27 posts categorized "XRIJF 2011" Feed

Unpacking the XRIJF . . . some thoughts, favorites & regrets

gvb imageNow 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: 

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....

 

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

Tailgating and the XRIJF endgame...Day 9 of the festival

I have a friend that lives near the festival site and met there with some friends on the last day to have a short tailgate party before heading out for our final evening of music. While we may start earlier, this may become a tradition that continues on the last day of the XRIJF... I like that. I left the tailgate (well, we were more on the stoop of my friend's apartment building, although we were in a parking lot, the cars were mostly parked elsewhere) and realized I should have left a bit earlier when I came upon the line for Regina Carter at Kilbourn Hall—my first choice for the evening. While I knew I would get in, I just didn't want to stand on Swan Street for two hours, so I headed up the alley to Gibbs and, eventually, got into the line for Jonas Kulhammar's first set at Max. While I regret not having the opportunity to hear Carter's Reverse Threads project with her take on integrating African music, seemed like a good choice as I wasn't sure I'd be able to hear other things and get into the late Kulhammar set.

flickr image Kulhammar poured on the charm and dry wit he's known for, fawning over us with his love of Rochester ("I'll have to spend millions on therapy if we're not invited again...") and its festival, producers, etc. I think he's actually sincere as this city has given him a lot of love over his 3 visits to the RIJF, plus he gets to "see his friends here and have lunch, dinner and breakfast at Dinosaur BBQ". While a comedian between the pieces in the set, Kullhammar's all business when it comes to playing. He and his band are tight, a testament to the 13 years they've been together. I've previously heard Jonas Kullhammar in the larger settings of the Xerox Auditorium and the Reformation Church, so getting a chance to hear their set in the more intimate environs of Max at Eastman Place was a treat. It was a great post-bop set with the chemistry of this band creating a whole that was more than the sum of its parts. For us first setters, Kullhammar left us with a final thought, telling us "I have bad new and good news ... The good news is that we're playing again at 10:00 pm ... the bad is that we've saved all the good ones for that set."

Wandered around a bit, listened to the Po'Boys Brass Band blowing down the crowd on Gibbs Street and catching a bit of The Budos Band, before taking the long route over to Montage (as I had done on Friday) to avoid the .38 Special crowd to catch my last show of the 2011 XRIJF—Ben Allison 3. I believe Allison was brought in to replace Supersilent and it was a great choice for the end of the festival for me. A trio with Allison's bass, backed by Steve Cardenas on guitar and Shane Endsley on trumpet, their set at 10:00 pm was mellow and quirky. The mellow I like at the end of the festival as...damn...I'm exhausted; quirky is just the way I roll with music. The sound was sort of like a Bill Frisell set with the focus on the bass, on which Allison is a monster.

Sated, happy, with a lot of great music from the past nine days dancing around in my head (and a few in my CD changer), I was somewhat happy that my friends had decided not to do the after hours scene, either at Rochester Plaza or Abilene. While I would have loved to catch the John Nugent/Jonas Kullhammar sax duel at the hotel after hours, but I was ready to put the toe tag on it. 

More over the next few days and, of course, my usual coverage of live jazz in Rochester. 

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

Making my way through Day 8 of the Rochester International Jazz Festival

XRIJF imageThe Kenny Barron Trio brought the hall down at Kilbourn during the first set with a mixture of standards and his own compositions. In addition to bassist Kiyoshi Kitagowa, Barron completed his trio with drummer Johnathan Blake, who I've seen perform here before with Joe Locke in 2008, and more recently at Exodus to Jazz with pianist Lynne Arriale and bassist Omer Avital. Ranging from standard trio fare to calypso and a Eubie Blake solo piano number, Barron showed his mastery of his instrument and his good choices in bandmates. Drummer Blake played such a monster solo that those who were still breathing rose and gave him a standing O. I especially enjoyed the fast paced New York Attitude, which the group romper through at an incredible clip. 

Again, a deeper rut was carved in the path to the Reformation Lutheran Church, where I grossed next to catch the project of former E.S.T. Bassist Dan Berglund—Tonbruket—a Swedish word for "workshop." Although Berglund had been to a prior Rochester jazz festival with E.S.T., like many of the bands that grace the Church's stage, this was the first U.S. appearance for his new project. Berguland formed Tonbruket after the death of E.S.T.'s pianist Esbjørn Svensson in a scuba diving accident in 2008, with Martin Hederos on keyboards and violin, Johan Lindstrom on guitar and pedal-steel guitar, and Andreas Werliin on percussion. Lindstrom's pedal steel was probably the first of those instruments to be found on the stage at the Church, but he was not using it to get that country twang, but rather a haunting effect. The music was genré-less, moving from the ethereal, electronically-enhanced ruminations that are a common sound in the Nordic Jazz Now series, through anthemic rock, to an almost surf sound at times. The audience stayed in their seats and enthusiastically greeted Tonbruket in the first set. Another fine example of these artists pushing boundaries into new, and very satisfying, spaces.  

After a quick stop to listen to Elvis Costello near the beginning of a three hour set in Kodak Hall of Eastman Theatre, I made my way through the crowd on Gibbs and those listening to Trombone Shorty to the Montage (well, I went around through the walkway near Christ Church rather than try to move through the crowd itself), I sat down in a nearly empty Montage. While waiting for the last set of In The Country, I worked on this post and watched the XRIJF twitter stream for a bit.  In the Country hails from Norway (the Nordic Jazz Now series is popular enough that its artists sometimes come back to new venues) and is a piano trio with Morten Qvenild, bass player Roger Arntzen and drummer Pål Hausken. Some may remember them from last year and from the "torch fishing" story that Qvenild tells (fishing at night with flashlights and banging the temporarily light stunned and spawning trout  on the head with a handy object to catch them). In The Country music seems, well, connected to the country, the landscape around Oslo and the wildlife that inhabits it (Qvenild indicated that there is a beaver dam outside his apartment window) in their piece Beaver Creek, which had an almost gospel sound to it. It would rise and fall from introspective murmurs to a forceful torrent of sound, driven by Qvenild's piano. The chord changes in some of the songs in their set moved in odd ways, but they were oddly compelling. I then headed over to the Rochester Plaza hotel and spent a bit of time with some friends at the after-hours last night, which was pretty subdued for the penultimate night of the festival (albeit, I didn't stay to the bitter end).

We move on to the last night of the festival (is it over already?). We start out with violin of Regina Carter in Kilbourn Hall (this festival is one where I've started in Kilbourn almost every night... has been unusual in recent years). I'll then try to catch some of the Po'Boys Brass Band and the Budos Band. I decided to try to catch Jonas Kulhammar in the more intimate setting of Max to end out the festival this year. Now the lines and Kulhammar's popularity at the festival may throw these plans into some disarray, but I'm not worried. I've had a great 2011 XRIJF and heard more than enough good music to be sated.

Hope to see you on "Jazz Street"....

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

Keeping it light, at least until tonight ... Day 7 at the XRIJF

Started the evening out with the third Rochester Jazz Festival appearance of Bill Frisell. Here with his "Beautiful Dreamers" project with Rudy Royston on drums and Eyvind Kang on violin viola, Frisell was what I always expect when I hear Bill Frisell ... unexpected.  The opening number of the first set "began" when I noticed that Frisell and Kang's "tuning" was beginning to develop a pattern. The group then layered and developed these patterns further. He was mining a lot of sources as the set list that Frisell shared with Jeff Spevak (which was published in the mobile version of Jeff Spevak's article Bill Frisell experiments with the wild sidebut didn't make the final article) shows: (1) "Nobody's Fault But Mine," Blind Willie Johnson; (2) Untitled, Frisell; (3) "Subconscious-Lee," Lee Konitz; (4) "St. Louis Blues," W.C. Handy; (5) "Keep on the Sunny Side," The Carter Family; (6) "Baba Drame," Boubacar Traoré; and Encore: "Benny's Bugle," Benny Goodman, the Charlie Christian version.

XRIJF image

I then took the now well-worn path from Kilbourn Hall to the Reformation Church to catch ECM artists KUÀRA, which is Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari and pianist Samuli Mikkonen, with Norwegian trumpeter & singer Per Jørgensen. This bass-less trio created beautiful, complex and sometimes challenging sounds in that space as they explored the folk music of an obscure area of Finland and Russian psalms found on their new disc. It was one of those concerts where the audience does not have a point to express their appreciation and, sometimes, expresses it at odd times not knowing whether the artists are done or not. Jørgensen played trumpet, hand drum and sang, ranging from the low drone of throat singing to beautiful vocalizing of the unknown tongue of the residents of that area.

