A night of diverse, compelling music at the sixth night of the 2019 RIJF ...
The 2019 RIJF ends tomorrow ... whew, I made it! Here's where JazzRochester's ears were last night

A night of "and now for something completely different" at the Rochester International Jazz Festival ... just like we like it.

For me, the 7th night of the Rochester International Jazz Festival captures what makes the RIJF a great festival—both the diversity of the music and the reason "international" is part of the festival title.  Only two more nights to go, but so far my picks have all been spot on ... for me, that is. Here's what JazzRochester's ears heard on Thursday night, the 7th night of the RIJF:

RIJF2019_Day7-1I started out in Kilbourn Hall to hear the George Coleman Quartet.  Somehow, while I was familiar with many of the Miles Davis and other artists' albums upon which he appeared and remember the great sax solos, I was not as familiar with Coleman.  At 84, one could expect that this would be one of those nights where one of the legendary artists of jazz from the 50s and 60s appeared, but were greatly diminished. Coleman may have needed help on and off the stage and sat in a chair for the concert, but man that cat could blow!  He was joined by a great band, including fellow octogenarian Harold Mabern on piano (who was maybe one of the hardest working musicians at the festival this year, appearing in 3 different venues). Bringing festival Music Director, and accomplished jazz saxophonist, John Nugent on for the first numbers of the set, Coleman proved he came to play.  After a set that went well past the usual 7:00 pm, when the thundering standing O slowed down and the lights came up in Kilbourn, the band started putting their instruments down and milling around, but Coleman was not ready to stop and the band played another number. Encores rarely happen at Kilbourn, but then again after asking Nugent sit in it was probably not a problem, and I’m sure the crowd would have let him play until the 10:00 pm set....

RIJF2019_Day7-2Given that the Coleman gig didn't let out until after 7:20, I needed to hoof over to the Lutheran Church and was there presented with the first "and now for something completely different" experience of the night. DH's Random/Control a trio of Austrians playing arrangements of jazz standards—including Brubeck's Take Five and Ellington's In a Sentimental Mood—but with a twist (well quite a few twist). The instrumentation was unique, effectively a quartet with a piano and assorted reeds, and with bass and drums provided by a Sousaphone, beatboxing, all played by the same musician (plus a kick drum by the piano). Oh, and that same musician also occasionally plays a trumpet and trombone (and didgiredoo) and had some percussion strapped to his knees. The arrangements were inventive and used all this instrumentation to draw something new out of these jazz standards. The full house at the Lutheran for the first set (which is unusual on a week day) was eating it up, giving an enthusiastic standing O.  This band is a great example of why I love coming to this festival. I didn't know what to expect, but discovered something new... and my ears said "Wow"!  

RIJF2019_Day7-3Another venue and another "and now for something completely different" moment with the Elda Trio, who appeared at the Christ Church in the Made In the UK Jazz series. The members of the Elda Trio epitomize the “international” that is found all over this festival with Swedish vocalist Emilia Mårtensson,  Slovenian multi-instrumentallist Janez Dov on accordion (and some electronics), and Brazilian percussionist and composer, Adriano Adewale.  Mårtensson has a bright, clear voice that rang true through the sanctuary (of sound) that is Christ Church. While not particularly jazz, the music was beautiful and compelling, and all of the trio's members were constantly improvising off each other in songs that interwove the folkloric traditions of their respective cultures into something new.  One of my friends who saw them said he often has to leave before the end of the concerts in Christ Church, but he was transfixed at this one and stayed to the end of the thunderous standing O that followed their set. So did I....

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.


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