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Posts from June 2007

The 2007 Rochester International Jazz Festival Comes to Life . . . Day One

As you can hear in my moblogging meanderings in the multiple posts on June 8th and the wee hours of the 9th, I put about 10 hours into Friday's opening night of the Rochester International Jazz Festival and, strangely enough, was up and ready for more by late Saturday morning.  The evening started out with an early arrival around 4:00.  I always try to get there early to see the place fill up with people and watch the transformation from Gibbs Street to "Jazz Street".  John Nugent, Marc Iacona and other staff were bouncing back and forth through the street fixing last minute details.  Unfortunately, early in the evening there was an accident at one of the food vendors in which two of the vendor's employees were seriously injured, one with 2nd and 3rd degree burns.  Mostly everyone that night didn't know that had happened; the only evidence was the vendor was not open.

About 5:15, I joined the line for Geri Allen Trio at Kilbourn Hall and, after Dianna showed and we went in, we were treated to a fantastic opening set for this year's RIJF. The excitement in the air as Kilbourn filled up was palpable.  Ms. Allen's mastery on the piano was complemented her band, which included drummer Jimmy Cobb, a man who has been an icon of jazz longer than I've been in this world, and Kenny Davis on bass.  A short time after the set ended, Ms. Allen invited Dianna and I into the heat of her backstage green room for an interview. It was a first time for me and was a wonderful experience, thanks to Geri Allen's graciousness and the thoughtful insights she offered about the performance at Kilbourn and what she drew from the audience, her music, and the experience of playing jazz.  I recorded it for a podcast and hope to offer it here after the festival.

Walking in the cooling rain remaining from the thunderstorm that had just passed, I met up with my friends and fellow bloggers Ken and Seth as they departed the Peter Asplund set at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation and, after a short time with Canada's The Shuffle Demons in the Big Tent (it seems to be getting bigger each year, eh?), we headed over to Max's at Eastman Place to catch bassist Esperanza Spalding. She seemed transported as she hunched over her travel bass playing with attitude but offset with her beautiful lilting vocalese.  She's all of 22 and has all the attitude you'd expect of her youth, but that attitude appears to be backed up with musical talent and an intelligence about the music (as evidenced in the videos I posted links to earlier).

After Spalding's set was over and the crowds left, Ken and Seth and I recorded the podcast that I posted earlier today.  I was then cajoled to head over to State Street Bar and Grill for the after hours sets hosted by Bob Sneider.  The music was good, although not too many of the artists joined in this first night and I cut out just after 1 a.m. and went home to bed.

Check out some other thoughts on the first day by Ken, Seth, Ron Netsky and Frank DeBlase (also here) in the City Newspaper. You can also follow new blogger Tracy Kroft-Symonds as she Twitters around the RIJF.  Feel free to leave your thoughts on the first day in the comments to this post.

I'm going to resume my posts on the rest of the festival (starting with June 13th) tomorrow.  Now I have to get my stuff together to head over to Jazz Street for Day Two!


This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Inaugural podcast of "Da Jazz" . . . Day One of the 2007 RIJF

My friends Seth and Ken, whom I met through blogging the Rochester International Jazz Festival, and I are pretty much just some regular guys who like to write and are geeky enough to do it online.  Last year we came up with an idea to just sit around and talk about our experience of the RIJF and record that and put it up on the blogs as a podcast.  In our minds we were going to be something like Bill Swerski's Super Fans for jazz.  Just three guys sitting around a table—let us know what you think about your first day of the RIJF in the comments.

Da Jazz!, No. 1

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Ring, Ring . . . Moblogging from the RIJF

This is a live update from from the Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester, NY.  Click on the bar to find out . . . it may be an interview on the street, suggestions for the later shows, updates on crowds and lines, and other things to allow you to experience some of the RIJF even if you're not here.

Live Update from RIJF

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Ring, Ring . . . Moblogging from the RIJF

This is a live update from from the Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester, NY. Click on the bar to find out . . . it may be an interview on the street, suggestions for the later shows, updates on crowds and lines, and other things to allow you to experience some of the RIJF even if you're not here.

Live Update from RIJF

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Ring, Ring . . . Moblogging from the RIJF

This is a live update from from the Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester, NY. Click on the bar to find out . . . it may be an interview on the street, suggestions for the later shows, updates on crowds and lines, and other things to allow you to experience some of the RIJF even if you're not here.