Floated around after that, catching a couple of songs by k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang band in Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre and a bit of the Slavic Soul Party.  Tonight, it's Kenny Barron in Kilbourn, Tonbruket at the Reformation Church (again that well-worn path) and closing out with In the Country at Montage, with the interspersed time undecided. After hours... maybe... 

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

Day 6 was light ... Now we head into the final stretch of XRIJF

XRIJF imageDue to an early presentation at work this morning, I played an adult on the Internet and limiting myself to one Club Pass gig last night—Greg Burk's Many Worlds. While I was not surprised given my research, by the thinning of the audience over their first set, I expect many were. There are sometimes people or groups at the festival who serve as talismans for me that I'm ini store for something different, sometimes challenging, often a great find. That group was at this gig... I enjoyed it.

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

Short, but sweet... Day Five of the Rochester International Jazz Festival

I'm focusing on being a responsible adult (for a couple of days at least) and Tuesday (and today) I am limiting my schedule at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. That doesn't mean you have to, so go jazz amongst yourselves...On Tuesday, I managed to get out to hear a few things.

Started out with The Trio of Oz with Rachel Z and Omar Hakim, joined by bassist Solomon Dorsey (usually, the Ozzies gig with Maeve Royce, but Dorsey was more than up for the task). The Oz's thing is to take the rock music—the music of bands like Coldplay, Stone Temple Pilots, New Order, Alice In Chains—and transform the underlying song into a multilayered post-bop jazz exploration. I use the word "transform" because they don't just play the tunes with a jazz instrumentation; their renditions rarely retain much resemblance to the originals.

I headed into the Big Tent for a frosty beverage and was treated to part of the set by local Latin Band, Calle Uno. I love salsa, merengue, mambo, you name it, and was happy to spend a half-hour listening to this great (and quite large) band who were really tearing it up.

Reformation Lutheran Church was the next stop for Danish bassist Jasper Høiby and Phronesis. Høiby, very tall (almost as tall as his bass...), was very personable as he chatted up the audience. He noted that he and the band were excited to be there and said something like: "We're playing the States! Do you know how much that means to us?  This is YOUR music... we just play it."  It expressed a lot about how some of these young European and other global jazz artists who come play festivals in the U.S. like XRIJF and the excitement they feel when they play for us at the festival. I think it is a symbiotic relationship as we often react to that enthusiasm with our response as an audience. This is one of the signature things about the Nordic Jazz Now series at the Reformation Church.  Phronesis was a great trio of musicians. With Høiby often holding down a driving bass groove and pianist Ivo Neame, and drummer Anton Eger improvising around it, the trio was powerful and dynamic, moving from minuet quiet to rock anthem heavy and back again. Aton Eger was amazingly fast and inventive (he also had the most imaginative haircut to date). Eger also did something during his first solo that I've seen before that always amazes me. In a lightning-fast run, he dropped a stick and magically one appeared in his hand and he played on without missing a beat.

After Phronesis, I started heading for my car, but stuck my head in catch a bit of Bela Fleck and the Original Flecktones in the Big House. Came in during one of Howard Levy's amazing harmonica solos and left with one of Victor Wooten's bass solos ringing in my ears (with a lot of Fleck's amazing electric banjo in between). 

If you're onTwitter then follow @jazzrochester or the list of tweeting XRIJF artists and other XRIJF sources I've been building. Use the hash tag #XRIJF to join the conversation (and if you have room and want to be included in the D&C's coverage, #rocjazz. If you don't want to sign up for Twitter, but want to check out the conversation anyway, then click on the XRIJF on Twitter button at the top of this page for a running stream of tweets from the festival and festival artists who tweet. A lot of will also be republished on the or Jazz@Rochester Facebook page (which you can Like in the middle column). 

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

Still at it after all these days... Day 4 of the XRIJF

My feared illness was a no show, instead most likely the result of a local tree spewing forth its pollen, so feeling better I ventured out into the venues of the XRIJF on Monday, although decidedly subdued in consumption of beer and street meat. 

XRIJF imageStarted out with the subtle mastery of guitarist Jim Hall. I loved the way he would break apart a well-worn tune like My Funny Valentine and put it back together in a unique way, coming at its themes from different angles.  With a stellar group of musicians behind him—Greg Osby on sax, Steve LaSpina on bass, and Joey Baron on drums—though stooped and slow in movement onto the stage, was nimble on the guitar and witty in the between tune repartee with the audience. Billy Strayhorn's Chelsea Bridge, featuring Osby, was a highlight for me.

In what seems to have become a pretty worn path, I headed over to the Lutheran Church of the Reformation to catch Finnish pianist Mika Pohjola (although Mika ended up with a quartet, rather than the quintet indicated). While part of the Nordic Jazz Now series the players were all based in NYC, although hailing mostly from other parts of the globe. There was a lyrical, almost classical style to Pohjola's playing, sometimes sparse and minimalist repetition of phrases. He would work a theme or a short burst of notes (and he could play these "bursts" with lightning speed), over and over, with slight variations throwing in different colors. Intricately composed with interweaving lines between the piano, sax and other instruments caused Pohjola's bandmates to be constantly checking with each other for cues on where they were heading. 

After leaving there and downing a cup of that great Beale Street gumbo (and a malty beverage), with some regret that I couldn't get the Rodriguez Brothers in, I headed over to Montage with some friends to catch the funky grooves of Triodes, a project of Toronto musicians Michael Occhipinti and Mark Neufeld (with Michael's brother Roberto, who Michael quipped probably has stock in this jazz fest given all the times he appears here with one group or another). Working the grooves of Occhipinti's Big Belly (an ode to his son and, apparently, his son's mother's pregnancy) to start, they played a long set of original material and covers of the Meters (yes, in the second set we also were "clucking" to the Meters' Chicken Strut as they had in the first)and reggae. Try as they might, and the music had the groove to do it, they could not get the tired, late Monday show audience off their bums and dancing—including this one, although I thought my chair might break from the bouncing I was doing.

Due to some responsibilities at work and elsewhere, I will be taking it pretty light on Tuesday and Wednesday, reducing my schedules posted here and here a bit (although I encourage you to try them all...). Tonight I'm catching Trio Oz and then Phronesis. Tomorrow, only Many Worlds with Greg Burk at Max.

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

Jazz Passengers and Nicolaj Hess Global Motion+ were enough...

Perhaps I didn't relax enough, but the past few weeks (months... haven't had a day off since beginning of the year) seemed to catch up with me.  Jury is still out on whether I'm sick or just some tree has started spewing its stuff into the air, but it took the wind out of my sails last night toward the end of Nicolaj Hess & Global Motion + at the Nordic Jazz Now Series.  

Started out with the Jazz Passengers, a reunited band that was originally formed in 1987. This group, fronted by original founders saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes were out to have some fun playing for us in Kilbourn Hall, mixing in social activism, comedy, a lot more singing than anyone expected, and some general sonic mayhem and glee at times, but always bringing it home. It is probably the only time the Peaches & Herb triple platinum hit Reunited has been heard on the Kilbourn stage (lyrics revised to suit the bands recent getting together and recording an album of the same name).

XRIJF imageWent over next to the Nordic Jazz Now Series to catch Nicolaj Hess Global Motion +. Although all of these great young musicians are now based in NYC, they hail from all over the world. The music, composed by Hess (there was also one wonderful composition by saxophonist Mark Mommaas before I left) was almost classical in sound at times (as was Hess's piano playing). Pulling in global influences, it was rooted in jazz and sounded wonderful as it filled the great sonic space of the Reformation Lutheran Church.  

Caught some of Ronnie Scott's All-Stars but left and then, after wandering around a bit, realized what I needed to do and went to my car and drove home. My throat had started hurting earlier in the evening and I had started feeling more than a little run down earlier (as might be expected anyway on the schedule I've been keeping the last 3 days). Decided to listen to my body for once.  I may or may not come out tonight depending on what my body's telling me then (and if I think I'm actually sick, I won't be, as I'm sure you don't wanting me sharing that in addition to posts and tweets, etc). If I did, I'm sure I'll be starting with the legendary Jim Hall in Kilbourn and, if I have enough energy the rest of my picks for Monday. It's been going around, so maybe it finally caught up to me.  Will suck if I have to sit out part of the festival, but I've heard some great sounds already, so I'll muddle through... if so, please listen to jazz amongst yourselves. 

