Chronicle. Locke’s family moved to Rochester from California when he was young. While he is a self-taught improviser, he mastered his craft while in high school, studying classical percussion and composition at the Eastman School of Music. Joe Locke will perform two songs from his repertoire, backed by members of Prime Time Funk and featuring vocalist Tessa Souter.

The 5th Annual Induction Ceremony of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 24th at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Tickets are on sale at the Eastman Theatre box office or at (585) 454-2100 or online. Tickets are priced at $35 to $60, with specially priced $20 seats for students and educators. More ticket information is online on the RMHOF website. The first four ceremonies have drawn near sell-out crowds to Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre, so get them soon. Hope to see you there!

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

Jazz on the "fringe" at the Rochester Fringe Festival, September 17-26

jazz at the Fringe image

The  2015 Rochester Fringe Festival, presented by First Niagara Bank, will be hitting the streets and venues across Rochester from September 17-26. In addition to over 500 performances aross a wide variety of music, dance, performance art, and circus acts, there will be jazz.

While some of of the choices may stretch your definition of jazz (wouldn't be the first time for us to do that here...), we're assembling below the music that will be presented during the Fringe that is at least at the "fringe" of jazz. I hope you join me while I get out and stretch my ears a bit.

I want to highlight one of the performances first. On 20 December 2013, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. So, in conjunction with Rochester Institute of Technology and Photonics, jazz composer and Eastman School of Music professor Dave Rivello has formed a new ensemble of 37 top-flight Eastman jazz and classical musicians to perform the world premiere of a concert-length original composition An Exploration of Music and Light, commissioned by Rick Williams, exploring the connections and concepts of light and music in collaboration with W. Michelle Harris, a renowned lighting artist from RIT. As he noted in an email announcing the performance, Rivello has been "dreaming about forming this ensemble and writing for it for three years, and I can't believe that it's actually happening! This is a BIG one and I promise it will be a special evening of music and visuals." The performances will be in Eastman's Kilbourn Hall on Friday, September 18th at 7:00 and 9:00 pm.

Here's what's happening around the Fringe, jazz-wise....

Friday, September 18, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

  • Matthew Cochran Trio @ RAPA at School of the Arts: Ensemble Theatre, 1:00 pm
  • Passive Aggressives Anonymous @ Bernunzio's Uptown Music, 8:00 pm
  • The Music of Steve Hahn @ RAPA at School of the Arts: Ensemble Theatre, 9:00 pm

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

  • The Peter Torpey Trio @ Java's Cafe, 7:00 pm

Friday, September 25, 2015

  • Al Biles and Gen Jam @ The Little Theatre Cafe, 5:30 pm
  • Prime Time Funk @ Gibbs Street Main Stage, 9:30 pm

Saturday, September 26, 2015

  • Rochester Fringe Festival presents “Jazz On Tap” @ RAPA @ School of the Arts (45 Prince St., Rochester), noon  added image
  • Matthew Cochran Trio @ RAPA at School of the Arts: Ensemble Theatre, 1:00 pm
  • Normal People @ Gibbs Street Main Stage, 4:40 pm added image
  • The STEEL Double Trio @ Bernunzio's Uptown Music, 8:30 pm
  • The Music of Steve Hahn @ RAPA at School of the Arts: Ensemble Theatre, 9:00 pm

Now of course there is much, much more, so check out their site. Hope to see you at the Fringe!

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

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.

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.

Martin Luther King had a dream for jazz, too ....

In thoughts printed in the program for the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote eloquently on the role that music, and jazz in particular, played in the Civil Rights movement and, more universally, as a "stepping stone" in the universal struggles of modern man to find peace, meaning, love, happiness and faith. On this day on which we celebrate Dr. King's life, I thought I'd share these words:

On the Importance of Jazz

Mlk_podium

God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.

Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.

This is triumphant music!

Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.

It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.

Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.

And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.

In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.

Hat tips to the NextBop and Lubricity blogs who turned me on to this speech in 2011 (the latter updating us to some work by historians showing these words were the festival program and not a speech, since MLK was not at the festival).

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

At the Fringes of jazz in Rochester ... Jazz at the Fringe Festival

jazz at the Fringe image

The  2014 Rochester Fringe Festival, presented by First Niagara Bank, will be hitting the streets and venues across Rochester from September 18-27. In addition to a wide variety of music, dance, performance art, and circus acts, there will be jazz.

While some of of the choices may stretch your definition of jazz (that wouldn't be the first time I do that...), I'm assembling here the music that will be presented during the Fringe below that is at least at the "fringe."

I hope you join me while I get out and stretch my ears a bit:

Thursday, September 18, 2013

Friday, September 19, 2013

Saturday, September 20, 2013

Sunday, September 21, 2013

Monday, September 22, 2013

  • Aaron Staebell Solo Drum Solo @ Bernunzio Uptown Music, 6:30 pm
  • The Peter Torpey Trio @ MuCC, 7:30 pm
  • The STEEL Double Trio @ Bernunzio Uptown Music, 8:00 pm

Tuesday, September 23, 2013

  • PerCepTION @ Java's Cafe, 6:00 pm

Wednesday, September 24, 2013

Friday, September 26, 2013

  • Al Biles and Gen Jam @ The Little Theatre Cafe, 5:30 pm

Saturday, September 27, 2013

  • The Little Vikings @ Geva Theatre Next Stage, 7:30 pm
  • 23 Psaegz @ Bernunzio Uptown Music, 8:00 pm
  • Thunder Body @ Gibbs St. Main Stage, 9:45 pm

Now of course there is much, much more, so check out their site or the Fringe Festival Guide put out by City Newspaper, which you'll find in its recent edition Let me know if I missed anything.  I'll add these to the appropriate dates on the usual Wednesday post as well. 

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

The fringe of jazz? ... Jazz at the Rochester Fringe Festival

jazz at the Fringe image

After a great first year, the 2013 Rochester Fringe Festival, presented by First Niagara Bank, is hitting the streets and venues across Rochester from September 19-28 and in addition to a wide variety of music, dance, performance art, and circus acts, there will be jazz.