Live Updates from the RIJF

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Ring, Ring . . . Moblogging from the RIJF

This is a live update from from the Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester, NY. Click on the bar to find out . . . it may be an interview on the street, suggestions for the later shows, updates on crowds and lines, and other things to allow you to experience some of the RIJF even if you're not here. Live from RIJF

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Some Bones and Beyond . . . The RIJF on June 12th

If it's Tuesday, this must June 12th, another day of the Rochester International Jazz Festival. Here are my picks for this evening's festivities:


Trombones....right?  While out tonight, I heard that Tom Kohn of the Bop Shop thought this funky group fronted by four trombones and a tuba was one of the things not to miss during the RIJF.  May get my ears pinned back from all that hot air shooting out of the bell of the bones, but Tom doesn't often steer me wrong and I need a bit of fun here in the midzone of the RIJF.  They are fun.  In addition to their website, try the sounds on their MySpace page.

Trio Beyond (John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette & Larry Goldings)

0ne of my forays into the Eastman Theater will be for Trio Beyond, who are opening for Jean Luc Ponty (we'll see if I stay for him although there will be somewhat of a nostalgia pulling me there as I used to listen to him quite a lot 20+ years back).  I'm really going to see the Trio, who are touring for their new release Saudades, which pays tribute to the late Tony Williams’ fusion group Lifetime. It will be interesting to see a trio fill the space in Eastman, but I've got a feeling they'll be up to it.  You can check out a review of Saudades on There appears to be a minute of their music from the North Sea Jazz Festival on YouTube.

It Gets A Bit Difficult to Choose After That . . . . 

After coming out of Eastman, I may go over to the tent and catch some of the set by locals Paradigm Shift, who are appearing with special guests Gray Mayfield, Marcus Printup and Wycliffe Gordon. Guitarist Mel Henderson and keyboard player Gerry Youngman are usually are playing at the RIJF, but often it is just one or two of the Trio backing another artist like Dr. Lonnie Smith.  I've never seen them play with Mayfield, Printup and Gordon, although I can imagine that it will be fantastic as I've heard the same lineup on their disk.  Then again, I may also try to catch the Nordic Jazz Now set of the Five Corners Quintet or Kyle Eastwood or try to get a bit of all three.

OK, tonight I'm running out of steam and the darn festival hasn't even begun.  Right now, I'm going to bed so I can make it through today (yes it is after midnight).

See you on Jazz Street for the opening day of the Rochester International Jazz Festival!!!

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Straightahead Takes a Break . . . Some Diverse Choices for Monday, June 11th

On to the acts I've "penciled in" for Monday, June 11th of the Rochester International Jazz Festival.  There is no Eastman show tonight. Here are my picks:

Mamadou Diabate Ensemble

I saw Mamadou Diabate in the 2005 version of the RIJF and was mesmerized by this master of the kora. I'm hoping that my wife will be able to hear the ensemble this year.  Check out videos of a performance of Mamadou and the Ensemble here and here.  Frank DeBlase gives his take over at City Newspaper and the RIJF, of course, has a writeup.

Robin Eubanks EB3

While I have a sweet spot for the trombone of Wycliffe Gordon, whose playing always amazes me, it will be a treat to hear Robin Eubanks and his group EB3 for a counterpoint as I understand his music with them skews toward newer forms, utilizing electronics to bend and sequence the 'bone a bit. Check his MySpace page out to listen to some of it for yourself.  Eubanks has made a number of podcasts available.  I've also found a video on YouTube that has Eubanks discussing EB3 and the playing the music to give you a good taste of what you're in for when you go.

What Else Is There . . . ?

My "midzone" Monday night is sort of up for grabs and will depend on my mood and some other factors at the time (can't program everything as that actual detracts from enjoying the festival).  Although they're a bit "out there", I may catch another Nordic Jazz series act, Midaircondo.  However, perhaps Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks will be the ticket for some of that Folk/Country Swing thang.  On the other hand, perhaps I'll be in the mood for the Thundering Herd of sax players of 4 Brothers 7. If you want to catch someone local, check out Vince Ercolamento Quartet.

We'll be here all week.... See you for the 12th tomorrow!

