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DAY-BY-DAY SCHEDULES • ARTIST BIOS • FESTIVAL DETAILS • PLUS DAILY CONCERT REVIEWS AND MORE ON OUR MUSIC BLOG AT ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM
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CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
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INSIDE R O C H E S T E R I N T E R N AT I O N A L J A Z Z F E S T I VA L G U I D E 2 0 1 1
festival information������������ 3 TICKETS, VENUES, AND MORE.
FRIDAY, JUNE 10����������������������� 6 INTERVIEW: NATALIE COLE
SATURDAY, JUNE 11 ��������������� 10 INTERVIEW: BLACK 47
SUNDAY, JUNE 12 ������������������ 16 MONDAY, JUNE 13������������������� 20 INTERVIEW: JIM HALL
TUESDAY, JUNE 14 ����������������� 26 INTERVIEW: BÉLA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15 ������������ 32 INTERVIEW: GRACE KELLY
tHURSDAY, JUNE 16 �������������� 38 FRIDAY, JUNE 17 �������������������� 40 SATURDAY, JUNE 18 ��������������� 44 INTERVIEW: G. LOVE
PUBLISHERS: William and Mary Anna Towler ASST. TO THE PUBLISHERS: Matthew Walsh EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT: (email@example.com) EDITOR: Eric Rezsnyak Contributing Writers: Frank De Blase, Ron Netsky ART DEPARTMENT: (firstname.lastname@example.org) PRODUCTION MANAGER: Max Seifert Designers: Aubrey Berardini, Matt DeTurck ADVERTISING: (email@example.com) ADVERTISING MANAGER: Betsy Matthews Sales: Tom Decker, Annalisa Iannone, Christine Kubarycz, William Towler On the cover: Illustration by Aubrey Berardini CITY is published by WMT Publications, Inc. Copyright by WMT Publications Inc., 2011 - all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system without permission of the copyright owner.
THE PERFECT AC C O M PA N I M E N T T O A NIGHT OF JAZZ
F E S T I VA L I N F O R M AT I O N Welcome to the 2011 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival! From Friday, June 10, through Saturday, June 18, 1000-plus artists will perform more than 285 concerts in a variety of venues in downtown Rochester. [ TICKETS & VENUES ] Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre Series
Headliner shows are held in the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St). These are ticketed shows; a Club Pass doesn’t work here. Tickets, which range from $35 to $125 (plus service charges), are available through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com, 800-7453000) or at the Auditorium Theater Box Office (885 E Main St, 222-5000). Club Pass Series A Club Pass is your ticket 704 UNIVERSITY AVE • 271.4910 EDIBLESROCHESTER.COM
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to the Club Series: you can go to as many concerts as you’d like at 10 smaller clubs and venues (listed below). Club Passes for the 2011 XRIJF have already sold out. If you don’t have one, you can still buy tickets ($20$25) to the individual Club Pass concerts at the door, if space is available. Be advised that Club Pass shows tend to sell out; even if you have a Pass, you should get there early. Club Pass venues: Abilene Bar & Lounge 153 Liberty Pole Way (Roots & Americana Stage) Christ Church 141 East Ave. (Made in the UK Series) Harro East Ballroom 155 N. Chestnut St. Kilbourn Hall Inside Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs St.
Max of Eastman Place 25 Gibbs St. Montage Music Hall 50 Chestnut Plaza Lutheran Church of the Reformation 111
N. Chestnut St. (Nordic Jazz Now Series) Rochester Club 120 East Ave. (Viva Italia Series) Verizon Wireless Festival Big Tent Corner of Main and Gibbs streets Xerox Auditorium 100 S. Clinton Ave. Free venues: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage (Gibbs
Street at East Avenue) Free music daily City of Rochester East Ave & Chestnut St Stage Free shows June 11, 17, and 18 City of Rochester East Ave & Alexander St Stage Free shows June 18. Monroe County Public Library (115 South
Ave) Free shows June 13-17. Mary Jemison Riverboat (Boards at Corn Hill Landing, 290 Exchange Blvd) Free jazz cruises June 11-12. RG&E-Xerox Stage (East Ave & Chestnut St) Free music June 10, 12-16. State Street Bar & Grill (Rochester Plaza Hotel, 70 State St.) Free jazz jams starting nightly at 10:30 p.m.
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Visit Us in the JAZZ FESTIVAL MERCHANDISE TENT on Gibbs St. from 4pm-11pm on all festival days!