Now some of my choices may stretch your definition of jazz (that wouldn't be the first time), but I've tried to assemble the jazz that will be presented during the Fringe below. I hope you join me while I get out and stretch my ears a bit:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

  • 23 Psaegz @ Bernunzio Uptown Music, 9:00 pm

Friday, September 20, 2013

  • Al Biles and Gen Jam @ The Little Theatre Cafe, 6:30 pm
  • 23 Psaegz @ Bernunzio Uptown Music, 9:00 pm

Saturday, September 21, 2013

  • Not Wallace Stevens (Five Just Poets members present a fast-moving hour of original performance poetry backed by Paradigm Shift guitarist Mel Henderson) @ Writers & Books, 2:00 pm added image
  • Al Biles and Gen Jam @ The Little Theatre Cafe, 4:30 pm
  • Grr! @ Bernunzio's Uptown Music, 7:30 pm
  • The Peter Torpey Trio @ Java's Cafe, 7:30 pm
  • Dupre on Krol @ Java's Cafe, 8:30 pm

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

  • Rhythm Tap Rochester with Tap Master Bill Evans and Cheryl Johnson and live jazz by Richard DeLaney @ RAPA's East End Theatre, 5:00 pm added image
  • The Peter Torpey Trio @ Java's Cafe, 7:30 pm

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

  • Dupre on Krol @ Java's Cafe, 5:15 pm
  • Not Wallace Stevens ( five Just Poets members present a fast-moving hour of original performance poetry backed by Paradigm Shift guitarist Mel Henderson) @ Writers & Books, 2:00 pm
  • Al Biles and Gen Jam @ The Little Theatre Cafe, 6:30 pm
  • Michael Burritt & Friends @ Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music, 7:00 pm
  • Bending and Breaking: A collaboration of local composers, musicians and dancers @ Sproull Auditorium, Eastman School of Music, 10:00 pm

Saturday, September 28, 2013

  • Al Biles and Gen Jam @ The Little Theatre Cafe, 12:30 pm
  • Elektri Fusion Band @ The Little Theatre 1, 9:00 pm 

Now of course there is much, much more, so check out their site or the Fringe Festival Guide put out by City Newspaper, which you'll find in its recent edition Let me know if I missed anything.  I'll add these to the appropriate dates on the usual Wednesday post as well. 

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

Live Shots: XRIJF Lineup Announcement ...

Marc Iacona sets out the changes to venues, street closings for the 2012 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival....

John Nugent showing off the grid ... The lineup is killer!

The band Newt doing a wee bit o'jazz for the folks live from Scotland....

Queen Latifah is the last "reveal" headliner on June 23rd...

More later about the lineup for the 11th year of XRIJF and, of course, you can get more info on the lineup at the XRIJF website (and on all of the TV and other news outlets...they're all here).

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

Billy Bang loses a different war...

Billy Bang imageWe were all saddened to learn that jazz violinist Billy Bang, who has appeared in Rochester multiple times over the past years, both at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival and otherwise, has died after fighting lung cancer. Bang was known for his deeply expressive music that mined his experience in combat during the Vietnam War and the exceptional bands and musicianship he brought with him when he appeared here. 

Bang, who was 63, was to perform on the jazz festival’s opening day on June 10th. It would have been his fourth appearance at the RIJF, having performed here in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Festiaval producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona expressed their deep sadness on Bang’s passing. “Billy was extremely well liked in Rochester and had an exceptionally loyal following,” said Nugent. “We were so looking forward to welcoming him back to the festival. His unique artistry and talent will be missed by us and the jazz world. We extend our condolences to his many friends and family. May he rest in peace.” The festival has indicated that an updated schedule to replace Bang's appearance at the Xerox Auditorium this year will be announced soon. There are profiles by Ron Netsky in City and by Jeff Spevak in the D&C.

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

And the countdown to the 10th Anniversary XRIJF begins....

XRIJF logoFor those of you following my Twitter feed or Jazz@Rochester on Facebook (or the post below), you might have seen that I was at the press conference this morning for the 10th Anniversary Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, which will run from June 10-18, 2011. Producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent announced the full lineup, which will be the largest festival to date, with more than 1000 artists performing at 285 concerts and a record 70-plus free concerts. Previously announced headliners are Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Natalie Cole, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones – The Original Lineup, The Fab Faux (a Beatles tribute band), "The Glorious Hodgepodge Show" with the Tangerine Crème Strings & The Hogtown Horns, k.d. lang and The Siss Boom Bang. Today, XRIJF added trumpeter Chris Botti to the headliners. As in the past, the lineup (which you can access on XRIJF's site) has some familiar faces and some new artists. I feel like there are more local jazz artists gracing the Club Pass stages this year. As Nugent always says (and it's even on their t-shirts...) "it's not who you know, it's who you don't know). So, what’s new in 2011? Here's what they told us:

  • Rochester Gas and Electric, has signed on as a new sponsor, and will present a new free concert stage in the RG&E parking lot on the corner of East Avenue and Chestnut Street (now we'll have to go around the parking lot, or possibly get sidetracked...). The stage will feature six free shows with Rochester and regional artists.
  • The East Avenue and Chestnut St. Stage will be resituated on Chestnut street to face south on Chestnut to accommodate more people in the intersection and help with the sound wars that develop with the free stage on Jazz Street.
  • As I posted about awhile back, the Eastman School of Music will offer the five-part course, Introduction to Jazz History, during the Festival. It will be held June 13 – June 17 in Eastman’s newest concert venue, Hatch Hall, during the Festival. Tuition is $180. For information and to register visit the Press Room on the XRIJF site.
  • XRIJF and WXXI-TV are partnering again on a new series of six one-hour programs to be filmed at this year’s Festival and distributed nationally to PBS stations this fall and next year. The concerts to be featured include the performances of Kevin Eubanks, Curtis Stigers, Grace Kelly, Kenny Barron, Regina Carter and the Producer’s Concert.
  • Channel 13 WHAM TV will produce a half-hour prime time special on the Festival celebrating the Festival’s 10th anniversary that will air Thursday May 26 at 8 p.m. Doug Emblidge will host the program, which will also air on Rochester’s CW in a time period yet to be scheduled. 

I will have coverage over the next few months, supplementing what you'll find in other sources and on the XRIJF site.  More on that later.... Hope to see you on Jazz Street in June!

