Now that I've had a bit of time to recover and let it sink in, I thought I'd write one or two posts to unpack my experience this year at the 10th Rochester International Jazz Festival and, hopefully, start a conversation amongst you my readers (I'll join in as well...).
One of the questions that people who met during the XRIJF—friends, "jazz fest friends," people you met in line, readers of this blog—was "who has been your favorites so far?" While the question for me is a bit harder as I managed to get to about 32 different Club Pass and other sets during the jazz festival, there were quite a few standouts:
- Bill Charlap Trio
- Matt Wilson Trio
- Ensemble Denada
- Kenny Barron Trio (and his drummer Johnathan Blake)
- The Jazz Passengers
- In The Country
- Soweto Kinch
The above are not in any order (can't rank them as they are all so different and, in many ways, that would be comparing apples and oranges)
Of course, there were regrets. After hearing about it from a number of you, I wish I had been able to get Tia Fuller. I wish I could have fit in Regina Carter, Marcus Strickland,the Rodriguez Brothers, Davell Crawford. Finally, while I've explained why I do it, I still regret not seeing the performances of local artists throughout the festival. In some cases, it was not for want of trying, like the success of local bassist and vocalist Katie Ernst's first set, which made it next to impossible for me to get into the second.
This year at the Xerox Rochester international Jazz Festival was a year of discovery, of regrets, and of reaffirmations on why I go through the grueling marathon that is the nine days of the XRIJF (at least when you approach it as I do). However, I (publicly) promised that this year I would take it a little easier than I have in the past and, for the most part, I fulfilled that promise and had a much more relaxing time, listening to the music and people surrounding me, rather than focusing on "covering" the festival. I left my phone in my pocket and my iPad in my "gig bag" during sets and tried to focus on why I was there (OK, I took them out a few times before you start commenting "Liar! I saw you with it out at several gigs!" but tried to do that only when there was something being said or played from the stage that should get a wider audience or recorded in some way). At the end of the fest I was satisfied.... and begin the wait for next year.
So, who were your favorites? What regrets? Click on the comment link at the end of this post, follow the directions, and let us know. Or you can add your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook, if you prefer.
Next up, some thoughts on what the success of the XRIJF means for the future....