And away we go! JazzRochester during the RIJF
JazzRochester at the 2023 RIJF: My picks for July 1, 2023

JazzRochester at the 2023 RIJF: My picks for June 30th

© Rachel ZellerThe penultimate night of the 2023 Rochester International Jazz Festival is going to be artists who are all new to me, although there are some alternatives who are well-known to RIJF listeners. I write this after the first night, where I started this year's RIJF by hearing Okan, a group from Canada that plays a high-energy mix of traditional Cuban and Afro-Cuban jazz, and is led by two women who just owned the stage at Montage. That experience cemented that this year I'm going to opt for the "... it's who you don't know" side of RIJF Producer John Nugent's now famous aphorism.  You do you, but here's what I suggest for June 30th:
  • "Manouche" or "hot club" jazz" is a kind of small-group jazz music that sprung out of Romani guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt and his collaboration with French swing violinist Stéphane Grappelli in their group the Quintette du Hot Club de France. Tatiana Eva-Marie is a young singer (from Brooklyn), nicknamed the "Gypsy-jazz Warbler" by the New York Times, is mixing that manouche tradition, incorporating Balkan Gypsy and folk influences, in a ragoût of her French and Balkan heritage. She is currently working on a project, Djangology, reimagining Django's compositions with lyrics and new arrangements. While Kilbourn Hall is not a small, smoky club in Paris, it'll have to do. Tatiana Eva-Marie and her band will grace that stage at 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm.
  • As you know, I like to challenge my ears and the music of vibist/marimba artist Diana Herold and her group Helium that I've heard, although accessible, promises to pulls our ears in different directions from straight up swing to more angular, out sounds. Helium is a larger ensemble (nonet?), the sound of which will fill up the space at Christ Church at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm (that is, if you didn't see them at the Rochester Regional Health Big Tent the night before).
  • Big bands have grown on me over the years. When you hear a really good big band playing music that was built for such large ensembles, and really listen, there is so much going on. Although new to me and rather new to the world as it was founded in 2022, the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra is one of those big bands. According to their website, the LAJO's members are top-shelf musicians from the diverse LA jazz community, some of whom have played with the Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Woody Herman, and Clark Terry big bands, as well on high profile recordings, film scores, and commercials. I will be hitting the later set, in which the LAJO will be joined by special guest trombonist and band leader Conrad Herwig (of whom I've heard of...). The Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra will be appearing in the Theater at Innovation Square at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm. They will also appear the next day at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm at the Rochester Regional Health Big Tent, the second set with special guest Russell Thompkins, Jr. 
  • If you're in for more straightahead jazz trio action, you can't go wrong with the Joey Alexander Trio or the Harry Allen Trio. Joey Alexander Trio will be in the Temple Theater at 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm. The Harry Allen trio will be in the Wilder Room at 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
This post was originally published on JazzRochester.


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