A Brit, a Finn and some guys from Denmark...That's my last night. Putting the "International" into the Rochester International Jazz Festival. A musical explorer like myself revels in this stuff. As I suggested in the "Intro" post, while there were a lot of "repeats" for me and less "must sees," which on first blush might make me think that this year's festival was lacking, after picking my itinerary I'm not so sure that I won't come out the other end feeling that I've made some great discoveries. I'll let you know, of course.
A couple of recent XRIJF developments to point you to. The festival is now smartphone ready. They now have a mobile site that will be very handy (including for me...) during the festival. With help from a local company they're even going to have QR Codes around for those of you that are using QR scanners to get info about the festival. It's automatic if you access rochesterjazz.com from a smartphone, but if you want, check out the particulars. Additionally, This year's festival will feature a new courtyard entrance to the Verizon Wireless Big Tent complete with a living wall garden, and tables and benches for enjoying food and relaxing. The garden, created by Waterford Tilling, is called Sustainable with Jazz—A New Environment with Music.
So, at long last, here are my picks for the ninth and final night of the 2010 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Saturday, June 19th:
- Gwyneth Herbert Quartet @ Max of Eastman Place, 6:15 pm. A singer that crosses between jazz vocalist and singer-songwriter, Ms. Herbert's voice is strong and her choices of songs intriguing. I would prefer to see her in the more intimate surroundings of Max tonight than on the 18th. There's a lot to see and hear out there on her website, MySpace page, and a launch site for a new album to start. You can also check out her singing live on videos of her singing I Want You Back (a Michael Jackson tribute) last year, her first gig in Paris in 2008, and a festival gig in Poland in 2006.
- Mikko Innanen & Innkvistio @ Nordic Jazz Now @ Lutheran Church Of The Reformation, 7:30 pm. I missed Mikko with the band Delirium at last year's XRIJF, so would like to run over and try to this major player in the Finnish jazz scene. Although I know little about Innanen and his music (pretty much what I'm linking to here), he seems to be an artist who stretches himself while still firmly rooted in the jazz tradition's forms for saxophone. A couple of videos sort of show this: One from a 2007 club date in Finland and another that is more out there. More on Inannen's website and the band's MySpace page.
- Ibrahim Electric @ Montage, 10:00 pm. As with some other years, I will close this one out with a offbeat Danish group that typifies this festival. Described by one of their YouTube video uploaders as a "hammond-surf-jazz-afro trio", this group sounds like it will be a lot of fun to end to my festival this year. There is a MySpace page, a press package (PDF), but you should check out the videos of them playing to get an idea of the intensity of their live shows, such as the "highlights reel" from a recent appearance at the Copenhagen JazzHouse and one of them doing Borat, also in Copenhagen. Looks like the Montage will close XRIJF for me with a heavy groove.
If my quirky choices above don't yank your crank and you're craving some of that more straightahead sound (and this year it is in pretty short supply) you may want to catch the Scott Hamilton /Harry Allen Quintet (Kilbourn Hall, ESM, 6:00 & 10:00 pm). While this is likely to be a great show, I've heard Harry Allen recently and was just not feeling it this year. Or try one of the many other choices, including Smash Mouth or Tinted Image on the outdoor stages.
In addition to the great high school jazz groups that appear on the Jazz Street Stage starting around 3:45 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 Saturday include:
- Kids Jazz Jam Session & Workshop with Bob Sneider & Friends @ Eastman School of Music, Room 120, 2:00 pm. Started last year, I think, kids are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam on standards with Bob and other artists and ESM faculty. Suggested repertoire for this year is: Tenor Madness, C Jam Blue, Rhythm Changes (Oleo), St Thomas, So What, Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Straight no Chaser, Mr. P.C, and others.
- Rochester Metro Jazz Orchestra @ Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent, 6:00 pm.
- The Lawnmowers @ City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage, 6:00 pm.