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

RIJF Isn't the Only Jazz In Town . . .

Yes, there will be jazz heard in other places than "Jazz Street" at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.  Not everyone in town was invited to play at the festival.  Artists and groups, please feel free to let me know if one of your gigs isn’t on here and I’ll try to add it to the post before the gig happens. Email subscribers should check back here to see if there has been an update or revision before you make decisions on jazz to see (you won't get an update email).

By the way, you won't see any of the listings for the RIJF in this post. There are many other places to find that.

Thursday, June 7th 

  • Matt Valerio @ The Grill at Strathallan, 6:00 pm
  • Lumiere @ Little Theatre Cafe, 8:00 pm

Friday, June 8th 

  • Paul Hoffman Duo @ The Grill at Strathallan, 5:00 pm
  • Joe Romano w/the Bill Dobbins Trio @ The Grill at Strathallan, 8:30 pm

Saturday, June 9th 

  • Paul Hoffman Duo @ The Grill at Strathallan, 5:00 pm
  • Mike Kaupa Quartet @ The Grill at Strathallan, 5:00 pm
  • Shared Genes  Bistro, 30 Main Street, Webster NY, 6:00 pm and at the Mona Lisa Cafe, 809 Ridge Rd, Webster, NY, 8:30 pm
  • Steve Greene Trio @ Little Theatre Cafe, 8:00 pm
  • Cangelosi Cards @ Tango Cafe, 389 Gregory St, 9:00 pm

Sunday, June 10th 

  • Nope, nothing here . . . but of course, then there's the RIJF

Monday, June 11th 

  • Ted Howe's Back Alley Jazz Band @ Country Party House, 321 Linden Ave, 8:00 pm (sponsored by the Flower City Jazz Society)

Tuesday, June 12th 

  • Devoid of jazz like sounds . . . except, of course, at the RIJF Bendings and Breakings @ Boulder Coffee Co. (Alexander and Clinton), 8:30-10:30 pm

Wednesday, June 13th 

  • The Margaret Explosion @ Little Theatre Cafe, 8:00 pm

OK, not so much.  But if you're jonesing for some jazz and can't get down to the RIJF Jazz Street, there's something out there.  I'm sure there's more out there.  Let me know and I'll try to add it.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday . . . June 10th at the Rochester International Jazz Festival

So, what should I listen to on Sunday, June 10th of the Rochester International Jazz Festival?  Here's what I decided:

Fred Hersch Trio

Pianist and composer Fred Hersch seems to be all about taking jazz in interesting directions, like in 2005 when he collaborated with singer Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry to set Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass as a jazz oratorio. The RIJF site has a extended bio.  A review of his new album Night and the Music can be found on  I'm hoping to talk with Fred Hersch during or after the festival, so check back.

Benny Golson with the Antonio Ciacca Trio

It's pretty hard in this year's line up to find artists who are truly worthy of the term y".  Benny Golson is one of those artists.  This guy wrote Killer Joe, for chrissakes, along with 7 other major jazz standards.  Read the notes on the RIJF site and find out just how much of Mr. Golson's output you've heard over the years.  Benny's backed by the Antonio Ciacca Trio. I heard Antonio Ciacca the RIJF a few years back—we're in for a treat.

Nordic Jazz Now Presents Lotte Anker

I'm going to try to fit in another Nordic Jazz Now performance if possible.  Sunday night's fare is Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker.  The music is challenging, much freer than the other artists I'm hearing this night, but that's one of the wonderful things about the Rochester festival.  If I'm in the right frame of mind, such freer styles of jazz (like contemporary classical music) allow me to concentrate on just the elements of the music and playing. To get a flavor, check out the videos (there are links at the bottom of the RIJF site page for Ms. Anker. Ken Waxman's 2006 review in the webzine One Final Note also has some insights into her and her music.

If There Were More Hours between 6 and 10...

I'll probably have to miss locals Footnote (formerly Urban Transit) and Toronto-based Afrobeat group Mr. Something Something (see their MySpace page for some cuts to listen to) or Lalo (or her RIJF page here).

On to June 11th . . . . See you tomorrow (it's getting late).