Hope to see you on Jazz Street....

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

From a trio of trios to 2 trios & a quintet of trios... Second night of the XRIJF

As I thought, on the second evening of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, my path diverged from that I set before, but it was for a good cause—just enjoying the music where I was at too much to leave. A satisfying (and much more relaxed) evening throughout, I started out at the Bill Charlap Trio's first set at Kilbourn Hall. As a friend remarked, this is the Rolls Royce of piano trios, with Charlap joined by bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. It was definitely a fine ride through a night marked mostly by Bernstein compositions, with some Gerry Mulligan, Arlen and others mixed in. Ending the set with an incredible medley from West Side Story at the end that weaved themes from that musical into the improvisations from a number of angles. They were tight; always seeming to know where the music was heading and spot on the mark when needed. City's Ron Netsky and D&C's Anna Reguero wrote about it here and here.

First trio down, I headed over to the Nordic Jazz Now series at the Reformation Lutheran Church for the Arild Anderson Trio. With Tommy Scott on saxophone counterpointing Anderson's inventive bass playing—adding electronic effects and bowing in creating the soundscapes. Drummer Paolo Vinaccia was an amazing and also inventive percussionist, never once using drum sticks, but creating his own sounds with mallets and brushes (and as Ron Netsky pointed out in City, what appeared to be small hand brooms (I was in the balcony, so couldn't see them well enough to be sure). These three artists were each amazing musicians and Arildsen's music was beautiful.

XRIJF imageThe play on words in this posts title is, of course, meant to add up to 15, which was the number of players in the big band Ensemble Denada (yes, that's in "de nada" in Spanish, which means "it was nothing"). The compositions of Norwegian band leader and trombonist Helge Sunde (he was also a witty M.C.) were complex, dynamic, and quirky. The musicians in the band were all great musicians and were almost all given a chance to shine on solos. All behind this, literally, were black and white visual images and electronic sounds being "played" on a number of Apple laptops and other gear. I decided early in the show that there was no way I was leaving until this was over as it was, again, one of those truly unique things you'll only get a chance to hear at XRIJF.

This evening at the XRIJF was one of those that keeps reminding me why I puy myself through this marathon every year. I had heard some truly wonderful jazz over these hours, jazz that came from a number of angles and points on the globe, and then was able to meet up with some of my friends for a beer and some Americana over at the new after hours at Abilene. Truly satisfied again, I headed home to get some rest before heading out again today. Right now my itinerary is departing some from what I published before. I think I'm going to continue the "Kilbourn Hall first" streak and see the Jazz Passengers at 6:00 pm, followed by Nicolaj Hess Global Motion+ and then float from there, perhaps taking in Ronnie Scott's All-Stars or moving through several options. 

If you're onTwitter then follow @jazzrochester or the list of tweeting XRIJF artists and other XRIJF sources I've been building. Use the hash tag #XRIJF to join the conversation (and if you have room and want to be included in the D&C's coverage, #rocjazz. If you don't want to sign up for Twitter, but want to check out the conversation anyway, then click on the XRIJF on Twitter button at the top of the page for a page with a running stream of tweets from the festival. A lot of will also be republished on the or Jazz@Rochester Facebook page.

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

Day One of XRIJF...Haven't learned to relax yet...

Great first day of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.  Weather was great.  Managed to hear Kevin Eubanks, some of Mark Murphy's and Soweto Kinch's second sets, and Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts. Have to say that Matt Wilson's Arts and Crafts will be one of my highlights from this festival (as it was the last time they appeared). last time they appeared at RIJF). Matt will be playing with Gary Verace Trio in the Italian Series tonight. Although there was one tune they seemed to be still working out, this band stunning musicianship, their tight work as a group, and Wilson's humor and inventive drumming made it a treat.  I really wish I could have worked in more of Brit Soweto Kinch's set, although I stuck around the after hours long enough to hear a great solo from Kinch when he played near about 2:00 a.m. 

Soweto Kinch afterhours

I engaged in some speculation in my last post before the XRIJF started up about writing more from the festival, relaxing more, and running around a bit less, "special posts" and the like. Wasn't truly successful in that in trying to keep to that new "regimen" and I'm already seeing a lot of posting will just not happen if the "relaxing more" thing is to be done.  This is especially true as I will be working all next week, perhaps half-days on some. Don't want to set expectations either for you or myself that I will not be able to keep. So, while I'll occasionally write a post and may post some pictures and other shorter items, most of the "work" I do on this blog is done before the festival, so I can concentrate on the music and fun during its 9 days. I'll just try to put people and information about the festival together as much as possible, using my most effective tools.

The fact is, that there are a lot of people writing about the festival, many of whom are actually paid to do so and do it pretty darn well. Yesterday as I went from venue to venue, and the after hours, I was mostly working the Twitter backchannel to the festival, stoking the hashtag #XRIJF conversation where possible. This morning I have been feeding links to the writing that is being done out there about the first day and coming artists to the @jazzrochester twitter account and Jazzz@Rochester Facebook page. There are a reviews of Day One by writers at City Newspaper and the Democrat & Chronicle, plus a new Jazz Stories video with Tia Fuller. I encourage you to check them out. There's an interesting post  by Patrick Jarenwattananon in National Public Radio's A Blog Supreme about the festival and the pull between festival and "jazz."  Also check out the Storify story created by D&C Young Professionals Editor Todd Clausen that pulls together a lot of the social media coverage of XRIJF (although curiously missing the D&C's hashtag #rocjazz). If you're onTwitter then follow @jazzrochester or the list of tweeting XRIJF artists and other XRIJF sources I've been building. Use the hash tag #XRIJF to join the conversation (and if you have room and want to be included in the D&C's coverage, #rocjazz. If you don't want to sign up for Twitter, but want to check out the conversation anyway, then click on the XRIJF on Twitter button at the top of the page for a page with a running stream of tweets from the festival. A lot of will also be republished on the or Jazz@Rochester Facebook page.

Tonight I'm hitting Bill Charlap Trio, Arild Anderson Trio, Ensemble Denada (which got a lot of buzz last night), and then may float for awhile.  See you on Jazz Street!  Come up and say hello if you see me....

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

A few final thoughts before we get this XRIJF party started...

Hey...where is everybody ... oh right the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival starts tomorrow.... After picking up my credentials, I'm trying to relax a bit on the porch before the nine days of music, street food, beer, and lack of sleep begins. Thought I'd bang out (well, the virtual keyboard on my iPad is pretty quiet...) a quick post about where you'll find me over the next nine days . . . at least virtually.

First, you'll find me on these "pages." I'm going to try to write more from the festival and run around a bit less...must...start...relaxing more. My focus will be on hearing some great music and spending some time with my "jazz festival" friends, but I'm going to try to bring some of the flavors to you from throughout the festival. Put your email address in the box in the middle panel or add my feed to your favorite reader to get all of these automatically delivered (if you live in the area, you'll then also get my weekly live jazz listings for in and around ROC after the festival ends). I've got some ideas for some special posts, etc., but won't commit as things are always fluid once XRIJF gets started. Check out the upper right panel for links to my picks for each day of the festival, with links to more info about those artists, video of them performing, and streams of some of their music.

If you're onTwitter then follow @jazzrochester or the list of tweeting XRIJF artists I've been building. Use the hash tag #XRIJF to join the conversation... I'll try to keep up throughout the festival. If you don't want to sign up for Twitter, but want to check out the conversation anyway, then click on the XRIJF on Twitter button at the top of the page for a page with a running stream of tweets from the festival. A lot of will also be republished on the or Jazz@Rochester Facebook page.

So, so long until we meet on "Jazz Street" or on the Interwebs.....

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

Picks for the rest of the XRIJF before I run out of time...

