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Exodus to Jazz kicks off the new season

On Saturday night, Dianna and I went to check out the first show in the Exodus to Jazz Series. Series promoter Jose DaCosta began the series with Rochester's own Paradigm Shift, who appeared with vocalist Annie Sellick and small and young brass section. Annie sang on Paradigm Shift's most recent CD, Street Expressionism, and her set with Mel Henderson and the guys was fun and gave me a chance to experience a jazz singer who, before hearing PS's new CD I had not heard before (other than that CD).

A young white woman in dreadlocks and a red dress, Annie Sellick was full of life and good stories, both in song and in between song banter. She hails from Nashville, but the Southern lilt disappears in song as she worked her way through her set. Dianna thought Sellick sounded somewhat like Nancy Wilson and I can hear some of that. She started with a tune "Soulful Dress" off her new CD A Little Piece of Heaven, which Annie was nice enough to send to me before the gig (thanks, Annie).  With a funky, New Orleans beat, the song had the woman at the next table up dancing with my wife before it was over.  Paradigm Shift was their usual grooving selves and it was a treat to hear Gerry Youngman playing a full B3-style organ; he was really cooking.

Another reason I wanted to write this post is to encourage my readers to get out and support this series.  Jose is bringing some incredible talent to Rochester (check out Ron Netsky's review of the series in City).  During the first set at 7:00 pm at least, a number of no shows ticket holders left the middle seats in the downstairs club in VENU mostly empty. Jose's all about the music and, while he had the $ from the tickets, what he really wanted was to share his love of this music with actual people in those seats. I just hope the 9:15 set had a better response (it looked like it was heading that way, but perhaps someone will let me know how it went?). The artists did all right (heck, I've seen the Paradigm Shift guys play to a house of 3). However, if Rochester can't get out and support this music more consistently we won't see much more of it. OK, climbing down off my soapbox now . . . .

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

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