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Day Two of the Rochester International Jazz Festival . . . A Picture of Diverse Programming

On to Saturday, June 9th . . .  Here are my picks for the second day of the Rochester International Jazz Festival. There is a wide range of new jazz sounds available on this night of the festival:

Randy Brecker Quintet

I'm more familiar with Randy Brecker from his work in the 1970s and with Steely Dan and Paul Simon, but according to some items I'm reading he is an excellent bebop player with a funky streak (which fits nicely with my music needs on the second day). According to the RIJF site, he will be appearing with young Italian saxophonist Ada Rovatti. There's more information on and

Tiempo Libre

I always make an effort to hear the Latin jazz bands that hit the RIJF; there's something about the heat of summer and the heat of these bands that gets the endorphins pumping for me.  This Grammy-nominated band from Miami plays timba, a danceable variant of Cuban son music that is familiar to those of you who have heard the music of the members of the Buena Vista Social Club. They'll be playing a ballroom (Harro East) and perhaps some folks will actually get up to dance—an all to rare occurrence (although not unseen) at the Festival. Check out their page on the RIJF site. Here's a Tiempo Libre video of them doing Manos Pa'rriba (Hands in the Air) from YouTube. It should be hot, especially at the late show.

Tessa Souter

I heard that I should to try to catch Tessa Souter at Johnny O'Neal gig for the Exodus to Jazz Series.  Her bassist Essiet Essiet was playing with O'Neal. The cuts (two of them apparently live) and influences on Ms. Souter's MySpace page highlight her crystal clear voice and the interesting and challenging material she chooses.  Her RIJF page is here. Anyone who lists as influences Milton Nascimento, Wayne Shorter, Mark Murphy, Andy Bey, Sarah Vaughan, Jon Lucien, Shirley Horn, Miles Davis, Joan Armatrading, Sandy Denny, Pentangle, Sheila Jordan, Bill Evans, Mansur Scott and tons of others is alright with me.

Nordic Jazz Now Presents Zanussi 5

Not sure I'll be able to fit Zanussi 5 from Norway into the programming. Like some of their predecessors in Nugent's Nordic programming, this group is about mixing it up moving from freer styles to pure swing. You can listen to some cuts on their MySpace page.

Just Can't Fit In...

Again, I'm afraid I'm going to miss the gypsy jam jazz of the Stephane Wrembel Trio.  I'll also have to regrettably take a pass on the Paul Tillotson Love Trio. Locals The Mambo Kings will be playing this night as well if Tiempo Libre isn't enough Latin jazz for you.

On to June 10th . . . .I'm already feeling tired.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

It's 2am and You STILL Want Jazz? . . . Catch Some Local Rochester Talent at the Flat Iron Cafe

I've been saying for a long time that there needs to be something during the Rochester International Jazz Festival to sate the jazz needs of folks who are just not ready to stop (and many of whom have taken days off or are on vacation here in Rochester) that would highlight some of the great talent we have here.  According to the website for the Flat Iron Cafe at 561 State Street (585.454.4830) and Aaron Staebell, who plays drums with the Bill Tiberio Group and his own band Bending and Breaking, there will be live jazz at the Cafe starting at 2 am, conveniently when it wraps up at the Crowne Plaza Hotel with Bob Sneider each night just down the street.  Aaron's group will be playing on June 11th and 13th starting at 2 am (and at 8:30 pm on the 12th at Boulder Coffee). I don't know who else is playing, but will update this post as I find out more. Added June 7th: The 2 a.m. dates up there were a bit misleading as Aaron communicated them to me as if they were part of the preceding day (for someone of Aaron's tender years this is not unusual ), so in reality, the 2 am gigs at Flat Iron Cafe that Bending and Breaking Aaron Stabell Trio will be playing are the the mornings of the 12th and 14th.  Here's are the listings now on the Flat Iron Cafe site:

After Hours Jam Sessions at the Flat Iron Café during the Rochester International Jazz Festival. No cover charge.

Quinn Lawrence Trio will be playing following:

  • RIJF Friday, June 8th, from 2 am Saturday until ?
  • RIJF Saturday, June 9th, from 2 am Sunday until ?
  • RIJF Sunday, June 10th, from 2 am Monday until ?
  • RIJF Tuesday, June 12th, from 2 am Wednesday until ?
  • RIJF Thursday, June 14th, from 2 am Friday until ?
  • RIJF Friday, June 15th, from 2 am Saturday until ?
  • RIJF Saturday, June 16th, from 2 am Sunday until ?