I'm running out of time and steam, and my nose is otherwise to the grindstone, so to end up where I want to be by Friday, when this party gets started I'm condensing my picks for the last two days of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival into this post. I'm going to just give you the picks and a couple of links (and not drone on about them as much—sure you won't mind).june 18 & 19 picks image

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. I've mined a few sources and video (in addition to those on the XRIJF site) from the Interwebs to help you decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...) on Friday and Saturday, June 17th and 18th, at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival:

The Picks

June 17th

  • Kenny Barron Trio @ Kilbourn Hall, 6:00 pm (also 10:00 pm): Getting some of that good old trio sound from this master of the piano. Here is a video of a 2002 concert in Italy with Ron Carter and Billy Cobham on If I Were A Bell
  • Tonbruket @ Nordic Jazz Now at Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 7:30 pm (also 9:30 pm): This band was formed by the bassist for the great Scandanavian group E.S.T., which is no more after the untimely death of Ejsbjörn Svensson in 2008. Here is a video of Tonbruket playing Song For "E", a tribute to the late pianist Svenssoon at the Between the Beats Festival last year.
  • Jonas Kullhammar Quartet @ Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza, 9:00 pm (also 6:30 pm): Swedish saxophonist Jonas Kulhammar has been to the Rochester festival a number of times now, playing most of the venues on offer. Here is some video of the Quarte from 2010 at the Sigurdsgatan 25 club in Sweden (a two-parter, here and here, unfortunately you'll have to wait until you see him to get the jokes).
  • In The Country @ Montage, 10:00 pm (also 6:00 pm): The Nordic Jazz Now series is pretty popular so the groups appearing for the series often turn up in other venues.  I think I missed In the Country, a trio out of Norway in a previous visit to the XRIJF in 2007, but you can watch them performing in the Reformation Lutheran church here. You can listen to their music through their site and their MySpace page.

As I went to college in the early 1980s, Elvis Costello & the Imposters have been in my musical life for a long time and I'd love to go hear him in the Big House, but it's sold out and they won't likely even let me take a peek. I doubt he will get thrown out of the place like the last time he was in ROC. Also would like to hear the soul sounds of the Ryan Shaw Band or Jason Yarde & Andrew McCormack "MY DUO" at the Christ Church Made In The UK Series. If you're ready to party, Trombone Shorty is back to bring the funk on the City of Rochester East Ave. & Chestnut St.

June 18th

  • Regina Carter @ Kilbourn Hall, 6:00 pm (also 10:00 pm): I love where artists bring in other traditions into their music and I've yet to hear the violinist perform, so I'm looking forward to Regina Carter bringing her "Reverse Thread" project to the Kilborn Hall stage. The project weaves African influences, including the kora (which is missing from this year's festival). Here's four minutes of the title track and Carter's "Tiny Desk Concert" for National Public Radio. 
  • Po' Boys Brass Band @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, 7:15 pm (also 9:15 pm): Glad it worked out so I could take another detour from my usual avoidance of local bands as I have not caught the Po' Boys in quite awhile and have missed most of their previous appearances at the festival.  Here they are performing at last year's XRIJF
  • The Budos Band @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, 8:30 pm (also at 10:00 pm): Keeping the brass heavy theme (gotta love a band with two baris) going, I'll be catching this band from Staten Island that mixes up the influences to bring on a groove. Here they are at last year's at a program recorded during last year's Bumbershoot festival in Seattle doing Black Venom. Listen to more on their MySpace page.
  • Ben Allison 3 @ Montage, 10:00 pm (also at 6:00 pm): Ben Allison's trio will be a welcome cooling off period after the previous two picks and a great way to close out the festival. I tend to do that at Montage for some reason....  Here is Ben playing trio at one of my favorite haunts in Chicago, the Green Mill. 

You might also want to catch local Dave Rivello Ensemble or a more intimate set with the Jonas Kullhammar Quartet at Max of Eastman Place if you missed them on the 17th (or if you, like many at the RIJF are big fans of Kulhammar...).

Local & Regional Talent

As Jazz@Rochester exists to highlight the great jazz talent we have living and working in and around Rochester (you can find some of their links on my Rochester Jazz Artists page), I'm highlighting the local artists appearing on stages each night. Here are the ones for Tuesday, June 16th:

Local and Regional, June 17th:

Local and Regional, June 18th:

Let me know what you're going out so hear on the last two days in the comments to this post, or on the Jazz@Rochester on Twitter or Facebook.

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

Finding my way through Thursday, June 16th at the XRIJF

june 16 picks imageI'm running out of time on these posts so the next one may take us on in to home plate for he XRIJF on Saturday, June 18th. Hope you don't mind, but the day job is calling and there's so much more to do to prepare for the marathon that is my jazz festival.

My Thursday of the XRIJF finds me starting out with an artist who has returned to Rochester quite a few times and ends with one who is about to leave Rochester, with some Finns, a Norwegian and Canadians in between to get my international jazz thing on. 

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. I've mined a few sources and video (in addition to those on the XRIJF site) from the Interwebs to help you decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...) on my walkabout on Thursday, June 16th at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival:

  • Bill Frisell @ Kilbourn Hall, 6:00 pm (also 10:00 pm): Guitarist Bill Frisell has appeared at Rochester's jazz festival several times, but each time you see him he's on another project that may take him and whatever group he brings in a completely different direction, so it's like seeing a different artist every time. I believe he is bringing his Beautiful Dreamers project here this year. There are some cuts from this CD on the Songline/Tonefield Production site and Nate Chinen did a review of a Beautiful Dreamers gig at the Village Vanguard in the New York Times. Also, get a inside Frisell's head a bit in this "Big Think" interview from last year. Although I didn't run across any video from the Beautiful Dreamers project, here's one of Frisell covering La La La Means I Love You in Kilbourn Hall during XRIJF 2007. 
  • KUÀRA Trio @  Nordic Jazz Now @ Lutheran Church Of The Reformation, 7:30 pm (also at 9:30): KUÀRA trio is Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari and pianist Samuli Mikkonen, with  Norwegian trumpeter/singer Per Jørgensen have created improvisations merging Finnish folk music with other Middle Eastern and Chinese sounds. As set out in a recent announcement about their tour, “Kuára” takes as its inspirational starting point Russian psalms and Fenno-Ugrian folk songs from Udmurtia, Vepsä and Karelia." As with a number of the artist brought for the Nordic Jazz Now series, this group's music has a haunting, ethereal sound that will be wonderful in the Reformation Church space. Listen to excerpts of the group's music on the ECM site for the group's CD Kuara and on Ounaskari's Myspace page, as well as Mikkonen's Myspace page, and Per Jørgensen's Myspace page. To get a taste of this group live, there are videos of Udmurtian folk song Sjuan Gúr and the rest of the piece Soldat Keljangúr linked to in the XRIJF artist page.
  • Celebrating Oscar Peterson with The Dave Young Quintet @ Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza, 9:00 pm (also at 6:30 pm): Canadian bassist Dave Young's stint with the Oscar Peterson Trio spanned 30 years, playing all over the world with Peterson until his death in 2007, so if anyone knows how to celebrate his music, it's probably Mr. Young. Young also spent five years in the early 60s as a member of guitarist Lenny Breau's quartet and has worked with a virtual Who's Who of jazz, including Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Zoot Simms, Joe Williams, Oliver Jones, Kenny Burrell, Cedar Walton, Hank Jones, Nat Adderly, Peter Appleyard, Gary Burton, Barney Kessell, Ed Bickert, Kenny Burrell and James Moody. Here he is with his Quartet walking through Backyard Blues and with the Oscar Peterson Trio in Tokyo in 1987 (with Joe Pass thrown in for good measure).
  • Katie Ernst Trio @ Max of Eastman Place, 10:00 pm (also at 6:15 pm): I'm probably making an exception to my usual leaving local artists off my XRIJF itineraries (I discussed my reasons for that in an earlier post) for Katie Ernst. Katie just graduated from Eastman and, I've been told, may be moving back to the Chicago area (yea, Chicago!) where she's from to begin her post-graduate career (I say that as she's been busy as a professional musician for some time). Ernst is very talented as a bassist and singer (and I've been impressed with her savvy in the online world and social media, as well). I'd like to hear her in the "big leagues" of the XRIJF as, to date, my few times to get a chance to hear her have been either her playing in the pickup band that plays Havana Moe's on Saturdays or singing backup for Bitchin' Kitchen. I'm sure she's up for the task....   Here's a video of Katie sings and plays on But Not For Me in one of Chicago's premiere jazz rooms, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in 2009 and get it all on Ernst's YouTube channel, and of course the first of this year's first D&C "Jazz Stories" below.