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

Wycliffe Gordon is "Home for the Holidays" to help Commencement Park with some friends

wycliffeWycliffe Gordon, one of the top trombone blowers in jazz is coming “Home for the Holidays”and performing Sunday at a Jazz for the Park concert to benefit the Wilson Commencement Park. He’ll be joined by an all-star quintet that features George Caldwell (piano), Sabu Adeyola (bass), Melvin Henderson (guitar), Sean Jefferson (drums) and Herb Smith (trumpet).

wcp logoProceeds from Jazz for the Park enhance the life-changing programs and services at the Wilson Commencement Park in Rochester. The Park has 50 townhouse and 18 apartments where single-parent families transition from poverty to self-sufficiency. Family support services help adults achieve personal and professional goals, while an accredited early learning center helps children achieve success in school and in life.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at a new venue for JFTP, the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 111 N. Chestnut St. Tickets are $25. Call (585) 263-7938 or go to Jazz for the Park website.

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.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis swings into Rochester on March 22nd

2010 JFTP LogoThe Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is bringing their Portrait in Seven Shades U.S. Tour to Rochester on March 22, 2010, at the Auditorium Theater for the Sixth Annual Jazz for the Park series to benefit Wilson Commencement Park.

Portrait in Seven Shades, composed by JALCO reedman Ted Nash is the Orchestra's first original music in nearly four years. The suite consists of seven movements inspired by masters of modern art, including Chagall, Dali, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Pollack and Van Gogh. Led by Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will perform selections from the suite as well as a repertoire that will include tunes by Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams and others. Here Nash explains the Van Gogh movement.

Tickets are $35, $45, and $75 and can be purchased through Wilson Commencement Park by calling (585) 263-7938. Tickets can also be be purchased directly at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office located at 885 East Main Street (open Monday - Friday from 10 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and on show days from noon to curtain call). Tickets are also available through all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Proceeds from Jazz for the Park enhance the life-changing programs and services at the Wilson Commencement Park in Rochester. The Park has 50 townhouse and 18 apartments where single-parent families transition from poverty to self-sufficiency. Family support services help adults achieve personal and professional goals, while an accredited early learning center helps children achieve success in school and in life.

Join the Jazz for the Park fan page on Facebook to get updates on the concert (and reviews from some of the other stops along the way.

More to check out:


2010 JFTP Logo

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

Don't cloister yourself ... get out to see Monk the Play at Exodus to Jazz

Monk the Play imageJust a quick reminder to check out the play about Thelonius Monk, which will be at Exodus To Jazz on Friday and Saturday, January 29-30, at 8:00 pm in the Riverview Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, 120 Main Street East, Rochester, New York. There's more details on my earlier post about Monk the Play and in Jeff Spevak's article 'Monk' brings jazz legend to life in Rochester in the D&C.
This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

Monk the Play comes WAY off Broadway to Exodus to Jazz

Monk the Play imageExodus To Jazz is doing something different this month. The great jazz series is bringing two performances of the Off-Broadway play Monk-The Play, by acclaimed playwright Laurence Holder and starring Rome Neal, both winners of the Audelco Award for excellence in African-American Theatre, up from NYC to Rochester for performances on January 29th and 30th. Monk is a is one character play exploring the genius and mystery of jazz icon Thelonious Monk. The award-winning production of the play by Neal, Artistic Director of the Nuyorican Poets Café Theatre, has received many great notices in New York, including:

  • "Brilliantly written ... Extraordinary ... Phenomenal" (Amsterdam News)
  • "Intense sense of drama ... Hypnotic mood ...." (The Village Voice)
  • "Brilliant... Exquisite..." (The New York Times)
  • "Witty, soulful and terse ... A tender tribute to a legend." (Newsday )
  • "...with its strong, accomplished writing ... captures the rhythm and feel of the 1940s and '50s jazz scene ... it ranks up there with the best, because it is passionate, powerful and real." (Shout)
  • Here are some more testimonials from YouTube, including from jazz men who knew Monk, after seeing it at the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe Theatre.
There will be a performances, on Friday, Jan. 29th and Saturday, Jan. 30th, 2010. Both shows start at 8:00 pm. The play will be presented in the Riverview Ballroom, Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, 120 Main Street East, Rochester, New York. Reserved Seats are $25; General Admission seats are $20. Students get in for $10. You should be able to purchase tickets at all Wegmans “That’s T.H.E. Ticket” locations soon (start date TBA). Tickets may also be purchased at TicketWeb.com (search for “MONK – The Play”) or by email order to (for reserved Seats only) to Exodustojazz@aol.com. For more information: Call (585) 733-7685 or visit the Exodus to Jazz website.
This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

I'm late to the party, but #jazzlives in Rochester and on Twitter

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. Twitter jazzlives image

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.

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

Come out for Jazz for JOSANA and Habitat for Humanity

On Saturday, July 11th, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, come out and support Flower City Habitat for Humanity's work in rebuilding the JOSANA neighborhood (Jay-Orchard Street Area). You can do that in style and at "the Club" with an afternoon of jazz at Charlie Brown's on the Green at Durand Eastman Golf Club with funky sounds of Paradigm Shift and the Jimmie Highsmith Jr. Group. There also will be all-you-can-eat Southern BBQ buffet, cash bar, and drawings for prizes. Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 at the door, or at the The Bop Shop, Record Archive, Habitat ReStore (755 Culver Rd., Tues-Sat/9-5), by phone at 585.546.1470, x305, or online at Habitat's Paradigm Shift imagesite.Jimmie Highsmith Jr.
This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

Check out 6x6x2009 at RoCo ... One block down from Jazz Street

Add more art to your Jazz Festival experience by dropping in to see the Visual Art Event of the Summer at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center! Over 3.050 artworks submitted from 17 countries, 36 states, and 4 species! All these pieces (which are all 6"X6") are available for only $20! And you will be supporting the programs at Rochester Contemporary Art Center The exhibition runs from June 6th to July 12th at Rochester Contemporary Art Center 137 East Avenue, 1 block east of Jazz Street. There are special Jazz Festival hours:
  • Friday June 19th 1-10pm
  • Saturday June 20th 1-10pm

You can also view and buy works of art online on RoCo's website.