Aaron Staebell Trio will be playing following:

  • RIJF, Monday June 11th, from 2 am Tuesday until ?
  • RIJF, Wednesday, June 13th, from 2 am Thursday until ?

Now, what about some more alternative venues for after hours?  While I understand the reasons that the main event is down at the Crowne Plaza, I expect the crowds at this year's after hours sets will hit the tipping point.  I'm still going to check them out, but it's nice knowing that alternatives are at least beginning to be in the mix.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Art Loves Jazz (Take Two) . . . Angela Rossi Exhibit at the Baobab Cultural Center

Just a reminder that the "Jazzed emotions beyond time and space…" exhibit continues at the Baobab Cultural Center, at 728 University Avenue in the Art Walk neighborhood has opened and will be presenting a series of artworks by Italian artist Angela Rossi entitled Icons of Jazz, is a collection of 41 works on Plexiglas depicting jazz artists from Miles Davis to Lady Day.  This week there are two events for this exhibition:

  • Tomorrow, June 5th starting at 7 PM there is a lecture on the history of Jazz by a Rochester jazz aficionado, composer and musician, and RIT faculty member, Carl Atkins. This is open to the public, although seating will be limited.
  • On Thursday, June 7th from 7 pm-9 pm there will be a talk by the artist. By invitation only.
  • There are other events later in the month until the show closes on June 30, which are detailed in my earlier post here.

    Gallery hours are 1-5 pm Wednesday to Sunday, or by appointment. Community partners of the Baobab in this presentation of Rossi's work are The Commission Project, Casa Italiana, Nazareth College, The Italian American Community Center (IACC),  Provincia dell'Aquila. For details and to RSVP, contact Moka Lantum at 585.820.6403 or via email at AT

    This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

    On Day One, Everything Starts . . . Day One of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, That Is (with Apologies to the Guv)

    Friday is the start of over a week of live jazz here in the Flower City. For nuts like myself, it can't get much better than this. Here are my picks for Friday, June 8th, the first evening of the Rochester International Jazz Festival. First, though, I want to try to describe the spirit in which these "picks" and those that will follow over the next days are offered.

    As you can tell from reading the blog, I don't profess to be a jazz aficionado (whatever the hell that means), nor do I have the chops to go toe-to-toe with the pros in the jazz criticism pit, but I like to think I have an open ear and I know I have a love of the music in so many of its forms. My picks are based on a complex algorithm of my musical tastes and interests, the artists I've heard before, the timing and sheer luck of getting in to see 3-4 shows in one night, and a number of other factors such as how much time I'll have to get a beer between one and another location (I expect the Nordic series will be dry) and whether my wife Dianna wants to join me.  I hope that if you choose to go to one of these on my recommendation that you come out pleased or challenged by the discovery you (and perhaps I) have made. To that end, I'm more interested in what you all think of these artists and their music, so feel free to comment here after the gigs to let me know what you thought.  On with the picks (my times will be subject to change, so won't be included):

    Geri Allen Trio with Jimmy Cobb

    I'm looking forward to hearing Geri Allen and her Trio including drummer Jimmy Cobb and, if the same as other recent gigs Ms. Allen, Daryll Hall or Rasheen Carter on bass. She appears at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall. RIJF has a nice write up. Ron Netsky has also written a nice Spotlight in the City Newspaper.

    Nordic Jazz Now Presents Peter Asplund Quartet

    I've enjoyed the artists from Northern Europe that John Nugent, who also produces the Stockholm Jazz Festival, has brought to RIJF (I guess I should also mention those brought here through Tom Kohn of The Bop Shop), finding some new sounds and musicians that have since become part of my listening habits.  Everyone on this year's list is unknown to me and I'm going to try to catch as many as possible.  The first gig of the Nordic Jazz Now series in the new venue of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation will be Peter Asplund and his Quartet. Check out his write up on the RIJF site.

    Mike Mainieri & Steps Ahead

    The vibraphonist Mike Manieri and the jazz/fusion of Steps Ahead holds the midpoint and I'll catch him at another new venue, Harro East Ballroom; that is, if I don't end up seeing King Solomon Burke and Raul Midon with Dianna (haven't made that decision as of this writing). This "special edition" of Steps Ahead recently did a gig at the Iridium club in NYC if you want to check out the lineup and a quick review. Check out the page on the RIJF site.

