Posts from September 2006
Paraphrasing Scott Hetsko, the weatherman on Channel 8, "here are the next seven days of your (jazz) life":
Thursday, September 28
Friday, September 29
Saturday, September 30
Sunday, October 1
Monday, October 2
Tuesday, October 3
Wednesday, October 4
It took awhile to recover from my own experience at the 2006 version of the Rochester International Jazz Festival and then, as those of you who read this blog, my time for posting was severely limited by other commitments and I never really ran across reviews from outside of Rochester. Recently, however, I ran across the review "Rochester International Jazz Festival Comes Of Age: A Report on the 5th RIJF" published on AllAboutJazz. In the July 25th review, Robert Iannapollo (a local writer and part-time staff at the Bop Shop) writes:
With its fifth edition, the Rochester International Jazz Festival has come of age. With attendance up 20% over the previous year, the event has become a boon to local businesses and an event of civic pride, one that the city can get behind. More importantly, it has done so while still being an event of artistic merit, one that doesn’t sell its audience short.
* * * *
. . . It’s hard to believe this is all happening in an upstate New York city that has been through some genuinely difficult financial times with its major industries moving to cheaper climes. The RIJF is not cure but it’s a healthy bit of infusion this city needs.
Of course, I’m not naïve and I can’t see urban planners calling for jazz festivals as the remedy to decaying urban centers. But it seems to be helping Rochester, bringing in people from the suburbs who are spending money AND having a good time. And with Nugent pulling quality music from all ends of the jazz spectrum, there’s a strong creative pull in what is really quite a creative city with a strong, unique blend of various musical, visual and literary arts.
Iannopollo's article and a 3-part review also published on AllAboutJazz together form a great overview of RIJF 2006 and a worthwhile read. This festival is developing into one that is gaining respect and interest worldwide. Before and during the festival this blog had hits from all over the world and there were many languages spoken on Jazz Street during the 9 days. While, like Iannapollo, I don't think it is a panacea for what ails Rochester (that runs much deeper), I think that it has the potential to be a catalyst for change, especially downtown.
For a combination of improvised jazz and dance, check out internationally-known dancer Bill Evans, who is appearing with the Rod Blumenau Trio on Friday, September 29th. The event starts at 8 p.m. in the Ingle Auditorium, Student Alumni Union, at Rochester Institute of Technology. Tickets are $6 for students, $14 for Faculty/Staff/Alumni, and $20 for the general public, and are available at the SAU Candy Counter or, if available, at the door. Call 585-475-4121 to purchase by Visa/MC. I've seen Evans perform a number of times. He is a wonderful dancer and this should be a real treat.
If you caught the Sun Ra Arkestra, of course sans Sun Ra, at Milestones a few years back, I thought I'd show you what you missed with the brother from another planet missing from the lineup. I ran across this YouTube video of Sun Ra performing at the 1981 Chicago Jazz Festival.
You gotta give him his props, he knew how to throw a show.
What really flipped me out was that I WAS THERE! I was flipping through some jazz on YouTube and . . . wait a minute . . . there's something familiar about this (I know, how can you say that about Sun Ra, I don't know). Enjoy!
We have finally achieved a full 7 days of jazz after quite a few weeks where Monday and Tuesday were distinctly devoid of jazz like sounds. Here are the listings, courtesy of City Newspaper for your listening pleasure:
Thursday, September 21
Friday, September 22
Saturday, September 23
Sunday, September 24
Monday, September 25
Tuesday, September 26
Wednesday, September 27
The Mambo Kings are appearing this Friday night at Immanuel Baptist Church as part of the Jazz at Immanuel series of concerts put on by the Park Avenue church to support the restoration of the historic church. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Suggested donation is $10 for adults and $5 for students. A student ensemble from Hochstein will be opening the show. Call 473-7664 for more information. If you're jonesing for more jazz after the Afro-Cuban stylings of the Kings, head on over to The Clarissa Room to see the Bill Tiberio Group. They'll start up around 9:30 p.m. and play until 12:30.
You may be familiar with Jason Crane through his stint as a on-air host on WGMC Jazz Radio 90.1, his Jason Crane Show weekly podcast about the arts and activism, his blog (which recently also went through a transformation), his activism and his Green Party run against longtime incumbent Lois Geiss's seat on the Rochester City Council. What I didn't know until recently was that Jason Crane has been writing reviews for the jazz webzine All About Jazz. I recently ran across Crane's review of the 2006 Rochester International Jazz Festival, which I thought had a great approach—make a mixtape. As Jason writes in the review:
In fact, [the RIJF] had so much music that it created a bit of a problem for this review. How do you fit 9 days, 600 artists and more than 100 shows into 1,000 words? For the answer, we turn to the world of hip hop: You make a mixtape. If you could get bootlegs of the performances from the festival, the following tracks would be the standouts. So put on the headphones of your mind and check out these new classics on your very own Rochester Improv Mixtape.
