As I start preparing to go down to Gibbs Street for the final day of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, I'm thinking back to last night as a study in contrast. I started out in Kilbourn Hall with the ethereal mastery of the Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet, with a stellar band including a second helping of Eric Revis on bass, Aaron Parks on piano, and Alan Mednard on drums. Not too familiar yet with Rosenwinkel, I found his use of a headset mike to channel vocalizations through his guitar added to the music. It was understated, not cheesy in the Frampton "do you feel like I do" way. Not all of the songs were in the ethereal vein, especially A Shifting Design driven by Revis and Mednard.
I thought about hitting the Yellowjackets next, but while walking toward Harro East and the Lutheran Church decided instead to go in there and hear the Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra with Ingrid Jensen. You ask why they were at the Nordic Jazz Now series? Saxophonist, composer and arranger Christine Jensen and her sister and trumpeter Ingrid are both born Canadians (Christine based in Montreal; Ingrid in New York), but Christine has been associated with a Swedish composer arranger and the group Nordic Connect and, based on the their name, may have some Nordic roots. Close enough for me. Christine brought a 19-piece orchestra of Canadian musicians for the Rochester gigs and that large ensemble sound was great in this great sound space of the the Lutheran Church. It was great hearing this orchestra play Dancing Sunlight,a cut I've had in my library since its release in 2010. Glad I was diverted (sorry Yellowjackets, although I'm sure you'll survive my absence....).
After getting some grub and a beverage, I headed over to the Montage for something completely different... Ikebe Shakedown. They play music that is full of funk and Afro-beat influences and last night it was LOUD. There were bass riffs played where I actually felt air hitting my face and felt the pressure in my chest (hoped it would loosen up the phlegm that has been filling my head due to allergies). I grew up in the seventies so my hearing is already compromised.... This band will great at the outdoor stage on Chestnut and East at 5:00 pm.