Eight for eight so far... another diverse journey for JazzRochester's ears on the 2d night of the RIJF
From "weapons of mass percussion" to a trio of trios, the 4th night of the RIJF brought the goods

And on the 3rd Night of the Rochester International Jazz Fest, we went off the (previously mapped) path...

On Sunday night there were some changes to my prescribed movements though the music at the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival, which resulted in some discovery and, as with the first two nights, a great night of music.  After my knees decided a walk to Geva and back was not a great idea, here's the path I took:

  • Stefon Harris Blackout: I could have left after this concert and just gone home satisfied with my night. Harris brought a great band to Kilbourn Hall including one of my favorite drummers, Terreon Gully, who just tore up the kit, and a great bassist who we hear with many of the top-shelf bands, Ben Wiliams.  The set opened and closed with high energy burners, with Stefon Harris alternating between a xylophone and marimba, the latter that was outfitted with lower note sound tubes that curled back toward the audience like an exhaust pipe of a chopper. In between some of the numbers, Harris waxed poetically about bringing empathy to the world through jazz, which has that quality at its core (he also chatted very charmingly about his two "babies" who are way out of diapers).  Toward the end of the first set, Harris called out to the audience to get 4 notes to completely improvise around and proceeded to do so solo before the band kicked in and they finished us off... a dangerous thing to do in an Eastman School of Music facility.
  • I love soul jazz and wanted to hit the Russell Scarbrough Soul Jazz Big Band on the Jazz Street stage, which I thought was supposed to start at 7:30 according to the schedule.  After leaving Kilbourn Hall, my friend and I went to get some street meat (Marty's) and sat and ate it, hearing a band play.  We thought it was the ESM group that was supposed to precede the Soul Jazz band.  Apparently they started early?  By the time we got over and realized what was going on we had missed half the set... but we caught the half with soloists guitarist and Eastman prof Bob Sneider and jazz flautist Ali Ryerson.
  • I just had to slide over to the Christ Church to hear a bit of Kit Downes improvising on the church's Craighead-Saunders replica baroque organ.  It was too unique and opportunity to miss and while I was unable to stay long for it, the bit I heard was sublime...
  • Somehow I've been doing this jazz thing for years and never really got to know the music of multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, who I finished up the third night with at Max. With a great quartet including pianist Helen Sung and bassist Martin Wind, touring with a new album that features his main instrument, the tenor sax.  Before the concert commenced, Robinson was presented with 2 awards from the Jazz Journalist Association's Ed Trefzger (one for multi-instrumentalist and one for most unique instrument used in jazz). His set was full of small asides and banter with a dry humor, which started by explaining his hat, like a straw boater, but made out of reeds from his woodwinds.  As the band romped through some of his, Wind's and other compositions, I was wondering why I hadn't heard him before... he has such a rich tone in his playing and his music was both beautiful and complex. 



Now we start the march through the week toward the final two days of crazy crowds and exhausted ears.  Although my ears are fine, the rest of my body may need some rest soon, so the schedule that follows is, shall we say, "fluid":

  • Cyro Baptista (Geva Theatre, Wilson Stage)
  • Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (M&T Pavillion Squeezers Stage) (I may pass through this on my way to another...)
  • Kari Ikonen (Lutheran Church of the Reformation)
  • Enemy (Christ Church)
  • Paa Kow (Montage Music Hall)




This post was originally published on JazzRochester.


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