    Esperanza Spalding

    I've been hearing some good things about bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, a young new artist who has worked with a wide variety of artists including Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, Regina Carter and Pat Metheny. She's playing at Max's at Eastman Place (which by the way is no longer called that, but I digress...) and I'd like to try to catch one of her sets. You can check out her RIJF page here. There is a short interview with her on the Bass Player site. Showing her age, you can check a video on YouTube with Ms. Spalding talking about her new album Junjo, a short clip from a concert in NYC, and a another of an interview with JazzWise Magazine.

    Just Can't Fit In...

    Some others I'd like to see but just won't work into the schedule would be Jonathan Kreisberg Trio, the gypsy jam jazz of the Stephane Wrembel Trio, and the wildness of the Shuffle Demons.

    On to June 9th . . . .

    This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

    So Much Information . . . So Little Time . . . Sources for RIJF 2007

    There are a lot of sources for information about the 2007 Rochester International Jazz Festival and the artists who will be playing there.  I'm just one guy and while I hope you hang out here and check out the offerings, there are some other voices out there, including regular media and other bloggers who I hope you'll also check out.  I'll try to gather them all here in this post to make sure you know where to look. They are covering the festival in different ways and will be covering different artists as well, so we'll try not to repeat what they are doing.

    Of course, the first place to turn is the RIJF site itself.  As noted elsewhere, you'll want to have the Festival Goer's Guide at hand for planning purposes as it has a lot of information on the logistics. The site also has the programs that will be passed out at the festival available as PDFs.  The Artist Line Up has a great calendar with links on each artist's name to a page on the site that provides background information on the artist and the artist's music.  Some of them have mp3s to download and listen to (although sadly not stream directly) and find out if the artist's music will not send you running for the door. This is also where you'll go for official announcements about the festival.

    City Newspaper is another location, both online and in print, that aims to have a lot of information about the RIJF this year. Their site has been revamped since last year so check it out.  In addition to the guide published in last Wednesday's edition (I expect City is reprinting it on June 6th), City is focusing its online content at (the URL of which resolves to this location on their main site). City Newspaper already has put up a short blurb for each artist appearing on each day of the RIJF, written by their music writers Frank DeBlase and Ron Netsky, plus some longer pieces spotlighting some of the artists appearing at the 2007 RIJF festival. They say they will be blogging as well; however, there is no URL mentioned so far and the one that I had from last year no longer resolves (apparently due to the site revamp).  I hope that City's new site (or how they've configured the blog) allows for their writers to engage in more of the social media side of blogging and that they learn to link to those that have provided them so much "link love" in the past (hint).

    The Democrat & Chronicle, had a number of articles in today's paper on the festival, with features throughout the Living Section (which are posted here, which appears to be where their special coverage will be located) and an article (only available for 7 days) in BusinessLife about RIJF producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona, as the paper calls them the "Jazz fest's dynamic duo," and the economic results expected from the festival and highlighting the pair's commitment to this community.  I expect that they will continue the great video highlights and photographic essays that were such a great addition to last year's coverage. I don't know whether they will also be doing nightly podcasts.

    There are also my friends Ken over at the blog and Seth over at the blog I met these two guys through their great writing about their experiences at the RIJF a few years back.  They will be writing about the festival and like me already have begun. We're planning some special things together during the festival, which will be available on all of our blogs. I also expect that Jason Crane will be doing some posts and great interviews from the festival either (or both) on his blog and his podcast site The Jazz Session (like the recently posted one with jazz critic and writer Doug Ramsey, who I mentioned was in town here and the one with Nugent and Iacona here). I expect my new friend Tracy Kroft-Symonds over at Rochester Music Scene (and Heard) will also be hanging out on Gibbs (er...Jazz) Street and will be writing about her experiences at the festival. I hope that we'll have a chance to meet in person this time.

    Added a bit later at 8:30 p.m.: I am sitting here listening to University of Rochester radio WRUR as DJ Mark Grube on his show What's New is playing tracks from some of the artists who will be appearing and realized that I was missing another important source.  You should be checking out the jazz shows on WRUR and especially on WGMC Jazz 90.1, which will be all over the festival with live programming from "Jazz Street" and, I expect, RIJF-oriented programming during the day.

