Jazz@Rochester calling in . . . from movies at Eastman!
I wish I'd thought of that earlier....

Loosening up and rolling with the changes ... Day 3 of the Rochester Jazz Festival

Took in a movie to start the third day of the Rochester International Jazz Festival.  WXXI filmed some great bands in Rochester in the 1970s when they performed in a restaurant on top of Midtown Plaza. I caught a bit of Count Basie and his Orchestra. It would be cool if these were presented outside of the festival, if possible.

After leaving the movies, I was trying to decide what my next move would be.  Dianna had told me that if she was going to go see something it would be John Scofield, but it would be the later set, so I had planned on seeing Dharma Jazz in Max at 6:00.  I heard on the street (OK, it was Seth...) that one of that group's key ingredients had taken ill and would not be at the gig, so we all went over to Montage to catch Howard Alden. As Ron Netsky points out in City's Music Blog, Alden "is a keeper of the flame. No fuzz, loops, or wah-wahs for him, just fingers that can fly over the fretboard like nobody's business." Alden did the soundtrack for Woody Allen's movie Sweet and Low Down and ended up teaching actor Sean Penn how to play guitar so he could be more convincing (Alden joked that Penn was his most successful student).  Alden played a number of standards backed by a superb bassist Jon Burr and drummer Rob Garcia. I stepped out before the end and called my father from the bar area to wish him a happy Father's Day.

Although Alden ran late (he started late, too...) we made it to the church on time and saw Danish pianist Jacob Anderskov. Since I had not listened to Anderskov before, when he set down to play his set, I had a sinking feeling that his was going to be more of a new agey sort sound. That feeling was immediately dispelled. Anderskov built intricate soundscapes that interlaced often beautiful melodies with freer and discordant figures. While I was having some issues with fatigue that really took me out of the space I need to be in to really listen to such intricate music, I'd like to hear more of him when I'm in that place. Seth was transfixed by Anderskov's playing; Ken thought it reminiscent of Keith Jarrett's solo work.

After that the initial "plans" sort of went by the wayside and we improvised from there.  We couldn't get even close to the tent to see Alison Brown Quartet and were too late to see Faroe Islands favorite Yggrasil over at Christ Church, so we sat down in front of the Jazz Street Stage and took in JazzKamikaze. While they were excellent musicians, these Norsemen almost sounded a bit too 80s for us who went to college in the early part of that decade.  However, they were a lot of fun and had the crowd going pretty good (including "Festival Guy") until the sky began to open up.  Ken, Seth and I made it to our cars before the crowd knew what hit them and headed over to the after-hours since it was early so we could get a good table, have a beer, and possibly do a podcast.  Listened to our meanderings this morning . . . won't inflict that on you, although it was fun talking anyway.  We did hear some good music with Pat Labarbera, Howard Alden, and others sitting in. Yggdrasil was sitting right up front with members of his group, but did not play. Of course, festival producer John Nugent came in and sat in and brought up his partner in the Stockholm Jazz Festival who also plays sax, so we ended up having a Three Tenors thing going.  We didn't catch the last set, but I think the sax player from JazzKamikaze played as well as some others.

Other voices about Sunday night:

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

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