We head into the home stretch with a wide variation of music on the sixth night of the Rochester International Jazz Festival. We range from a Cuban mix, to Brazilian bossa nova and samba, to a Danish "supergroup," and ending with an edgy and fun groove (or at least it was the last time I saw the group). There's so much on my plate that I'm not sure that I will hold out for it all, but it is a night that has a number of artists who are new to me, but who I look forward to hearing live for the first time.
Here are my picks for the seventh night of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Thursday, June 17th:
- Pablo Menéndez & Grupo Mezcla @ Harro East Ballroom, 5:30 pm. As I stated earlier, I love Cuban music and this will give me a chance to hear some from an artist that has moved Cuban sounds in a different direction. Menéndez, son of blues and jazz singer Barbara Dane, moved to Cuba from Oakland, CA, in 1966 at the age of 14 to attend the Escuela Nacional de Arte and then stayed on there. His music with the septet Mezcla has been described as "funky Yoruba, Afro-Cuban, salsa, bebop fusion...." More on Menéndez & Mezcla at the website, a profile from the website Cubania!. A short clip from the Smithsonian on Latin Jazz includes his playing, but I found a longer "vintage" clip from 1998 of a concert in Old Havana and more recently live in San Francisco.
- Joyce Moreno @ Xerox Auditorium at Xerox Plaza, 6:30 pm. In addition to musica cubano, I also love to listen to the sounds of Brazil, especially bossa nova and samba. Verve's Getz/Gilberto album is one of my summertime (and sometimes winter) favorites. Joyce (who now goes by her full name Joyce Moreno) has left her imprint on this music and the music of her country for more than 40 years. Read more about here on her website. If you read Portuguese, then check out her blog otras bossas. This performances of the song Feminina and A Felicidade should give you a good idea of what you're in store for you if you hit her set.
- Palle Mikkelborg @ Nordic Jazz Now @ Lutheran Church Of The Reformation, 7:30 pm Presented in cooperation with the Copenhagen Jazz Festival Experience, this is not just Palle Mikkelborg, but an all-star group of Danish musicians, including Mikkelborg, Marilyn Mazur, Helen Davies and Mikkel Nordsoe. Trumpeter and composer Palle Mikkelborg has been integral to jazz in Denmark since beginning his career in 1960. Mikkelborg worked with Miles Davis (on the Grammy-winning album Aura), Gil Evans, George Russel, Jan Garbarek and many others. Marilyn Mazur gained her fame as the percussionist for the Jan Garbarek Group, but also has worked with Gil Evans, Wayne Shorter and Miles Davis. She also has a MySpace page. Harpist Helen Davies is known as a folk artist and improviser and has appeared with Mikkelborg on a number toors. Guitarist Mikkel Nordsoe has been performing in the Danish rock/jazz fusion scene for more than 30 years. Can't really show you any video of the group (although all of the sites above should have some music to hear) as the XRIJF will be the first stop on their "common musical journey" as noted in this press release from XRIJF (PDF).
- Get The Blessing @ Made in the UK Series, Christ Church, 8:45 pm. This band started in 1999 as an Ornette Coleman tribute band and are now "heavyweights on the contemporary jazz scene" in the UK. This is their first trip to the U.S., where they'll be playing Joe's Pub in NYC the night before coming up to Rochester. The only video I could find is on their website, and they're also on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook. I hope I can catch most of their set before moving on to ....
- Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey @ Montage, 10:00 pm. Have seen these guys more than once, but not recently and would like to see how they've developed in the past few years. This is a jam band (they've opened for Phish) that is known to play Monk, Abdullah Ibrahim, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Louis Armstrong. Their latest project is re-imagining Beethoven's Third and Sixth Symphonies with a 50-piece orchestra (recently premiering in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (they're from Tulsa), which is about pretty close, within 100 miles, from where I was moving my parents from last month. In addition to their website, they are also on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Found a recent video of them live in Amsterdam in March, which will lead you to many more.
Others you might want to catch if my picks don't seem to fit include:
- Headliner Bernie Williams @ Kodak Hall At Eastman Theatre, 8:00 pm
- Joe Locke Group Featuring Vocalist Kenny Washington @ Kilbourn Hall, ESM. Saw them at Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC earlier this year, so I'll sit this one out, but you shouldn't miss Joe Locke's latest project with singer Kenny Washington.
- Sean Jones Quartet @ Max of Eastman Place.
- Pat LaBarbera Group @ Viva Italia Series at The Rochester Club, 6:00 & 10:00 pm. I've heard Labarbera play a lot at the Strath and elsewhere around Rochester. Well worth checking out, but couldn't get on my dance card this year.
- Nils Landgren Funk Unit @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, 8:30 & 10:00 pm
In addition to the great high school jazz groups that appear on the Jazz Street Stage starting around 4:30 pm, other Rochester-area jazz artists (most of whom have a link on my page for local artists) and Eastman School of Music event that will be occurring on Thursday include:
- Bob Sneider @ Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, Noon (why Bob would be up by noon after a week of late nights at the after hours, I don't know...)
- ECMS Jazz Combo led by Howard Potter @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 6:00 pm