My wife Dianna has a ticket to see k.d. lang and The Siss Boom Bang in the Big House.  I've liked k.d. Lang's music for a long time (in fact, the only CD that both my wife and I both had when we met in 2002 was Ingenue), so may step in for awhile to listen if I can. Others who I'd lke to hear, but it looks like will not be able to work in are the NRBQ survivors The Spampinato Brothers at Abilene, the "architect" of James Brown's sound and former Rochesterian Pee Wee Ellis with his Funk Assembly at Harro East, and Slavic Soul Party!.

As Jazz@Rochester exists to highlight the great jazz talent we have living and working in and around Rochester (you can find links to many of their sites on my Rochester Jazz Artists page and hear many of them throughout the year), I'm highlighting the local artists appearing on stages each night. Here are the ones for Tuesday, June 16th:

Let me know what you're going out so hear on the 16th in the comments, or on the Jazz@Rochester on Twitter or Facebook.

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

It IS about who you don't know on June 15th of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (well mostly...)

Wednesday's artists (at least those who are not active on the local and regional scene) at the Rochester jazz festival are, for the most part, squarely in the "who I don't know" part of festival music director's John Nugent's "It's not who you know, it's who you don't know" catchphrase for the XRIJF. june 15 picks imageHowever, that does not leave me feeling lost, but rather (at least for me) allows more freedom to choose where to sit down and listen. It also is usually an opportunity to find new sounds to become part of my regular aural tapestry in the future. I'm setting up my itinerary with only three slots again on this night, which will allow me even more freedom because I'll be filling in that slot with one or more of the great choices on the 6th night of the XRIJF.

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. Where available, I've mined a few additional sources and video of the artists from the Interwebs to help you decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...) during my perambulations during the sixth evening of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival on June 15th:

  • Grace Kelly Quintet @ Kilbourn Hall, 6:00 pm (also at 10:00): This is the one I know.... This now 19-year old saxophonist, composer, singer, etc. (can't really call her a prodigy anymore, she's reached majority...) has been playing and recording in the major leagues of jazz with Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis (and the list goes on...) for a number years now. When I saw Grace Kelly last year at Montage (at the ripe old age of 17), my ears heard the technical brilliance, but not as much of the soul and emotion that can come with more time on this earth. Moving to the main Club Pass stage of Kilbourn Hall this year puts her in a very different venue and I want to give her another listen with a new set of ears. With the experience she already has under her belt and her quite amazing playing and writing talent, Kelly is definitely one to watch and hear as she grows (and you can say you saw her when...)...plus, she's just a fun performer. For some more video of live performances of Kelly, check out this one of her with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen at the Duc des Lombards club, this great sit-in with Toots Thielemans at his gig at Scullers I found on Kelly's blog, and a bit of her singing (and getting audience participation) on Sunny Side of the Street in Italy last year with Francisco Mela's Cuban Safari Trio.
  • Sinne Eeg @ Nordic Jazz Now @ Lutheran Church Of The Reformation, 7:30 pm (also at 9:30 pm): A star in the Danish jazz world, winning the Danish Music Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2007 and 2010, Sinne Eeg's rich voice will be filling up the wonderful space at the Church of the Reformation. Her site notes Eeg is influenced by Nancy Wilson, Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan, "but with her personal touch of soft darkness, Sinne keeps the Scandinavian melancholy settled in her music." You can listen to some cuts off her new album Don't Be So Blue both on her site and on her Myspace page. This video of excerpts from Sinne Eeg's set at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen from last year gives you a great introduction, and on this one her and the band romp through What A Little Moonlight Can Do. 
  • Many Worlds with Greg Burk @ Max of Eastman Place, 10:00 pm (also at 6:00 pm): I was unfamiliar with Greg Burk so listened to his Many Worlds album on Rhapsody this morning, which sealed the deal on me adding this group to my June 15th itinerary. The music will likely be challenging for some festival-goers, full of complex rhythms and intricate runs that push the boundaries of improvisational jazz even while drawing deeply from the jazz well. Here is a review of Many Worlds from the Blogcritics.org site. You can listen to some cuts (although none from the Many Worlds CD that I saw) on Burk's Myspace page. While I couldn't find any video of performances of Many Worlds, the two I found from 2007 (both his quartet live in Civitavecchia in Italy, where Burk now resides), here and here

Of course, there is also Chris Botti in the really Big House (Kodak Hall At Eastman Theatre) for those of you with tickets.  I may try to catch Scottish pianist Alan Benzie with his trio at Christ Church. I may try to catch the vccal (and trombone?) stylings of Brienn Perry will be hitting the Xerox Auditorium stage with his quartet as he is a fellow Chicagoan and I may have actually seen him there years ago (I lived there for 25+ years before moving to Rochester in 2002), although that may be too much vocals for me in one night after Ms. Eeg. If you just want to pour on the vocals (and I know some of you do...), there's also another chanteuse from Toronto, Emilie-Claire Barlow, holding forth at Montage. XRIJF perennials The Shuffle Demons also return to play the Tent (they'll also be playing on Thursday). Another good choice will be the Viva Italia Series offering of Pat LaBarbara-Roberto Occhipinti Quartet. Of course, I may want to change out of my pork pie into my John Deere cap. If so, I'll head over to Abilene for some of the guitar from Telecaster Titan Bill Kirchen or  party-on again with the boys of Bonerama.

As Jazz@Rochester exists to highlight the great jazz talent we have living and working in and around Rochester (you can find some of their links on my Rochester Jazz Artists page), I'm highlighting the local artists appearing on stages each night. Here are the ones for Tuesday, June 15th:

Let me know what you're going out so hear on the 15th in the comments, or on the Jazz@Rochester on Twitter or Facebook.

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.

If it's Tuesday, this must be my picks for Day Five of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival

june 14 picks imageTuesday at the XRIJF includes  some familiar returning names and some new to me...just another night at the festival. This evening will be one that I float through and perhaps make changes midstream (for me, that can also be just another night at the festival). I'm keeping my main picks to 3, but it is not because there are slim pickings. As you will see below there is just too much to choose, at least when you're trying to soak up as much as you can. 

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. Where available, I've mined a few additional sources and video of the artists from the Interwebs for you to explore so you can decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...) during my perambulations during the fifth evening of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival on June 14th:

  • The Trio of OZ @ Harro East Ballroom, 5:30 pm (also at 7:15 pm): The Trio Of Oz is pianist Rachel Z ( Rachel Nicolazzo), drummer Omar Hakim, joined by Maeve Royce on bass. Rachel Z has been to Rochester and festival several times before. The trio builds its sets on interpretations of the compositions of a wide variety of pop and jazz artists, including Duke Ellington, Depeche Mode, Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Judy Garland, Sting, Peter Gabriel, The Killers, Coldplay, Stone Temple Pilots, and Björk. The group is tight. In addition to video on the XRIJF site, you can check them on this additional video from the Langnau festival in Switzerland last year, and a performance of Coldplay's Lost in Edinburg. The group starts early so I may cut out and catch some other stuff around after hearing some of the set. 
  • Phronesis @ Nordic Jazz Now at Lutheran Church Of The Reformation, 7:30 pm (also at 9:30 pm): Phronesis is the creation of Danish bassist Jasper Høiby after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in London, UK in 2005. The group has been described in a profile in Jazzwise magazine as "the most exciting and imaginative piano trio since E.S.T." However, while there are some similarities, Phronesis has its own sound and these guys have chops (I've been listening to some cuts from an earlier album and the material I have found on the Interwebs and some of Høiby's nice driving bass lines are more similar Avishai Cohen, I think). I found a review from last year on the JazzWrap blog. You can also get your ears around this video of a live performances of Smoking the Camel, Abraham's New Gift, and Eight Hours. You can also listen to some of Phronesis's music on Høiby's site.
  • Marcus Strickland Quartet @ Montage, 10:00 pm (also at 6:00 pm): I'm ending up with a bit of hard bop with saxophonist Marcus Strickland and his Quartet. Strickland has been hailed as a rising star in Downbeat twice in the past few years. With his identical twin E.J. on drum, Strickland has usually opted for the saxophone trio, but for his next project to be released this summer, he's added a piano and will also be playing alto in addition to his usual tenor. To break him and his music down a bit more for you, I've located a 2008 interview on Jazz.com and several videos (although all of the trio), including live at the Falcon, a gig last year at Duc des Lombards, and the Part 2 to the Firehouse gig found on the XRIJF site.  