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[ PA R K I N G ]
Parking for all East End venues can be found in the East End parking garage at the corner of Scio Street and East Avenue. Additional parking can be found in the Washington Square Garage (111 Woodbury Blvd.). [ F O R A D D I T I O N A L I N F O R M AT I O N ]
There are two websites for information on Rochester International Jazz Festival: rochestercitynewspaper.com and rochesterjazz.com. Or visit the Jazz Ticket Shop & Info Center, corner of East Avenue and Gibbs Street, daily during the festival 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
F R I DAY, J U N E 1 0
[ SCHEDULE ] 4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:30 p.m.: Mark Murphy Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Matt Wilson Arts & Crafts Montage ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Kevin Eubanks Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Vince Ercolamento Quartet Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass)
“I wasn’t really looking to bust out and be this great singer,” says Natalie Cole, who originally planned to be a doctor. Four decades later the daughter of a music icon is a legend herself, and still going strong. PHOTO PROVIDED
6:30 p.m.: Cedar Walton Trio Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
Natalie Cole [ PROFILE ] BY RON NETSKY
For connoisseurs of R&B, the mid-1970’s were almost too good to be true. Al Green, The Spinners, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder were reaching new heights. Then, out of nowhere, came a soul-shaking voice, soaring to the heavens on a powerful song called “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love).” That voice belonged to Natalie Cole, and it shouldn’t have been a surprise. She was the daughter of Nat King Cole, one of the greatest singers in the history of pop music. But it was a surprise, especially to Cole herself. She never imagined she could sing like that when she began performing while a student at the University of Massachusetts. In fact, she wasn’t supposed to be singing at all. “I was afraid to tell my mom because I went to school to become a doctor,” says Cole. “When I started singing an agent CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
6:15 p.m.: Tia Fuller Max of Eastman Place ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
approached me and said, ‘You know, you could be really, really good.’ I finally told my mom, ‘I think I’m going to be a singer,’ and she’s like, ‘Unhhhh…’” Her mom — a former singer with The Duke Ellington Orchestra — eventually helped her find a top agent. Soon after, at a club in New York, she encountered her future. “I met these two crazy guys, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancey,” says Cole. Jackson and Yancey had a little bit of experience in the music business. They’d made a record and they were trying to get their music to Aretha Franklin. “We went to a studio to just jam and see what was there amongst the three of us. Marvin started playing and this voice came out of me,” Cole says. “I was not necessarily an R&B singer, because I’d been brought up with rock and pop and jazz. Marvin said ‘sing this’ and I did, and everyone’s like freaking out.”
6:45 p.m.: Soweto Kinch Quartet Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Filthy Funk RG&E-Xerox Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Mark Murphy Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7:15 p.m.: Mingo Fishtrap Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 7:30 p.m.: Ensemble Denada Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7:45 p.m.: Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
8 p.m.: Natalie Cole Kodak Hall ($60-$95) 8:30 p.m.: Blues Caravan “Girls With Guitars” Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 8:45 p.m.: Soweto Kinch Quartet Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Filthy Funk RG&E-Xerox Stage (FREE) 9:15 p.m.: Mingo Fishtrap Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: Ensemble Denada Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9:30 p.m.: Cedar Walton Trio Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Matt Wilson Arts & Crafts Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Blues Caravan “Girls With Guitars” Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Vince Ercolamento Quartet Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Kevin Eubanks Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Tia Fuller Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
♪ ♫ ♪♫
WANT MORE JAZZ? CHECK OUT THE MUSIC BLOG AT
Even though her dad was a legend,
Cole had paid little attention. “I was too busy being a kid,” she says. “My thing was spending as much time with my dad as possible. Years and years and years and years later I realized that I was absorbing a lot of his music, a lot of his technique, the way that he was with people and the way he worked with musicians.” She parlayed that knowledge into hit after hit, including R&B torch songs like “I’ve Got Love On My Mind” and pop ballads like “I Live For Your Love.” “I pick songs for the melody as well as the emotion, and people usually respond to that,” says Cole. Nat King Cole died of lung cancer in 1965 at the age of 45. A quarter century later, his daughter decided to pay tribute. In 1991 she broke new technical ground, releasing “Unforgettable… With Love,” which included a duet with the voice of her late father. “We were shocked with the initial reaction to that song, which was very negative,” says Cole. “People thought it was morbid, they thought it was disrespectful and dishonorable to my father’s memory. We got a lot of flack for that. Our thing was to pay honor and tribute to my father’s music. There was nothing creepy about it.” Things turned around fast. With its updated 40-year-old title tune, the album became a phenomenon, beating out Metallica for the top spot on Billboard magazine’s album chart. It stayed at No. 1 for five weeks, sold 14 million copies, and won six Grammy Awards. “Unforgettable,” the duet with her father, won the Song Of The Year honor. Cole repeated the process, recording another engaging duet with her father, “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” on her 2008 album “Still Unforgettable.” The CD is a collection of standards in keeping with the exploration of the Great American Songbook she’s been engaged in for the past two decades. continues on page 8
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Natalie Cole CONTINUES FROM PAGE 7
Cole’s life has not been as charmed as it
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may sound. In the past she has fallen into drug abuse, and, in 2009, she had to have a kidney transplant. Music has gotten her through some rough times. “I’m certainly not trying to be an example to anybody, but I can tell you that attitude is everything,” says Cole. “I happen to be a praying women, so I have a lot of faith. And, like they say, shit happens. I’ve never been a whiner or a complainer,” she says.