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

Come out and help the Advocacy Center with a night of hot jazz and cool art

Night of Cool Jazz imageThe Advocacy Center is having its its fourth annual "Night of Hot Jazz and Cool Art" on Friday, June 5th from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at the Memorial Art Gallery, featuring the music of trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, my friend saxophonistr Jimmie Highsmith Jr. and Tyler Owens. Jimmie Highsmith Jr.Also appearing will be drummer Kenwood Anderson, pianists Paul Boutte and Dave Spinner, and vocalists Lauren Faggiano and Whitney Marchelle among others. All proceeds will go to benefit The Advocacy Center, which provides services supporting people with disabilities and their families in achieving their goals.Wycliffe Gordon The Advocacy Center does this through information-sharing, individual advocacy support, independent service coordination and educational workshops and helps people with disabilities to to build life-long self-advocacy skills. The presenting sponsor is MVP Care Care.

Tickets for the benefit are $40, raffle tickets are $20. Raffle items include 22" flat screen TV, a Wii system, iPod Touch, a Garmin GPS, and a 9.2 megapixel digital camera. For more information, call voice and TDD: (585) 546-1700, (toll free, N.Y.S. only): (800)-650-4967, or visit the website above.

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

Art Loves Jazz 2009: Come out to support Jazz 90.1 and get your art on

Jazz 90.1 logoFor the fourth year in a row, Rochester's jazz radio station, Jazz90.1 is teaming up with Artisan Works to present Art Loves Jazz on Thursday May 21st from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. in the 60,000 SF Rochester art gallery and event space. They hope to raise funds for Jazz90.1, one of the last remaining 24/7 jazz radio stations in the country. Works from artists from around the world are featured in the ever-changing space. There will be good food, libations (i.e., a cash bar), live jazz by three groups, and a silent auction at which those attending can get some real deals on wonderful art.

Artisan Works logoTickets are available for $30.00 and can be purchased by calling 966-2660, through the Jazz 90.1 website, or through Artisan Works at the ARTISANworks reception desk or by phone at (585) 288-7170.

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.

Bop Arts to start a dialogue on "The Making of a Music Community"

Bop Arts logoThis coming Sunday, March 1st, Tom Kohn, owner of the Bop Shop record store and the nonprofit he created to promote improvised and innovative music in Rochester, Bop Arts Inc. (website coming soon), are taking an ambitious step and have put together a benefit and symposium on "The Making of a Music Community: Perspectives on New Music from Performers and Listeners." Of course, since it is coming from the Bop Shop and Tom, there will be lots of music. "The Making of a Music Community" is intended to be:

[A] reflective and participatory discussion about the meanings and motivation behind our desire to create, perform, support and disseminate new and original music. How did we get here? Why do we do it? And what does it mean to us? Join us for this first Bop Arts symposium and help celebrate and reflect on the creation, growth and re-creation of this musical community. Hear some amazing music, share your thoughts, and join fellow artists and supporters of new and original music.

In fact, while starting this conversation in Rochester is very important, much of this symposium will be about the music itself and to benefit Bop Arts, not discussion. Here's the lineup:

  • 3:00 pm: THE NAZARETH UNIVERSITY JAZZ ENSEMBLE under the direction of PAUL SMOKER
  • 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm: An open panel discussion on New Music from Performers and Listeners.
  • 7:00 pm: KEVIN NORTON'S COUNTERPOINT
  • 8:15 pm: THE ADAM CAINE TRIO

Kevin Norton, percussionist and composer Kevin Norton has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians, from Anthony Braxton and David Krakauer to Milt Hinton and Fred Frith. His compositions are featured on several recordings, both with his own as well as other ensembles. Norton has served on the faculty of several schools including the University of Maryland and is currently on the faculty of William Paterson University. After composing music for a number of projects across a wide spectrum of genres, Norton has turned to a decidedly jazz orchestration. Like trios led by Steve Lacy, Sonny Rollins  or Ornette Coleman he chooses to have a trio with a lead melody instrument with bass and drums (functioning on a higher level of interaction, rather than subordinate accompaniment roles), whichfeatures a new transparency of sound, yet is connected to Norton's other composition work by counterpoint: both emotional and technical.

Adam Caine is a guitarist, improviser and composer. Adam fronts the Adam Caine Trio with Tom Blancarte and John Wagner and the Adam Caine Quartet with Nick Lyons, Adam Lane and John Wagner. Adam also plays in Johnny Butler's Scurvy and Eric Eigner's Mysterium. He grew up in Rochester and studied music at the University of Rochester. Since 2000, Caine has lived in Brooklyn, New York and has played in New York City and throughout the United States with the likes of Connie Crothers, Paul Smoker, Daniel Carter, Ken Filiano, Phil Haynes, Glen Branca, Haale, and the New York Soundpainting Ensemble. As a composer for video art, Adam's music has been featured in over 20 international festivals since 2006.

The Bop Arts symposium will run on Sunday, March 1st from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm in the Bop Shop Atrium. If you attend, please make a donation (any size is welcome) to the Bop Arts Music fund. Give something to keep the innovative music that Tom and Bop Arts brings to Rochester flowing. My experience on Sunday with the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble just emphasizes for me how important it is to support Bop Arts and this music. You could probably drop in and by some CDs or vinyl from the Bop Shop as well....   I'm sure Tom wouldn't mind.