I've only set up three Club Pass gigs in the picks for June 14th and might use the "extra" time to drop in on some local acts or see some of Béla Fleck & the Flecktones in The Big House (Kodak Hall).Two of the Club Pass gigs on Tuesday involve local jazz artists, including Harold Danko Group at Max (Danko is currently Chair of the Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media Department at Eastman School of Music and had long associations with Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Lee Konitz and Woody Herman) and the Vitale Brothers at the Viva Italia Series at the Rochester Club (by the way, local bassist Dan Vitale pictured in the XRIJF page is not mentioned in the text of the page, which is from Dan's trumpeter brother Richie--here's a video from an earlier RIJF after hours meetup of the brothers). I'd like to catch the Brazilian sounds of Jovino Santos Neto, Paula Gardiner/Huw Warren at the Made in the UK Series at Christ Church, and Curtis Stigers in Kilborn Hall. Just had too much to choose from....

As Jazz@Rochester's main focus throughout the year is to promote and get you out to hear the great jazz talent we have living and working in and around Rochester (you can find some of their links on my Rochester Jazz Artists page), I'm highlighting the local artists appearing on stages around XRIJF each night. I may not  list them in the "Picks", but that's because I get to see most of them throughout the year and focus during the festival on the artists who come from elsewhere (sometimes not only in terms of distance, but also in terms of being "way out there..."). I encourage you to check them out and find out what great stuff we have to listen to in Rochester all year round (and of course, you know where to find out where and when they're playing....). Here are the local and regional artists for Tuesday, June 14th:

  • Mambo Kings @ Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, noontime concert. It's a block away from my office, so I'll see if I can slip away...
  • High School Jazz Bands @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, starting at 4:30 pm.
  • Gabe Condon Sextet (Eastman Jazz Performance Workshop Honors Unit 3) @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, 6:00 pm
  • Grupo Calle Uno @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • Jon Seiger and the All-Stars @ The RG&E-XEROX Stage, 7:00 & 9:00 pm
  • CNY Jazz Orchestra Directed by Bret Zvacek @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, 7:15 & 9:15 pm

Let me know what you're going out so hear on the 14th in the comments, or on the Jazz@Rochester on Twitter or Facebook.

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

The "work" week begins and the jazz continues: My picks for June 13 of the XRIJF

june 13 picks imageThis is the point where, for those of us that are "all nine day"-ers, the collision with the working week begins and the (usually) late nights of Friday-Sunday are beginning to take their toll. While my schedule for Monday, June 13th, at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival may be a bit ambitious, it's within the realm of possibility. Again, as usual, it spans the world of jazz and jazz in the world.

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. Where available, I've mined a few additional sources and video of the artists from the Interwebs to help you decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...) during my perambulations during the fourth evening of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival on June 13th:

  • Jim Hall Quartet @ Kilbourn Hall, 6:00 pm (also at 10:00 pm): The Jim Hall Quartet is one of my "must sees" this year. Born in Buffalo, Jim Hall started his career in Los Angeles, playing with Chico Hamilton Quintet (1955–1956), Jimmy Giuffre Trio (1956–1959), Ella Fitzgerald (1960–1961), Ben Webster, Hampton Hawes, Bob Brookmeyer, John Lewis, Zoot Sims, Paul Desmond, Lee Konitz and Bill Evans. After moving to New York in 1960 he worked with Sonny Rollins and Art Farmer, among others, and also collaborated with Bill Evans, Paul Desmond and Ron Carter. Here's a conversation with Hall put out by the Library of Congress in 2010, a Jim Hall Trio performing Sonny Rollins' St. Thomas live at BIMHUIS' in Amsterdam in 2007, and cooking it with Rollins on the Jazz Casual TV show from back in the day.
  • Mika Pohjola Quintet @ Nordic Jazz Now, Lutheran Church Of The Reformation, 7:30 pm (also at 9:30 pm): Mika Pohjola is a Finnish-born jazz pianist and composer, residing in New York City playing in the downtown jazz scene and running the Blue Music Group label. Gary Giddins wrote in The Village Voice that Pohjola music showed "[s]ubstantial improvisations and quirky compositional gambits that avoid the usual head-solo-head routine." I hope he brings a group of powerhouses the group in this video medley from a 2009 performance, with Ben Monder, Miguel Zenon, Fernando Huergo, and Roberto Dani. More at Pohjola's page on AllAboutJazz.com.
  • The Rodriguez Brothers @ Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza, 9:00 pm (also at 6:30 pm): These brothers have been seen before at the Rochester jazz festival as sideman for Joe Locke (oops, Robert was here recently with Joe Locke's Force of Four project as Tom points out in the comments) and, I think, some other groups I've enjoyed in past festivals, so I'd like to get a taste of them in their "own thing." Pianist Robert and trumpeter Michael have played together as The Rodriguez Brothers since 2002 when not serving individually as sidemen Roy Haynes, Charlie Haden, Ray Barretto, Eddy Palmieri, David Sanchez, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Locke, Carla Bley, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Bob Minzter, Harry Connick Jr., Christian McBride, Richard Bona and Quincy Jones. In addition to the video on the XRIJF site there is also the introspective Farewell from the same Dizzy's gig for another taste, as well as some tracks to listen to on their site.
  • The Triodes @ Montage, 10:00 pm (also at 6:00 pm): Looks like I'm going to end up the night by getting my funk on at Montage. Triodes describes themselves as a "genre-jumping instrumental group that traces its roots to the upbeat instrumental R+B, soul, and funk of groups such as Booker T and the MGs, The Meters, and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, but with generous nods to early reggae and ska, modern jam bands, experimental rock, jazz, and electronica." Another project of Michael Occhipinti, who has brought several other groups to the Rochester jazz festival (remember the Sicilian Jazz Project?), Triodes was formed as a spin off of the JUNO Award winning jazz ensemble NOJO (Neufeld-Occhpinti Jazz Orchestra) with NOJO co-leader and long-time collaborator Paul Neufeld. Here they work the groove with Don Byron on Big Belly at the Rex in Toronto. I think you'll see Occhipinti a lot around XRIJF 2011 as he's also going to be sideman on several other gigs.

I wouldn't mind catching ex pat Brit John Escreet playing solo at Made In The UK Series in Christ Church and, if I decide to take a break from jazz, head over to Abilene for Professor Louie & The Crowmatix. Of course, there is the XRIJF-ESM Jazz Scholarships Performance at Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre on Monday as well, which will include the Eastman Jazz Ensemble, directed by Bill Dobbins with special guest Dick Oatts on alto saxophone. One of my father-in-law's favorites Rick Braun will be over at Harro East.  And there is so much more...

Additionally, as this blog exists to highlight the great jazz talent we have here and around Rochester, I'm also going to be highlighting the local and regional artists for each day. You can find some of their links on my Rochester Jazz Artists page):

  • Herb Smith @ Monroe County Central Library, noontime concert.
  • High School Jazz Bands @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, starting at 4:30 pm.
  • Brockport Community Big Band @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, 6:00 pm.
  • Will Cleary Quintet (Eastman Jazz Performance Workshop Honors Unit 2) @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, 6:00 pm.
  • Dawn Thomson & Friends @ Max of Eastman Place, 6:00 & 10:00 pm (Dawn is festival music director John Nugent's wife, so perhaps he and his sax will be included among the "friends"?).
  • Colin Cannon Quartet @ The new RG&E-XEROX Stage (next to the RG&E building), 7:00 & 9:00 pm.
  • Rick Holland Uptown Society Jazz Orchestra @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, 7:15 & 9:15 pm.

Let me know what you're going out so see on the 13th in the comments, or on the Jazz@Rochester on Twitter or Facebook.

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

A "jazz passenger" on the XRIJF tour: Where we'll be on June 12 of the Rochester International Jazz Festival

We go from the Ohio and NYC of Joe Henderson (a celebrated by Henderson's former collaborator, Canadian-born New Yorker Jon Ballantyne) to the Denmark of Nikolaj Hess, to London's Soho, and back here to the States for a reunited Jazz Passengers. Although I've been on wider flung trips around the world in a single night at prior Rochester jazz festivals, it really shows the diversity. PassengersThis will be a night where I will be living the statement of XRIJF Music Director John Nugent (who is, by the way, playing on June 12th)..."it's not  who you know, it's who you don't know," which is not uncommon at Rochester's festival, but such a great way to find new friends to spin when you get home.

