Here are my picks for the third night of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Sunday, June 13th. The first Sunday night is going to be one of discovery as I'm unfamiliar with most of the artists performing. It's not who you know, it's who you don't know as the RIJF folks are always saying.
My plans are for the third day of the XRIJF to proceed as follows (however, on nights like this, my actual itinerary will be influenced by what I hear in the crowd, my friends, and even my level of fatigue):
- Listen to the high school jazz bands while getting a bite to eat (and beer, of course).
- Chuchito Valdes @ Montage, 6:00 pm. I love Cuban jazz and will always opt for it when presented a chance. I hope to see more artists from Cuba now that the blockade of Cuban music has been lifted (or has it?). Chuchito Valdes, son of Chucho, grandson of Bebo, led the seminal Cuban group Irakere founded by his father for a couple of years. I've found a recent article on Chucho in JazzTimes that provides some insight into his music and family, and a video of an encore performance of Besamé Mucho from 2007. Listen to more of his music on Chuchito's MySpace page.
- Charnett Moffett Trio @ Harro East Ballroom, 7:15 pm. I may catch the last part of Moffett's 7:15 set. His first name is an amalgam of his father Charles Moffett Sr. and Ornette Coleman, whose trio the elder Moffett was a member. Learn more about Moffett at his website and hear his percussive style of playing in this video of Moffett performing off his most recent CD The Art of Improvisation.
- Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba @ Verizon Wireless Club Pass Big Tent, 8:45 pm. I love African music and have been to several concerts where the Malain kora was featured. Now it's the ngoni's turn. As with Mamadou Diabate, the kora master, Kouyate is using traditional instruments and carrying on the tradition, while also making the modern and even rocking out a bit. You may want to bring your dancing shoes to this as it's in the Big Tent, not the seated audiences of Kilbourn Hall. You can sample some of Kouyate and Ngoni Ba's music on MySpace and in this video made during a recent appearance in Timbuktu. He's even got a Facebook page.
- Katie Thiroux Trio @ Max of Eastman Place, 10:00 pm. I'll close out Sunday evening with the quieter sounds that usually emanate from the Max at Eastman stage, although with Katie Thiroux that's not a foregone conclusion. There have been a number of young, female bassists with excellent chops coming on the jazz scene recently. Esperanza Spaulding appeared here at RIJF a couple of years ago; Linda Oh hasn't been here yet but has been generating some buzz. I've not heard Ms. Thiroux before, but look forward to her set. As a relatively youngster (born in 1988), she has a pretty extensive Internet presence to explore her sounds. You can learn more about her on her website and Myspace pages, and this video of Take the 'A' Train. As a bassist and singer, Ms. Thiroux has been a known quantity since high school.
The new series of Italian artists at the new Rochester Club venue on East Avenue (I'm sure some of you have been to a wedding in their space) will swing into the festival with the Antonio Ciaccia Trio. Ciaccia is well worth hearing and I would have tried to work him in if I hadn't heard him at a previous RIJF. You might also want to catch the two Russian offerings: Dmitry Baevsky Quartet at 6:30 and 9:00 pm in the Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza and singer Viktoria Tolstoy (yes, that Tolstoy... she's his great-granddaughter) at 6:00 and 10:00 pm in Kilbourn Hall, ESM. She'll also be appearing at the Church of the Reformation on June 14th.
In addition to the high school jazz ensembles, other local jazz artists who will be appearing include: Jack Allen Big Band at the Verizon Wireless Club Pass Big Tent and the Eastman Jazz Performance Workshop Honors Unit 1 at the City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, both at 6:00 pm. Again, the Smugtown Stompers will play at 2:00 pm on the Mary Jemison boat on the Genesee River.