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

Remembering the jazz fallen of 2008...

saxophone imageI don't generally note the passing of jazz greats on a one-by-one basis, choosing instead to note the passing of those who have had a connection to the Rochester area. However, local jazz bassist Fred Stone forwarded this list of 40 who were associated with jazz and died in 2008, as compiled by Stephen D. Harris of Pasadena. As harris notes, it may not be entirely complete (and that is inadvertent), but since it brings it all into one, I thought I'd share it with my readers, some of whom may have known these artists and, perhaps, may not have known of their passing:

  • Gene Allen: baritone saxist, 79
  • Norm Baltazar: trumpeter ('61 Kenton mellophonium orch.), 76
  • Joe Beck: guitarist, 62
  • Mike Beisner: Four Freshmen vocalist-trumpeter (1982-88/90-92), 53
  • Sid Bulkin: drummer, 83
  • Ozzie Cadena: record producer (Savoy label), club manager (Lighthouse), 83
  • Pete Candoli: trumpeter (largely big band lead player), 84
  • Dave Carpenter: bassist, 48
  • Page Cavanaugh: pianist-singer-combo leader, 86
  • Arnie Chycoski: trumpeter (lead with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass), 72
  • William Claxton: photographer, 80
  • Jimmy Cleveland: trombonist, 82
  • Leo Curran: Kenton band (1947-53), 81
  • Bobby Durham: drummer, 71
  • Ray Ellis: tenor saxophonist-arranger-conductor, 85
  • Bill Finegan: pianist/big band comp-arranger, co-leader of Sauter-Finegan Orch., 91
  • Bob Florence: pianist-bandleader-composer-arranger, 75
  • Jimmy Giuffre: tenor saxist-clarinetist-composer, 86
  • Johnny Griffin: tenor saxist, 80
  • Earle Hagen: trombonist-turned composer (largely for TV and movies), 88
  • Connie Haines: big band singer, 87
  • Neal Hefti: big band trumpeter-composer-arranger, 85
  • Freddie Hubbard: trumpeter, 70
  • Peter J. Levinson: author (books on T. Dorsey, H. James, N. Riddle), 74
  • Humphrey Lyttelton: British trumpeter (later radio game show host), 86
  • Teo Macero: record producer (Columbia Records, etc), 82
  • Ronnie Mathews: pianist, 72
  • Jimmy McGriff: blues organist, 72
  • Dave McKenna: pianist, 78
  • Wilfred Middlebrooks: bassist, 74
  • Charlie Ottaviano: jazz club owner (Charlie-O's since 2000), 66
  • Earl Palmer: drummer, 83
  • Gene Puerling: vocal arrranger-leader of the Hi-Lo's & Singers Unlimited quartets, 78
  • Bob Popescu: jazz club owner (Hollywood Catalina Bar & Grill since 1986), 77
  • Ray Reed: alto sax-flute (1965-68 Kenton lead player), 66
  • Joe Romano: alto-tenor sax/flute, 76
  • Jo Stafford: big band-pop singer, 90
  • Phil Urso: tenor sax, 82
  • Gerald Wiggins: pianist, 86
  • Lee Young: drummer, 94

Feel free to add others you may know of who were omitted in the comments.

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

Aaron Goldberg Trio holds down at the first "Jazz Day at SUNY Brockport"

Aaron Goldberg at pianoThe jazz does not just happen here in the city. It's all around us. Heads up that the New York City jazz artist Aaron Goldberg and the Aaron Goldberg Trio will be in residency during "Jazz Day" at SUNY Brockport on Friday, February 6th. The day-long event includes a symposium, “Jazz and its Evolution,” a master class for area jazz musicians of all skill levels, and a cocktail reception. The celebration of jazz will be capped by a concert by the Trio at The College's Tower Fine Arts Center Mainstage at 7:30 pm that evening. The Tower Fine Arts Center is located at 180 Holley Street in Brockport, NY.

Inspired by the rhythms of Brazil and Portugal, Goldberg is a rising star in the new generation of jazz artists. After attending the Berklee School of Music, Goldberg moved to New York City, where he has worked and studied with Betty Carter, Joshua Redman and Wynton Marsalis, among others. Marsalis has said that Goldberg is "a modern improviser of great clarity, finesse and dexterity.” Goldberg debuted as a bandleader and composer with the recording, Turning Point. About his most recent recording, Worlds, the Boston Globe raved “it's a gorgeous session that makes a compelling case for Goldberg's ensemble as one of the era's definitive piano trios.” There is more on the Trio's MySpace page.

This inaugural Jazz Day at SUNY Brockport is sponsored by the Marc and Ann Iacona Family. Iacona, President of Simcona Electronics Corporation, a Rochester-based company, is also the executive producer of the Rochester International Jazz Festival. Iacona believes that “music education is critical to understanding the intricacies and nuances of jazz. Musicians and non-musicians alike can develop a passion and deeper appreciation for what they’re hearing through music education.” His generosity has transformed Jazz Day from an idea to a projected three-year commitment. Jazz Day is also supported by the Brockport Foundation. Events surrounding Jazz Day on the Brockport campus include:

  • 10:45–11:45 am: Symposium: “Jazz and its Evolution” at Edwards Hall, Room 100/“Blue Room” (free & open to the public).
  • 4:00–5:00 pm: Master Class in the Tower Fine Arts Center/Lobby (free & open to the public).
  • 6:00–7:00 pm: Cocktail reception in Edwards Hall Lobby (Ticket required). The reception will feature an open wine bar and hearty hors d’oeuvres, including several new gustatory creations from the kitchens of Garnishes Catering. Edwards Hall is located across Holley Street from Tower Fine Arts Center.
  • 7:30–9:00 pm: Aaron Goldberg Trio in Concert at Tower Fine Arts Center/Mainstage (Ticket required).

The symposium and master class are free and open to the public, and will be moderated by Goldberg. Tickets for the concert are $12/General, $10/Seniors, College at Brockport Faculty and Staff and $8/Students. A combination pass that includes entrance to the reception and the concert is priced at $25 and is available by phone at (585) 395-ARTS or at the Tower Fine Arts Center Box Office. Tickets for the concert itself can also be obtained at all Rochester area Wegmans markets.

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

Music entrepreneur Maria Schneider brings more than her Orchestra back to Eastman

Maria Schneider conductingAs you can see from my live shot from Friday night, I had the opportunity to catch the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra at Eastman Theater. As I have had little exposure to Schneider's music, the concert was an introduction for me to the lush and intricate soundscapes that she and her all-star jazz orchestra create. All the better that it was live and in the expansive space of the Eastman Theater (although at times that space also detracted from it).  My jazz listening has for the most part focused on smaller groups, trios, quartets, rarely going much over the sextet range except for the great local high school bands and occasional larger ensembles at the Rochester International Jazz Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival when I lived there.  Schneider's group of 18 musicians, many of whom she's been working since the early 1990s, took solos that repeatedly sent chills down my spine, but when they came together as a group they seemed like one organism and again with the spine.  Music that does that to me does not come around often. 