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. Where available, I've mined a few additional sources and video of the artists from the Interwebs to help you decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...) during my perambulations during the third evening of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival on June 12th:

  • Celebrating Joe Henderson with Jon Ballantyne & Friends @ Xerox Auditorium, 6:30 pm (also at 9:00 pm): Never got a chance to see Henderson, who died in 2001, but Juno-winning Canadian jazz pianist Jon Ballantyne played with Joe Henderson and is offering this celebration of his music at this year's XRIJF.  Listen to him at his MySpace page and this music video of "Round Again" (not live performance).
  • Nikolaj Hess Global Motion + @ Nordic Jazz Now Series at Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 7:30 pm (also at9:30 pm): Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess's Global Motion + group includes some folks from this side of the ocean. The group's sound (from what I'm hearing on their 2009 album, at least...) is full of intricately interwined acoustic instruments, which will sound fantastic in the space at the Reformation Lutheran Church. Listen a bit on Hess's MySpace page, one of his music on Soundcloud, and on this video of stills with music posted by group member Mark Mommaas. 
  • Ronnie Scotts All Stars "A Foggy Night in London Town" @ Made In the UK Series at Christ Church, 8:45 pm (also at): I got to hear a bit of this "house band" in a live feed from the famed Ronnie Scott's jazz club in Soho, London, during the XRIJF lineup announcement in March. The Ronnie Scott's All Stars with Natalie Williams on vocals are a good group who back up the many international jazz stars who pass through the club each year. You can find out some on pianist James Pearson's Myspace page from the AllStars page at the club's website. Lots of video from Ronnie Scotts, but not much to highlight this band. 
  • The Jazz Passengers @ Kilbourn Hall, 10:00 pm (also at 6:00 pm): This recent reuniting of a band started in 1987 by former Lounge Lizards Roy Nathanson and Curtis Fowlkes is one that was completely off my radar but from what I've heard and seen are likely to be on my radar going forward. I like a lot of the more exploratory side of jazz and any band that is described as "a hard-bop group as imagined by Frank Zappa", as Bob Blumenthal described the Jazz Passengers in the Boston Globe in 1989, pricks up my ears. The Jazz Passengers have often brought in high profile vocalists in front at their gigs, ranging from Mavis Staples to Deborah Harry (yes, of Blondie...), and Elvis Costello. The Passengers appear to never take themselves too seriously, although from all accounts they are deadly serious about the music. Here's a performance of the reunited group last year at the Saalfelden Jazz festival (one of many recorded at this festival) and backing Ms. Harry and Elvis Costello in a ballad on the David Letterman show (Elvis is not going to be in the building until the 17th, by the way).

Sunday's are traditionally a laid back day for me at the festival. I may move from one venue to another a bit more or change up on my original intended itinerary depending on what I'm hearing on the street. There's a lot of great stuff around to choose from other than the above, including Davell Crawford (he plays again at Montage if I don't end up there on the 11th in Max), bluesman Lucky Peterson, a bit of that old-timey bluegrass from the Tussey Mountain Moonshiners or the Gypsy jazz of Stephane Wrembel Trio to name a few.

Additionally, as this blog exists to highlight the great jazz talent we have here and around Rochester, I'm also going to be highlighting the local and regional artists for each day. You can find some of their links on my Rochester Jazz Artists page):

Let me know what you're going out so see on June 12th in the comments, or on the Jazz@Rochester pages on Twitter or Facebook.

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

A triple of Trios ... My picks for June 11th of the XRIJF

For some reason, my second night at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival full of trios, although they will be quite diverse in their sounds. I have found in past years that some days will abound in trios as the preferred grouping at the XRIJF. But I intend to make up for it by checking out a larger ensemble (talking 3-4 times larger) and, possibly, even catching some something that clearly won't be on anyone's jazz listings to reduce my trio load.

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. Where available, I've mined a few additional sources and video of the artists from the Interwebs to help you decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...) during my walkabout at the second evening of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival on June 11th:

  • Bill Charlap Trio @ Kilbourn Hall, 6:00 pm (also at 10): Bill Charlap trio with Peter Washington and Kenny Washington is one of the premier small groups in jazz and they are tight in only the way that a group that has been playing together for many years can be (which you can hear in this video from a 2007 Village Vanguard date). He is best known for his interpretations of American songs such as those of Gershwin.
  • Arild Andersen Trio @ Nordic Jazz Now at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 7:30 pm: Although still a trio, the sounds that will fill the great sonic space of the Church will be very different not only due to the change in instrumentation (a saxophone for a piano), but also because bassist Arild Anderson, who started out in the 1970s with the Jan Gabarek Group, is more free in its explorations with his regular trio of Tommy Smith on sax and Paolo Vinaccia on drums. Here's a couple of videos to give you a taste: At Duc des Lombards in 2008 and at Musica sulla Bocce in Italy last year.  
  • Ensemble Denada @ Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza, 9:00 pm (also at 6:30 and they're playing in the Nordic Jazz Now series on June 10th): According to the Ensemble Denada's website, the idea behind this project of the East Norway Jazz Center is finding a small-band dynamic within a much larger ensemble which adds contrabass clarinet, quadraphonic electronics, 10 horn players to a piano quartet in its lineup and merges European tradition with jazz and native Norwegian material in its diverse blend. You can listen to some recordings on the group's MySpace page and and tastes on video from a 2008 concert in Syria, at the Oslo Jazz Festival in 2009, and three more (here, here and here) from a concert in New Delhi last year (there is a fourth on the XRIJF's site).
  • Gary Versace Trio @ Viva Italia Series at the The Rochester Club, 10:00 pm (also at 6:00): Perhaps it is because of his instrument—the Hammond B3—or maybe it's that I heard last year you can get some great food in the joint he'll be playing, but I've seen Versace play with several other artists and it would be interesting to see him leading his own group.

I may, depending on my mood, lines and a host of other factors, try instead to catch Black 47 at the Abilene Roots & Americana Stage at 9:45, the NOLA jazz of Davell Crawford at Max of Eastman Place, or the specifically not gypsy jazz of Les Doigts de L'Homme @ Montage in the 10:00 pm slot.  

Additionally, as this blog exists to highlight the great jazz talent we have here and around Rochester, I'm also going to be highlighting the local and regional artists for each day. You can find some of their links on my Rochester Jazz Artists page):

Of course, you be catching some fake Beatles (or should I say "faux"?) or some Jersey boys sounds on Saturday night but, if not, let me know what sounds you're planning on hearing in the comments. See you on Jazz Street....

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

Let's get this party started ... My picks for June 10th of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival

Here's the first of nine posts in which I'll outline my "itinerary" for the nine days of the Tenth Anniversary version of the Xerox  Rochester International Jazz  Festival. As I noted in the kickoff post for this year's coverage, I encourage you to add your thoughts on each night's choices, as well as your own choices, in the comments on the post itself or on Twitter and Facebook (although I request some degree of civility please). Just remember that I fully subscribe to RIJF musical director John Nugent's favorite chestnut: "It's not who you know, it's who you don't know..."

The links below on the artists' name in bold will take you to the artist's page on the XRIJF site. Where available, I've mined a few additional sources and video of the artists from the Interwebs to help you decide whether you want to join me (figuratively, that is...). I'll add a set of links to these posts in the right panel under the XRIJF logo after I get a couple published.

So on June 10th, the first day of the Tenth Anniversary of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, the following gigs will be where you'll probably find me (but not necessarily...):

If I can somehow fit it in, I'll catch some of the old school of Mingo Fishtrap at the Jazz Street stage on Gibbs, perhaps only in working my way through the crowd to get from one venue to another.   

Additionally, as this blog exists to highlight the great jazz talent we have here and around Rochester, I'm also going to be highlighting the local and regional artists for each day. You can find some of their links on my Rochester Jazz Artists page):

  • Rochester Area High School Jazz Bands @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage Presented by The Community Foundation, 4:30 and 5:15
  • Bob Sneider & Friends @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, 6:00 pm
  • Vince Ercolamento Quartet @ The Rochester Club (Viva Italia Series), 6:00 pm
  • Filthy Funk @ RG&E-Xerox Stage, 7:00 & 9:00 pm (this is a new stage in the parking lot on East and Chestnut next to the RG&E building that will be having free music by local and regional artists).

So whattayawaitinfor? Let me know what you think!  If not, I hope to see you on Jazz Street....

