The XRIJF starts tonight and JazzRochester will be there... let the music begin!
The second night of XRIJF ... a night that almost wasn't (at least for me...), but happy it was!

First night of XRIJF 2018 was a trifecta ... plus my picks for Day 2

00202827-5EBD-4696-9613-86E84147FED1I was quite worried before the music began yesterday.  So much going on in my brain, I barely slept on Thursday night. Things started to click into place when I took a tour after emerging from the garage, poked my head into “Jazz Street” and saw the preparations and familiar faces I always see, and then I hit my “office” at Havana Moe’s on East Ave, worked on the blog and watched the crowds start to arrive.  It really clicked in when the music began.

A quick recap from last night...

  • The first show of the night was Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez, two incredible musicians with deep roots in Cuba and its music.  I had seen both play with groups separately, but hearing them together was a wonderful way to start the 2018 XRIJF. I suspected it would be, which was why I made a exception to wanting to hear new artists this year (and my love of the music of that island).  Both are such consummate musicians, both throwing flurries of notes and also pulling back and playing delicate figures. The connection between these two musicians was palpable.  
  • Hoofed over to the Lutheran Church for Marius Neset.  Another good choice. Neset and his quintet were on fire at times.  Although Neset’s saxophones were up front, his band stretched out throughout the performance. The band was tight. the music was not simple, with shifting tempos and time signatures. As often happens in the Nordic (and now Euro) Jazz series at the Lutheran Church, there was a standing O at the end.  For good reason....
  • I headed over to Christ Church for the first Made in the UK Series gig with the Will Vinson Trio.  Vinson noted that while English, he’d been “marinating” in the States for awhile.  He was celebrating release of a new bass-less trio recording, It’s Alright With Three, and brought along guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Ziv Ravitz.  Hekselman was outstanding.  Vinson and the band filled that huge space with sometimes anthemic sounds. 
  • I actually was able to get into The Wilder Room for the Sara Gazarek Quartet. It was SRO, with the reconfiguration of the Wilder Room seeming to reduce the amount of space (although moving the bar out outside must have created more space?). Vocalists are not my thing most of the time and while she has a wonderful way of putting together a song and her voice is beautiful, I slipped out the back after  the first few songs of her set.

So what’s on for tonight? Lemme see...

  • Django Bates Beloved Trio @ Christ Church
  • Sigurdur Flosason @ Lutheran Church of the Reformation
  • The Bad Plus @ the new Temple Building venue

Depending on timing, weather, etc., I may trade off to see Mwenso & The Shakes or the late show of Gypsy jazz group Des Sourcils.  On the other hand, I’m finishing up this post in Van Bortel Subaru. We were out near the dealership for a graduation party and water began to pour into  the passenger side of the cabin from the dash.  So, it may be that my “grand plans” will be dashed ... with a fat repair bill to boot.  


This post was originally published on JazzRochester.


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