After sitting out the prior night, and still feeling a bit rough at several times throughout the night, I hit the XRIJF for the fifth night. Last night was a good example of one thing I love about the festival... it is "and now for something completely different" every time you move from venue to venue and pass through the streets within the footprint of the festival. Here's how it went for me:
- I started out at Kilbourn with the Joe Locke Group. Happened to run into Joe in the alley behind Kilbourn after his sound check and said hi. He told me I'd really love what he put together this year. That's one reason I go to Joe Locke's performances at the XRIJF. I tend to try to get out to hear those whom I haven't heard before. As a Rochester native, Joe has been here quite a lot, but he always brings something different every time he comes. This time he came with a band he has come to call "his tribe" as he enjoys making music with them so much, the core quartet from his new Subtle Disguise CD. He also brought with him vocalist Paul Jost, who sang an arrangement of Bob Dylan's "Who Killed Davey Moore." The group was then joined by great Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith for "Red Cloud," a Locke composition inspired by a book (and stories he heard through his friend Tom Marcello) about the late 19th Century Oglala Sioux chief, with Jost singing and scatting in what at least sounded like Lakota (not fluent, I'm afraid). It was over so soon (partly because Joe likes to talk, a lot, during the set and he had a lot of friends, mentors and others in the audience. Knowing that Rochester audiences like their encores, Joe ended his set with a beautiful composition, "(Safe and Sound) At the Edge of the Milky Way" inspired by dialogue from the Albert Finney movie Orphans.
- And now for something completely different, I headed over to the Lutheran Church for Lucia Cadotsch "Speak Low", with her bandmates Petter Eldh on the double bass (Eldh was also on the base in Django Bates Beloved this year) and Otis Sandsjö on the tenor saxophone. Even with such sparse instrumentation the sound was anything but spare. Tightly intwined Cadotsch's haunting vocals, the trio did modern arrangements of standards from the start with, of course "Speak Low." Near the end of the set, Sandsjö began Mancini's "Slow Hot Wind" with an incredible solo of cascading notes powered by circular breathing, with the notes continuing to cascade after his bandmates joined in. As I've noted before, I'm not big on vocalists, but this was so fresh a take on the standard songbook that I stayed to the end and it was mesmerizing.
- And now for something completely different, I hoofed it over to Christ Church to catch Partikel here as part of the Made in the UK series. Nominated for a 2017 Parliamentary award for best jazz ensemble, Partikel is Duncan Eagles (saxophones), Ant Law (guitar), Max Luthert (double bass) and Eric Ford (percussion). The quartet took a less "wall of sound" approach as a group than some others I heard in that space with similar lineup, which allowed their individual voices to get through. At times etherial and others anthemic, the group filled the space with trippy sound. Had to leave early to get to the next hit....
- And now for something completely different, the music of Tom Waits sung in 3-part harmony by 3 women. Hailing from NYC, VickyKristinaBarcelona, moved through a set of well-known and not so well-known Waits tunes with two (Rachelle Garniez and Terry Radigan) trading off guitar, banjo and accordion, and the third playing percussion and squeeze box (Amanda Homi), digging deep "Down in the Hole" to bring something fresh to Waits great music.
So what's on tonight for Night 6 of the XRIJF if the rain and my health let me ... well, lemme see:
- Starting out again in Kilbourn Hall for Songs of Freedom, directed by drummer Ulysses S. Owens, Jr. and featuring Theo Bleckmann, Alicia Olatuja & Joanna Majoko. This presentation explores the 1960s through the music of Joni Mitchell, Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone. I'm really looking forward to this one.
- I will head over to the Temple Theatre to hear Jazzmeia Horn. I've been seeing her all over the jazz press in the past years, so want to check her out. What's with all the vocalists ... perhaps I'm changing in my old age.
- Will catch the Julian Siegel Quartet at the Made in UK Series in Christ Church.