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

So much music, so little time: Picking the Jazz@ Rochester itinerary for XRIJF 2011 begins

XRIJF LogoSince less than a month lays between now and the Tenth Anniversary of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival kicks into gear, I'd better start kicking into gear on this blog's XRIJF coverage as well. As I've done in the past, I'm going to do a series of posts over the next few weeks to set up my "itinerary" for each day of the XRIJF, going into more detail on my picks for each day and why I picked them. The posts make handy-dandy guide for each day of the (for me at least...the XRIJF's guides are pretty good, too). On my picks, I try to do a little digging in the Interwebs to get more of the skinny on the artists (in addition to that prepared for the XRIJF website) so you can decide for yourself whether you'd like to join me (figuratively, that is...) or seek your music elsewhere that night. I don't suffer from illusions that my choices are somehow "better" than yours... just perhaps different? My itinerary is at best rough sketch as I ALWAYS end up changing my mind on the fly after hearing word on the street, being too ambitious in making it from one venue to another, lines, or just deciding that I'd rather spend more time with friends who are hitting a particular artist who wasn't on my "list".  

Jazz Street imageReading the posts here on the blog is not the only place to find our material about the Festival. You can also find it on Jazz@Rochester on Twitter and Facebook, where you will find additional links and other material (dare I say  bonus?). Speaking of Twitter, I've started building a Twitter List of artists who will be appearing at the 2011 XRIJF, so hope you check it out and follow that (please let me know if you know of any of the other artists who will be at XRIJF who are on Twitter). Of course, I can't be sure that they'll tweet or that it's actually them doing the tweeting.... I'll also be posting links about this year's XRIJF artists and retweeting things posted elsewhere about the festival on Twitter. For those of you who are already on Twitter, I encourage you to get into the conversation about this year's festival by using the hashtag #XRIJF. Let's start a conversation about the festival and generate some buzz beforehand, eh? Those who aren't on Twitter, I hope to have a widget prepared to highlight the "tweets" about XRIJF so you can get a taste. On Facebook, we'll share some of the same links that are going to Twitter, but hope you use it to engage each other in a conversation about the festival, the artists, etc. with each other as well.

See you soon with the first post of "picks" for Day One, June 10th! I encourage you to engage me on my picks and let me know in the comments what you think and what you've decided to do with that evening's possibilities (be nice, however...). 

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

Only one month to the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival? The Jazz@Rochester coverage begins ...

XRIJF logoIt's getting warm outside (finally!) and the mind of Jazz@Rochester turns to thoughts of nine days of live jazz and other music in downtown Rochester—the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, which in about one month will begin its June 10-18 run.

It's high time we start our coverage here...This post previews what's coming here over the next weeks until June 10th when the XRIJF begins. As I can't possibly cover it all (and there are others who cover it), my usual course each year prior to the festival is to lay out my own itinerary for each of the days. I will write a series of posts with my picks for each of the nights, the ones I wish I could work into the schedule, etc., and expanding on the material regarding these artists found at the Festival's own site. In addition to setting up a handy guide for myself during the festival, I hope to provide you with some opportunities to hear and find out more about the artists to guide your own choices during the festival. I will gather these posts into a set of links that will be displayed under the XRIJF logo in the panel to the right to make them easy to find.  I should get going on these shortly after Wednesday's live jazz listings post. 

Let's get to talking about the 2011 Jazz Fest! I encourage you to be vocal in the comments to this and the following XRIJF posts (although please be nice...). What do you think about my choices and what are you going to try to see?  I hope also to start conversations about this year's lineup and artists on the Jazz@Rochester page on Facebook and on the Jazz@Rochester Twitter account (use the hashtag #xrijf to help us all to follow the conversation on the latter). I will be gathering as many of the artists coming to the festival who have Twitter accounts onto a XRIJF 2011 Twitter list (follow the list between now and the festival and please let me know if you know of any I have missed, although I'm just getting started with that). If you're going to be writing about the festival on your own blog, let me know so I can give you some link love and further expand the conversation.

So, go ahead... talk amongst yourselves... We'll see you later on these pages and on Jazz Street!

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.

You want a Club Pass for XRIJF 2011 ... fahgettaboutit!

XRIJF logoAs I noted on Twitter and Facebook on March 5th, Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival’s announced today that the Club Passes for the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Festival have sold out, which is much earlier than any previous year and even prior to the Club Pass Series lineup being announced.

Individual tickets to all Club Pass Series shows will be available at the door for $25 per person per show at Kilbourn Hall and $20 per person per show for all other shows. Entry to all Club Pass Series shows is first-come, first-served with the Pass or tickets purchased at the door. Individual Club show tickets are not available in advance. To keep these types of individual tickets available, the festival promoters limit the number of Club Passes sold. “Several thousand passes were sold, a few hundred more than last year, and sales were brisk from day one,” said Marc Iacona, Producer and Executive Director, continuing:

While we could keep selling passes we intentionally limit the number so that people who choose not to buy a pass can purchase tickets to single shows at the door. We are thrilled that the popularity of Club Pass Series has grown each year. We say that the exciting part of this series is, ‘It’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know,’ and this year’s early pass sell-out certainly reflects the following that the Club Series has built over the years.

For the 2010 Festival, more than half of all Club Passes were sold before the end of December and the remainder sold out before May.

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

Eastman School going to woodshed jazz history during XRIJF in June

taxedo.comAs recently announced by the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, a new course “Introduction to Jazz History” will be offered by the Eastman School of Music for those attending the jazz festival concerts who want to “go deeper” into the roots of jazz. Offered in the afternoons the week of June 13-17th, the course will be taught by jazz pianist, Paul Hofmann, who is a graduate of Eastman and instructor in the Eastman Community Music School. The non-credit course is offered as an Eastman School of Music Summer Institute and is open to all interested adults and to students who are already matriculated at a college.

Each of the five days will highlight (in chronological/historical order) a particular style/era of jazz including some of the major personalities and works:

  • Day One: Early New Orleans Jazz, including the Jazz Age (1920s); Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, etc.
  • Day Two: The Swing Era (1930s), including Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Art Tatum, etc. 
  • Day Three: Modern Jazz, part one (1940s and early 1950s), including Bebop (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell) and other schools which were offshoots form that (Lennie Tristano, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, etc.)
  • Day Four: Modern Jazz, part two (mid 1950 through late 1960s), including Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Jackie McLean, Charles Mingus
  • Day Five: Jazz since 1970, including Chamber Jazz (especially the West German record label ECM), Jazz-Rock (Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea, Pat Metheny Group) and the resurgence of Hard Bop (Wynton Marsalis)

While not a complete history of jazz and clearly sticking to history, not the present, this should be a good introduction to those of you who want to learn more. ESM says no prior knowledge of jazz needed, just a general love of and interest in the music. No materials required either.  You are encouraged to apply immediately as the course is limited by the capacity of Hatch Hall.

Here are the particulars:

  • Introduction to Jazz History
  • June 13-17 (Monday-Friday), 1-2:30 p.m 
  • Room: Hatch Hall 
  • Tuition: $180/noncredit
  • CRN 19779
  • Adults only

To register for this class, fill out and send in the form on the XRIJF website's press room.  Note: No housing available. Registration only available for the full five-day course. Application forms should be mailed to: Registrar’s Office Eastman School of Music, (XRIJF Intro to Jazz History), 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY 14604-2599.

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

Headliners announced for 2011 10th Edition of XRIJF

Producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona today announced five headliners for the 10th Edition of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival to be held June 10-18, 2011.

  • Grammy Award winner Natalie Cole will perform on opening night, Friday June 10. 
  • The Fab Faux (a Beatles tribute band) plays Saturday June 11. 
  • Bela Fleck & The Original Fleckstones performs Tuesday June 14. 
  • k.d. lang takes the stage on Thursday June 16. 
  • Elvis Costello & The Imposters, plays on Friday June 17 (ask him about Scorgies)

All performances will be at 8 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Tickets for headliners go on sale Friday January 21 at 10 a.m. Prices range from $35 to $125 plus Ticketmaster service charges (online service charges will vary. Only $1 service charge at The RBTL Box Office at The Auditorium Theatre, East Main St). Tickets may be purchased at the website, Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 and all Ticketmaster locations and in person at the Auditorium Theater Box Office, 885 East Main Street Rochester, NY 14605. 

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