Although the choices still must have been difficult, Crane lists 17 "tracks" of the standout performances of a broad range of performers at the 2006 RIJF. It's a great way to present the diversity of the festival. I have no quarrel with any of his choices and heard almost all of them during the festival.
Now if I can get all of these on MusicMatch....
In a recent posting on the Jazz 90.1 JazzList on Yahoo Groups, Tom Kohn of the Bop Shop CD (and LP) store in Village Gate is leading off his Fall season of jazz and other music by presenting Bassist Michael Bisio and his Quartet on Monday, September 18th at 8pm in the Bop Shop Atrium. There is an $8 suggested donation. As Kohn points out, Bisio:
[I]s no stranger to the Bop Shop. He's played here several times: back in 1996 with Charles Gayle, 1999 as a member of Joe McPhee's Bluette and most memorably in a wonderfully intimate duo concert with Joe McPhee in 2000. But we've never presented him leading one of his own ensembles. So we're really excited to present his quartet to lead off the fall season of Bop Shop jazz concerts.
The Fall lineup is available on the Bop Shop's website, so check out the whole thing. Tom consistently presents some of the most provocative and diverse music and has had a great influence on the lineup of the Rochester International Jazz Festival.
Mike Melito dropped me a line to let me know that the Bill Dobbins Trio, Mike included, will again be playing at The Little Cafe, beginning this Saturday and (since I'm getting this in a little late for this Saturday...sorry Mike) continuing
every Saturday through October. They will be playing from 7:30 to 10:30. As always, there is a $5 per table minimum at the Cafe.
Jazz@Rochester has learned that saxophonist Jimmie Highsmith, Jr., will celebrating his birthday this Saturday, enjoying one last bash before the cold weather kicks in. There will be free hors d'oeuvres and birthday cake. Check it out at tbe Julius Cafe, 543 Thurston Rd in the 19th Ward, September 16th, from 6:00-9:00pm. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $15 day of the show. For more info, call (585) 279-9285.
Here are the jazz listings for the next week, live from the City Paper:
Thursday, September 14
Friday, September 15
Saturday, September 16
Sunday, September 17
Monday, September 18
Tuesday, September 19
Wednesday, September 20
Guitarist George Benson and recent RIJF sensation Raul Midon are coming to Rochester on October 15th at 6:00 p.m. to perform at the the Jazz for the Park benefit for Wilson Commencement Park at the Eastman Theater. The Wilson Commencement Park is a community designed to help break the cycle of poverty and help families develop assets to help build stability in their lives and develop economic independence. Regular tickets at $25, Preferred at $35, and Patron tickets at $100 (which includes a post-concern reception), are on sale now through Ticketmaster. This is a great opportunity to hear some wonderful music while also giving something back to the community!
Bill Tiberio dropped a line to let Jazz@Rochester know that the Bill Tiberio Group will be one of the acts in an all-day Musical Jam in honor of the late founder of The Clarissa Room, John Starr, tomorrow, Sunday, Septemer 10th. Their time slot is at 5:30 for about an hour. As Bill notes "John was a huge supporter of musicians in Rochester, and his children are trying to keep this fantastic music club going." If you've never been there, this club is the real deal and in addition to being a great neighborhood bar has always been about the music. Apparently, the club is opening around noon to get this thing started, although call first for details. The Clarissa Room is at 293 Clarissa St. in the Corn Hill area of Rochester. Phone: 585.325.5350.
So here are the inaugural listings at the new site, courtesy of the City Newspaper, for jazz in and around Rochester, New York for the upcoming week:
Thursday, September 7
Friday, September 8
Saturday, September 9
Sunday, September 10
Monday, September 11 & Tuesday, September 12
Wednesday, September 13
It occurred to me the other night that the Montage Grille has apparently passed (again) from the Rochester music scene. As far as I can tell, it went under quietly following the tragic circumstances that occurred there in July of this year. It's not he first fade out for the Montage; it has happened before. In the pages of the earlier incarnation of this blog, I noted much about the Montage and it has been a love-hate relationship (for example see here, here and here). However, the music I've heard there has been some of my greatest music experiences, rivaling the best I experienced in Chicago. Of course, as you can see by my postings from past Rochester International Jazz Festivals, the Montage was where most of the artists I wanted to see played. In addition, I've seen a rich diversity of music there over the past few years, including: Thomas Mapfumo, Alejandro Escovedo, Maria Muldaur, and John Hammond.
Although the business plan of Montage was never completely clear (am I a restaurant, am I a bar, am I a club?) and it sometimes enforced really bizarre policies about reservations for dinner trumping everything else in seating (OK, it's not that bizarre for Rochester), while it clearly tried to book a truly diverse selection of local and national acts from all ranges and styles of music, including some great live jazz, unlike any other club in town.
