A light night for me on Day 3 of XRIJF, but not light on music
A little mix of XRIJF and the other live jazz in town (Live jazz in ROC, June 25-July 1)

And now for something completely different on Monday at the XRIJF....

For most of this year's Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, I've been avoiding artists whom I've heard before, especially those I've heard multiple times. Such is not the case with vibist Joe Locke, who grew up in Rochester before heading out into becoming a major jazz artists. I go to hear him every time he's here for a few reasons: His personal connection to this city always leads to a lot of energy when he plays here and he always brings something different. Locke always has new projects in the works and I love the way these projects take on a theme. This year he brought his Love is a Pendulum project, a suite of songs inspired by Barbara Sfraga's poem of the same name. All based on stanzas of the poem, which he read before playing, the suite ranged from the ebullient and powerful to quiet and beautiful. The other reason I hear Joe play every time he comes to town is that he always brings a kick-ass group of musicians with him. The concert in the 2015 XRIJF in Kilbourn was no exception, with his long-time collaborator Terreon Gully on drums, Richard Rodriguez on bass, and the incredible Robert Rodriguez on piano.

And now for something completely different.... I hoofed it over to the Lutheran Church to catch the Eivind Opsvik Overseas group. While their powerful cacophony was challenging for many of the audience members, closing my eyes and listening closely I found so much structure in that seeming chaos. Other of their pieces had a powerful groove. Although it was intense, it was satisfying....

And now for something completely different... I had intended at first to go hear Jane Bunnett's Cuban group, but after hearing many on the street talking about the great performances they were hearing from singer Kat Edmondson, I decided to head over to Montage to catch her final of four performances in two venues at this year's XRIJF. I'm pretty sure a good portion of the audience had been to the three previous performances (and perhaps saw her last time she was at XRIJF)! After the intensity of Overseas, her quirky voice and wonderful songwriting provided a great counterpoint and an object lesson in how much diverse, great music you can find at the festival.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.


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