The second night of XRIJF ... a night that almost wasn't (at least for me...), but happy it was!
XRIJF Day 4: Where were you, JazzRochester?

XRIJF Night 3: Another great night of music!

ChristiansandsOver the years, I've developed what I've come to call "A Kilbourn night," which means that I start out in Kilbourn Hall and that sets up the rest of the night pretty well.  Usually, I leave Kilbourn and go over to the Nordic/Euro Jazz Now series at the Lutheran Church, then catch some of the Made in the UK Series before heading over to the Montage or Max's at Eastman Place to end the evening.  With one slight change to give some support to my friends in Paradigm Shift in a long-awaited return to XRIJF, that was last night's pattern.  Another very satisfying night of music was the result.  Here's my notes on what I heard:

  •  As I waited in the Kilbourn line around 3:45 for my early entry wristband for the first set of One for All, I noticed that many of my line mates were known to me as straight-ahead jazz fans (some to the exclusion of anything else ....). That's exactly what they got ... in spades.  One for All is a sextet that formed in 1997, with jazz stars Eric Alexander on tenor sax, Jim Rotondi on trumpet, Steve Davis on trombone, David Hazeltine on piano, John Webber on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums. Some have compared One for All to 1960s-era Blue Note jazz and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Every one of them are consummate musicians, leaders in their own right, and they've been playing together for a LONG time, so they're tight and seem to enjoy making music together.  The crowd went wild as they burned through a set with plenty of solos and the great big sound that a sextet with that instrumentation can bring.  
  • I count the members of Paradigm Shift as true friends and was happy when I found out that they had finally been brought back to the Rochester jazz festival after an absence of quite a few years. The trio, with guitarist Mel Henderson, Gerry Youngman on organ and drummer Sean Jefferson.  Last night they were joined by Brian Thomas (now in Boston, but grew up in Rochester) on trombone and Jared Sims on bari sax.  Their set was full of those Paradigm Shift originals I hear a lot with the trio when they play around Rochester, but with the added funk and umph of horns, and originals by Thomas and Sims.  They had a good crowd on Jazz Street and there was much head bopping going on.  I hear the second set had dancers as well.
  • I headed from there over to Christ Church and caught some of the 18-piece Beats & Pieces Big Band.  These young guys from Manchester, Liverpool and other places in the UK so packed the stage that I'm afraid from my vantage point I couldn't get all of them in the image I shared on social media!  Big band, big sound in that cavernous sanctuary. It was the band's first time in the States. Saw three members of the band at the "office," which I hit at the end of the night to hang with my buddies in Paradigm Shift. They're heading to Toronto today and they were excited that they might be able to stop and check out Niagara Falls.  Their music was modern reminded me of some of the things I've heard from Darcy Jame Argue's Secret Society, with some rock guitar thrown in with the big band sound. 
  • Left Christ Church and headed over to end the night with the Christian Sands Trio. At least 1/3 of the packed audience were also at the first set. Christian Sands has been the pianist for Christian McBride's trio, but is a born, self-assured leader himself. The young cats he brought with him, Noah Jackson on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums were fantastic support as the trio burned through a set with Sands' dazzling piano in front. The highlight for me was an arrangement of "Over the Rainbow" that was both grounded in that standard and explored many new facets (and some other songs) as the trio rollicked through it. 

Tonight, I'm afraid, I have to sit out the XRIJF.  I'm not feeling well and think it better that I rest these old bones than come down for my usual night of music and over-indulgence.  I'll be on the interwebs, though, and share what I find on Twitter, etc., but tomorrow's post will be just the picks for Tuesday.  If I had come out, I was looking forward to:

  • Zara McFarlane at the Made in the UK series at Christ Church
  • Jane Bunnett and Maqueque at the Temple Theatre
  • Trail of Souls at the Nordic/Euro Jazz Now at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation

If I could have worked out the schedule, I might also get over to hear Moon Hooch at the Montage. I'd also recommend Joe Farnsworth Quartet featuring Eric Alexander. I saw them at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago when I was there on business in April.  


This post was originally published on JazzRochester.


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