Like so many others, I didn't get out to see enough there, so I too share in the underlying causes of its demise. However, there is another factor that contributed to its end—fear. By connecting the tragic death outside the club to the music playing inside the Montage, it seems that Police Chief David Moore probably sealed the deal on the Montage by connecting it to violence. The Chief tried to recast the violence in terms of a battle between two separate hip-hop camps (calling to mind the well-known feuds in rap music that have lead to deaths) with absolutely no evidence or thought of how it might affect a viable business in the heart of downtown Rochester. He then made it clear that there would be no hip hop music without clubs giving the city advance warning. The music was not the cause of the shooting death that occurred outside the club (apparently after it closed); the many causes of the behavior of individuals that resulted in that death are known and they are not attributable to music.
What does this have to do with this blog that is focused on jazz music? For starters, we may have one less venue for the RIJF, with another major leap in growth in attendance likely to occur. Additionally, while jazz was not the Montage's main focus, its programming included some great jazz artists throughout the year. Water Street may be picking up some of the slack (quite alot so far), but fewer venues will lead to less, not more. Moreover, in order for the City of Rochester to rekindle a lively and vibrant downtown, it will need to nurture places like the Montage, which was one of the few anchors in an area of dowtown that needs businesses to survive in order for those plans to work. I heard nothing about this after the article on the shooting and I pay attention to these things. Did I miss something? What happened? If you know the real story, please comment to this post.
Added 9-16-2006: Well, this post may have been somewhat premature. As I was adding a comment to ROCWiki to let people know that they were no longer there, I gave the Montage's phone number—(585)232-1520—a call to see if it was still in service. It was and there was an announcement dated September 15th about their Grand Re-Opening weekend ands a Save the ROC benefit being held this weekend.
This Friday the Moutin Reunion Quartet will be returning to Rochester, playing this Friday, September 8th at the Water Street Music Hall. You may have caught their performance at the Montage during the 2005 Rochester International Jazz Festival, which was described in a short City Newspaper note as "some of the hardest driving music of the festival." The interplay between the two twin brothers while playing is consistently described as "symbiotic." Based on my reading about them in Downbeat and other reviews (but alas not on my own experience...yet), a review of a January 2006 gig at the famous Yoshi's in Oakland, California, in the blog FOJAZZ sums up a Moutin Reunion Quartet performance well:
Exhibiting an electrifying four-way tension that copped free-jazz energy while staying resolutely in-the-pocket, the quartet packed more vitality into each of the set's five tunes than many groups manage in a full evening.
You can also read a review of a 2004 Moutin Reunion Quartet gig in D.C.'s Blues Alley here. It should be a real treat.
As you can see from the new calendar (if you follow the link to the full calendar at Trumba, that is), there are a number of jazz artists booked into Water Street through the end of the year as they take up the slack left by the apparent final demise of the Montage Grille (more on that later). None of the acts currently scheduled could be called tame or quiet, but I'm curious how the sound will work in the cavernous Water Street. On the other hand, I've seen some great music there as well.
Tickets are $20 and are on sale at Ticketmaster and Aaron's Alley on Monroe. Let's get some people out for this so that they keep coming! We'll be there.
Bob Sneider dropped a line into the JazzList sponsored on Yahoo Groups by Jazz 90.1 to give us a heads up on some jazz events at the Strathallan Hotel in addition to the regular Friday-Saturday gigs there by Sneider and his friends, including:
- Gerry Niewood—Bob describes Niewood as a "legendary saxophonist woodwind wizard" on Friday and Saturday, September 29 & 30, 8:30PM to midnight. Niewood will be performing with Bob and friends.
- Richie Vitale, whom Bob describes as "one of NYC's finest trumpeters," Friday and Saturday, October 6 & 7, again joined by Bob Sneider & friends.
- Jazz Guitar Summit featuring John Stowell, Steve Brown, and Bob Sneider on November 3 (more information later).
One new feature of the new Jazz@Rochester is the ability to integrate a lot more of what's out there to make this blog more interesting and useful. The free blog host Blogsome, while providing quite a lot of flexibility in design, etc., still was limited in how much I could do.
One thing I'm trying is an Upcoming Events calendar over in the left panel, using Trumba. I won't be putting EVERY jazz gig going on in town into this calendar as that would be WAY TOO MUCH WORK. Instead, I hope to give advance notice of upcoming live jazz events that have been announced in the future or highlight gigs by artists on tour or from out of town. By clicking through to my Jazz@Rochester calendar on Trumba you have a number of options, including downloading the info into your calendar, setting email reminders or text message reminders to your cell, sending an invite to your friends, etc. We'll see how it works (let me know what you think in Comments to this message).