What I didn't mention in my brief note was that the next day I was also going to catch Ms. Schneider in a much different context. Schneider, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, came "home" to Rochester help the Institute for Music Leadership (IML) at the Eastman School of Music—which was formed in 2001 to help the music school's students, alumni, and professional musicians with providing education and tools to become leaders in the music industry and shape the musical and cultural future—by serving as a centerpiece to its 3-day workshop "Preparing the Generation E Musician: The Place of Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Music School Curriculum."  The workshop, which finished up yesterday, brought the leaders of nearly 50 higher education music schools together to brainstorm incorporating entrepreneurship into their curriculum and help their students become involved in creating that future and a rewarding career in what they love.  Schneider's concert on Friday, which was co-sponsored by the Rochester International Jazz Festival, was a part of that workshop.  As using the Internet and other new media tools to build the future of music promotion and culture is one area in which I'm intensely interested (this blog being one facet of that interest), after inquiring I was also given an opportunity to attend the Saturday session of the workshop by Ramon Ricker, Eastman's Senior Associate Dean for Professional Studies, Professor of Saxophone and Director of the Institute for Music Leadership. Schneider was the keynote that morning to tell her story and field questions from the attendees.

Schneider is like a poster child for the type of musician that the IML is trying to build and support. She has built a richly rewarding career, both in critical acclaim and in more worldly ways, through forging a different path and utilizing the Internet.  After arriving in New York City in 1985 after graduating from Eastman, she worked as a music copyist and studied with Bob Brookmeyer and through luck and her talent became an assistant to her compositional idol Gil Evans.  In those times she did a lot of writing for others, trying to write in their voice. This lead her to start the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra in 1993 to find her own. The group did five years of weekly gigs at a place called Visiones in Greenwich Village, gigs at which she often made less than the cab fare it took to get her there and back and for which her band members were paid just a bit more than she was.  But it was her music and, little did she realize at the time, she was building an audience that would help her launch her career in a different direction later. She received Grammy Award nominations in each of her first three albums, Evanescence, Coming About, and Allegresse. After realizing how the record company (and the industry as a whole) keep artists in a more or less share-cropping situation (my thought, not her words...), Schneider went a different direction after being approached by her friend Brian Camelio about an idea he had, which became the ArtistShare site. The one thing about an music recording that cannot be fileshared (and this was the big thing in the recording industry at the time of ArtistShare's creation) is the creative process itself.  ArtistShare takes an innovative approach using the Internet that allows an artist's fans to show appreciation by funding their recording projects in exchange for access to that process. As you increase your participation in the project (i.e., by paying more) you have more access to the artist, from just prepaying for the CD or download to being an "Executive Producer" on some projects, which gets you into the recording session itself, credit on the liner notes, face time with the artist, and other perks. It's sort of crowdsourcing the funding and production of a recording or other project through the fans of the artist. The resulting recording project is sold only through ArtistShare on the Internet. This is where the fan base that Maria had built in the five years of low-paying gigs at Visiones paid off.  In 2005, Schneider released her first album through ArtistShare Concert in the Garden, which one the 2005 Grammy for Best Large Ensemble Album and became the first Grammy award winner with Internet-only sales.  That album also wone the Jazz Album of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association and the Downbeat Critics Poll.  Her most recent ArtistShare project, Sky Blue, was released in 2007 and nominated for two Grammy's, winning one for Best Instrumental Composition for the piece Cerulean Skies (which she ended her concert here with).

In telling her story and in interplay with the audience at the workshop, Maria Schneider showed how passionate she is about her music and about how students entering the "real world" can follow their passion and not starve.  Given her life story and success, I thought a lot of what Schneider was worth capturing and sharing with my readers, many of whom are musicians or interested in the music scene as more than just casual listeners. I took a few random notes as she spoke and thought I'd set them out below (these paraphrase what she said; they are not quotes as I'm a notoriously slow note taker):

  • In writing their music, artists often underestimate the size of their potential audience, thinking that no one will want to listen to what they are passionate about, and try to write for the masses to be more likely to make sales or get a record deal. When they go out and perform before the audience for that music written "for the masses" and play their own stuff, that audience leave them.  It's better to go with what your passionate about and build your audience for that, sometimes slowly.
  • Artists often take the attitude that being "popular" equates with "less than" and that they are destined to toil in obscurity to keep their art pure. That leaves artists open to exploitation by the business world. 
  • Schneider insists that it's not about manipulating one's art to make money, but having an attitude that what you do has value. Artists are smart enough to be doing what they love and have to realize that they deserve to get paid adequately to do it. 
  • There are many ways that musicians can use their talent that has value. A friend and former classmate of Schneider's who teaches preschool kids music in innovative ways uses her training and is valuable as much as Yo-Yo Ma.
  • The music industry and its business model is crumbling. Now is the time to for students, music faculty, and professional musicians to get involved in how that industry will change and place their interests and those of their listeners at the front of it.
  • The music itself is isn't enough anymore. Fans and listeners need a connection with the artists and their stories. This is why Schneider at concerts, including Friday's appearance, often explains what was going through her mind or explains the images invoked as she conceived of and wrote a piece. It is also why sharing the creative process is at the core of the success of ArtistShare. 

Schneider talked about a lot of this with WXXI's Bob Smith a few months ago on his 1370 Connection, currently available through the IML's site.

Following her presentation, I stuck around while a number of groups of students and faculty, who had been brainstorming during the previous day presented a series of "rocket pitches" to the audience and a panel of judges describing different ways to bring entrepreneurship to their schools. While they were still not completely ready for prime time, each of the proposed ideas had one or more kernels that could be viable in bringing an entrepreneurial spirit into the music schools and students, and some even to make a few dollars.

By the way Maria, I think the person you mentioned but couldn't remember the name of when talking about musicians building their own "tribes" to support their art may be Seth Godin....

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.