    Of course, I hope you drop by here to check out my coverage of the festival. There are going to be some new offerings as well as the usual fare:

    • Seth, Ken and I hope to do some podcasts from the festival.  We will try to do one next week to "test" our equipment.  If it's even close to worth listening to, we'll share it.  We'll be exploring what we've been hearing and giving you the impressions of just some regular guys who love the music.  Again, we expect that they will be (also mercifully) short.
    • I will be doing some "moblogging" live from the festival, letting you know real-time my take on shows I'm seeing and whether they are a can't miss for the later show, as well as providing observations about the festival, audiences, and whatever else I think you might want to know.  They will be mercifully short.
    • I hope to be interviewing some selected artists at the festival about their experience of playing the festival and Rochester. These will be posted either as audio files or written during or after the festival.  More about this later.
    • Starting tomorrow, I will be writing one post a day with my initial picks for who I'll be seeing at the RIJF this year until I run out of days (which should be around Friday-Saturday).  If I get all prolific on the writing, I may post them sooner.  I won't try to go where City and others have already gone, but rather will link to them and try to gather some additional information on the artists from other sources to give you a "one-stop" place to find out about them.
    • I will be posting throughout the festival as I can about shows I've seen and other things I think you might find interesting (I still will be at the day job during the festival).  I'll try to let you know what else is happening as the working jazz musicians of Rochester who aren't part of the festival do their gigs elsewhere, some of which will be after hours and should provide you places to check out if you can't get into the State Street Bar & Grill for the "official" after hours gig.

    I hope to hear more from readers this year.  Tell me what you think and how you're experiencing the festival. See you on Jazz Street at the festival in Rochester, NY!

    This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

    Hoof on Over to the Tango Ballroom for Some Swing Live from NYC...

    Local dance organization Groove Juice Swing is bringing a New York City band, the Cangelosi Cards, to Rochester on June 9th from 9 to midnight at one of Rochester's surviving (and recently renovated) mid-19th-Century ballroom, the Tango Café at 389 Gregory Street in the South Wedge downtown. Cover is only $10. According to Groove Juice's announcement, the Cangelosi Cards currently perform daily in NYC and are:

    [E]xceptionally rhythmic and melodic, and focus on the early jazz repertoire of Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhardt, pioneers of American music." The Tango Café Ballroom is newly-renovated, and one of Rochester's last remaining ballrooms from the great age of live music and dance! Who wouldn't want to dance on a freshly re-finished 150-year-old wood floor? It's like butter. Built in 1857, the ballroom is complete with air conditioning, filtered water, and its own 1923 McPhail grand piano.

    Groove Juice Swing specializes in Lindy Hop instruction and offers classes, sponsors workshops and provides venues for dancing to great swinging jazz.  If it weren't smack dab in the RIJF, Dianna and I might be checking this one out with our paltry swing dance skills.

    This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

    What Happened to the Banner...?

    I finally have given in to my conscience and removed the banner based on the wonderful image taken by jazz photographer Bob Parent of Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk performing at the Open Door Cafe, in NYC on September 14, 1953. You can find more about Bob Parent and his photography at this page on  Now that Jazz@Rochester is moving into a new era, I thought we could go with a bit of a new look, without all those issues with copyright (...did I tell you I was a recovering lawyer?).  I've done a bit of other re-arranging as well.  Let me know what you think...leave a comment.

    This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

    RIJF Gets All Cultural Like . . . Jazz Fest Events at Other Rochester Institutions

    This year, the City of Rochester is sponsoring an expanded Museum and Gallery Series connected to the Rochester International Jazz Festival. The series of concerts and other events will be presented in six unique cultural venues in Rochester, including: the George Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester Public Library, and the Sam Patch Packet Boat. RIJF Producer and Executive Director Marc Iacona notes in the press release that "[t]he series adds a fun dimension to this year's festival and is a great way for families and people of all ages to see and celebrate some of Rochester's greatest cultural attractions while enjoying some fantastic music." All events are free of charge with seating on a first-come, first served. For information on the artists please visit the RIJF site.

    This post was originally published on JazzRochester.