Is the music always greener on the other side? Rod Blumenau and RIT's Performing Artists Concert Series shows us how to recycle music on January 9th

Rod Blumenau imageOn Friday January 9th at 8:00 pm, RIT's Performing Arts Concert Series will be presenting Music Recycling 101, which integrates amusing commentary with talented performance by the Rod Blumenau Quartet. Rod will be showing in an entertaining way how familiar music has been "recycled" to reappear in new forms. Assisted by bassist Jeff Campbell, Gabe Condon on guitar, violin and vocals, and Brad Paxton on percussion, Professor Blumenau will demonstrate how classical themes have been used as the basis of pop and jazz tunes and how the chord structures of pop music have been used to create new jazz compositions, to disprove the common notion that a musician can only play one style of music well. Among the composers whose tunes will be featured are Fred Chopin, Mo Ravel, Al Borodin, Lou Beethoven, Thelonius Monk, George Gershwin, Billy Joel, and many others.

The recycling will be presented at the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Campus Life, Ingle Auditorium in the Student Alumni Union. Tickets are $6 (students), $15 (faculty/staff/alumni), and $20 for the rest of us, and may be purchased at the RIT Student Alumni Union Candy Counter or at the door on concert night, if available. For VISA or Master Card phone orders, call the RIT Field House Box Office at (585) 475-4121 after September 12th. You can find erformer bios, relevant web links, parking information, and a campus map are posted at the Series web site or by contacting David Perlman at (585)381-3543, or via email.

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

Grammy winning Maria Schneider coming home to Eastman in January

Wanted to makes sure you all knew (there's been some ads, etc., but it can't help to repeat) that world-renowned composer,band leader and multiple Grammy Award winner Maria Schneider will be bringing her 18-piece jazz orchestra to the Eastman Theater on Friday January 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm.

Rochester International Jazz Festival producers Maria Schneider RIJF/ESM January 23, 2009John Nugent & Marc Iacona are teaming up with the Eastman School of Music's Ray Ricker and the Institute for Music Leadership at ESM to present Maria Schneider in a grand “homecoming” to Eastman. The acclaimed jazz composer graduated from Eastman in the mid 1980’s. RIJF has created the RIJF-ESM jazz scholarship program seven years ago with the intention to help deserving student’s education costs. Ricker notes that on January 22-24, 2009 ESM is

...bringing together music school leaders from around the country to take part in a workshop entitled, Preparing the Generation-E Musician: The Place of Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Music School Curriculum. Who wants to talk about entrepreneurship all day! We need music, and what a perfect fit for us to present Maria. She epitomizes today’s entrepreneurial musician. You can’t argue with two Grammy-winning recordings achieved with internet only sales!

Ricker's last comment is from Schneider's innovative creative process in which she has eschewed the major labels and raised funds for composing and producing CDs from her fans through ArtistShare and then sold the resulting acclaimed CDs on the Internet only. Schneider was one of the first artists to use ArtistShare. Her most recent album, Sky Blue, also done through ArtistShare won Jazz album of the year in this year's Downbeat Critics poll. The Maria Schneider Orchestra also received Best Big Band and Maria was named Composer of the year and Arranger of the year in that poll. A piece on that album Cerulean Skies was awarded a Best Instrumental Composition Grammy in 2008.

Tickets are $40, $30 and $20 (plus service charges) and are on sale at the RPO Box Office at East Ave & Gibbs St. (next door to the ECMS), online at RPO.org, at all area Wegmans Stores and through Charge by Phone at 585-454-2100. All University of Rochester students get a 15% ticket discounts; just show your ID. In addition, since the Rochester International Jazz Festival is also behind this performance,its e-news emails have also included a sweetener. If you've purchased an RIJF 2009 Club Pass Series ticket, just take your ticket or a copy of the email we sent you showing proof of purchase to the RPO Box Office on East Ave. and you'll get 15% off tickets in any section for Maria's show (limit 1 per Club Pass).

Added imageCheck out Anna Reguero's article in the D&C, Eastman School of Music grad Maria Schneider jazzes up her musicianship with a keen business sense.

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

Baby needs a new pair of headphones . . . Support jazz radio in Rochester by pledging to Jazz 90.1

Jazz 90.1 logo Local public radio station Jazz 90.1 has kicked off its Fall 2008 membership campaign to support jazz radio. Jazz90.1 receives no funding from the Greece Central School District, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the state or federal government. Therefore, the station has to come to the jazz listeners in Rochester periodically to help raise their operating budget and get through the year. And no. . . they probably won't spend it on headphones....

Consider supporting Jazz90.1 with a donation at any level. They've eve  got "thank you" gifts (and they aren't those tote bags either).To make a pledge of support, call 585.966.5299, toll free to 1.800.790.0415, or you can pledge securely by clicking here.

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

Do the sip and swing thing ... Wine, jazz and a bit of support for our local jazz radio

Jazz 90.1 logoLocal jazz radio station Jazz90.1 had so much fun last year that they're doing it again. The second annual Evening of Wine and Jazz is being held 7:00 to 10:00 pm on Thursday, September 18th at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. This gala fundraising event features wine and beer tasting, live jazz from the Bob Sneider Trio and Paradigm Shift Trio, plus some great food, a silent auction, a chocolate fountain and tasting, a Jazz90.1 tasting glass (for the wine, not the chocolate), and much more. Tickets are only $25.00 per person, and can be purchased securely online or by calling 585.966.2660.

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

As the summer of music continues, Bop Fest 2 will be hitting Village Gate July 19-20

Bop Shop logoBop Shop owner Tom Kohn is a friend of jazz in Rochester—from having the best collection of jazz music for sale (on CD AND vinyl) in town) to forming Bop Arts, Inc. to showcase some incredible jazz and other musicians from around the world—so when he has an event I'm going to let you know, even if there's no jazz involved (then again it is all roots music, isn't it). On July 19-20, Tom and the Bop Shop will host it’s second summer music festival Bop Fest 2, which is in the courtyard of The Village Gate at 274 N. Goodman St., located in the heart of the Neighborhood of the Arts. The event is being presented by the fine restaurants and retailers of the Village Gate and is free.

Tom is hoping that this annual event is soon to become one of the northeast’s major destinations for American roots music. The talent performing this year is without question some of the best there is, including:

  • Headlining Saturday’s festivities will be the Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods Bill Kirchen at 6:00pm,  preceded by Nashville legend David Olney at 4:30pm. Starting off the first day’s festivities will be two of our finer local bands, Krypton 88,  who will kick off the show at 2:00pm, followed by The Alpine Black at 3:15pm.
  • Sunday will find The Asylum Street Spankers in the house at 4:00pm and warming up for the Spankers at 2:00pm will be Todd Kraz and The Varnish Cooks at 3:00pm.

Check out these great bands online and come on out July 19-20 to join in on the festivities! Come out and support Bop Shop and support what Tom does for jazz year round.

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

Jazz on (and in) film . . . at a discount from Jazz 90.1 and the Dryden Theatre at Eastman House

Admit One TicketJazz90.1 members (i.e., those of us who forked over a donation in the past year and have a MemberCard) can enjoy some great jazz in and on films this weekend in "A Prelude to the Jazz Festival" at the Eastman House's Dryden Theatre at a discount.  The films are being  presented with support from the Rochester International Jazz Festival.  The films will include:

  • Friday, June 6th at 8:00 pm: The Silent Partner (Elliot Gould & Christopher Plummer) with a score by Oscar Peterson.
  • Saturday, June 7th at 8:00 pm: Let's Get Lost (biopic on Chet Baker).
  • Sunday, June 8th at 7:00 pm: Elevator to the Gallows (Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet) with a score by Miles Davis, preceded Jammin with the Blues (Lester Young, Illinois Jacquet, Jo Jones, and other jazz greats).

Jazz 90.1 members will be admitted at the museum member price of $4 each. Just show your current MemberCard at the box office to receive the discount. (Actually, Jazz90.1 members can now enjoy Dryden Theatre movies at the discount price of $4 all year around). 

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

Get your Lyrical Groove on with poetry and smooth jazz

 Looking for something to do after the Memorial Day picnic?  Like poetry slams with some jazz thrown in?  Lucreations and the Downstairs Cabaret Theater are presenting "Lyrical Grooves" tomorrow, May 26th at 8pm.  Come on out and hear the spoken thoughts and the stimulating poetic melodies of some of Upstate NY's best poets, accompanied by saxophonist Jimmie Highsmith, Jr., drummer Tony Hiler and members of the band Black August. Featured poets include from CSWA (Culture Starts with Art!) Diane Conway and Lu Highsmith, BASICS from Lucreations, and special guest poet from NYC Renair Amin. Artist Shawn Dunwoody work will be on display as well.

Doors open at 7pm.  Tickets are $20.00 in advance by calling (585) 325-4370 with a credit card now, or $25.00 at the door at Downstairs Cabaret, 20 Windsor St in downtown Rochester, NY.

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

See a lotta art, hear a lotta jazz . . . Jazz 90.1 Art Loves Jazz fundraiser

Our local 24-hour jazz station, Jazz90.1 (WGMC) and the nonprofit Artisan Works will be presenting the 3d annual Art Loves Jazz gala fundraising event to benefit Jazz90.1 on Thursday, May 15th 2008,  from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at Artisan Works, located at 565 Blossom Road in Rochester.

Jazz 90.1The event features a live art auction, silent auctions, live jazz in several locations, great food, and access to Artisan Works' 40,000-square-foot gallery space with art from around the world. Jazz90.1 must raise its annual operating budget through a series of membership campaigns and fundraising events.

Tickets to Art Loves Jazz 2008 are $30 each and are on sale now. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (585) 966-2660 or purchase tickets online at www.jazz901.org.

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

A night of hot jazz and cool art . . . all for a good cause

Advocacy Center LogoThe Advocacy Center is having its third annual "Night of Hot Jazz and Cool Art" this Friday, May 9th from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at the Memorial Art Gallery, with music by Wycliffe Gordon, Jimmie Highsmith Jr. and Tyler Owens with Filthy Funk, Kenwood Anderson and Paul Boutté. There will also be a silent auction of artwork, pre-bidding will be accepted on works donated by John Lenhard (see the website). The presenting sponsor is Preferred Care.Jimmie Highsmith Jr.

Tickets to the benefit are $40. All proceeds to benefit The Advocacy Center, which provides services supporting people with disabilities and their families in achieving their goals.Wycliffe Gordon The Advocacy Center does this through information-sharing, individual advocacy support, independent service coordination and educational workshops and helps people with disabilities to to build life-long self-advocacy skills.

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

What's on the radio? In June, jazz.... and the JazzWeek Summit

I was at the Future of Music Coalition presentation this evening and was reminded of something that I've meant to do for a long time—find out more about a local jazz media institution that I've known about for awhile but have yet to connect to.  JazzWeek is a weekly report of the top fifty Jazz and Smooth Jazz recordings played on radio stations across the United States and Canada and is located right here in Rochester.  After some financial issues that resulted in missing 2007, they've recently regrouped and are retooling and again will be holding a JazzWeek Summit here in Rochester at the end of the Rochester International Jazz Festival from June 19-21st at the Clarion Riverside Hotel.

One of JazzWeek’s missions is to provide a conduit for radio, retail, and the rest of the industry to work together.  Part of that effort is the Summit, which is intended for radio station program and music directors, representatives of major and independent music labels, jazz artists, and journalists. They try to get all of these disparate groups together to discuss the issues facing them in promoting jazz and smooth jazz music. One of the things I learned at the FMC event tonight is how much people can learn from each other when they get together to explore something they're passionate about (heck, I learned about some things tonight that surprised me and, most importantly, learned something about what musicians—on whom the FMC event was focused—are seeking to learn).

Check out the JazzWeek website for the Summit and, if you're interested in promoting jazz or yourself as a jazz artist, think about attending the conference.

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.

Pledge early, pledge often, pledge now . . . Jazz 90.1 needs your support!

Jazz 90.1, our local jazz radio station (and one of the few left in the country), is going to start its Spring 2008 Membership Campaign on March 12th. I'm going to pony up, so please show your supportand help them reach their goal of $50,000 for the drive, which will be running from the 12th until the goal is met. The station relies on your support to stay on the air. All donations are tax deductible.WGMC 90.1 logo

If you make your online donation to Jazz90.1 between now (actually it was last Wednesday, but I just saw the email) and Wednesday March 12th at 6:00 am, you can get a special bonus CD or DVD from the Jazz 90.1 prize closet in addition to the thank you gifts they are making available at each level. Those interested can also make pledges by calling (585) 966-5299, 1-800-790-0415, or pledge securely on line at www.jazz901.org, where you can listen live any time, anywhere.

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.