Despite her troubles, her career is going strong well into its fourth decade. She just finished recording an album track with octogenarian Tony Bennett and she sees him as a role model. “I’m shocked that I’m still here, still relevant,” says Cole. “It’s amazing. I’m not exactly sure why; I’m just really blessed. People still love to hear what I bring. That’s the kind of career anybody would want to have. If you love what you do, you do it to the end.” Natalie Cole performs Friday, June 10, 8 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Tickets cost $60-$95.
[ BIOS ]
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Blues Caravan “Girls with Guitars” Pretty girls and the ugly blues; it’s the next generation of the blues with the estrogeninfused triple threat of Dani Wilde, Samantha Fish, and Cassie Taylor, whose dad is Otis Taylor, and who sang on the late Gary Moore’s “Bad For You Baby.” Still barely in their 20s and chomping at the bit, it won’t be long before you know their names, both collectively and individually. (FD) Blues Caravan also plays Saturday, June 11, at the Jazz Street Stage Bob Sneider & Friends When Wes Montgomery died of a heart attack at the age of 43 in 1968, he was widely viewed as the greatest guitarist in jazz. Montgomery set himself apart from the crowd by playing spritely kinetic solos using octaves. Montgomery’s music will be explored by Rochester’s world-class jazz guitarist, Bob Sneider, and company. Sneider has toured extensively with Chuck Mangione and played with many of the top names in jazz. His friends are three of upstate New York’s finest musicians: Paul Hofmann on piano, Phil Flanigan, bass and Mike Melito, drums. (RN) Sneider also leads the nightly jam session at 10:30 p.m. at State Street Bar & Grill. Cedar Walton Trio Since his trial by fire at the age of 25, when he was the first pianist to record “Giant Steps” with John Coltrane, Cedar Walton has been one of the most imaginative pianists in jazz. He’s held down the piano chair for jazz greats like Hank Mobley, Lee
Morgan, J.J. Johnson, and Kenny Dorham. And his tunes — “Mosaic,” “Bolivia,” and “Ugetsu” — are as vital today as they were when he first composed them for Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers. Since the late-1950’s Walton has demonstrated equal shares of technical brilliance and lyrical style on more than 60 albums as a leader, and countless recordings as a sideman. (RN) Ensemble Denada With 10 fantastic horn players, an excellent four-piece rhythm section, and a specialist in electronics, Ensemble Denada brings a fresh sense of what’s possible in a big band. Combining straight-ahead precision and avant-garde sensibility, the group explores new territory in the realms of texture and dynamics. (RN) Ensemble Denada also plays Saturday, June 11, at Xerox Auditorium Filthy Funk Black August’s Danielle Ponder, who wails on Filthy Funk’s version of “Summertime” on the band’s last album, has planted the word seed in the Rochester band’s collective head. This is still primarily am instrumental outfit, so whether FF features Ponder’s storied lyrics and the stunning musicality of her soulful voice or tackles pieces as an instrumental ensemble, guitarist John Viviani’s guitar remains paramount with its effects-laden and way-cool trips to the clouds. (FD) Kevin Eubanks Band Philly-born jazzer Kevin Eubanks studied the violin and trumpet before picking up
the guitar. In the early 1980’s he moved to New York City, where he cut his teeth playing with legends like Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, and Slide Hampton. Eubanks is probably best known as The Tonight Show Band leader from 1995 to 2010 on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” (FD) Mark Murphy Group Syracuse native and balladeer Mark Murphy refers to some of the selections on his latest disc, “September Ballads,” as being “unjustly neglected.” But this threetime Grammy nominee doesn’t just dust off and interpret rarities and old gems, he writes, too: the lyrics to Lyle Mays and Pat Metheny’s “September Fifteenth” were penned by Murphy. (FD) Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts New York City drummer Matt Wilson is a quintessential melodic drummer. He formed Arts & Crafts as a way to stretch his legs and work outside the parameters set in his Matt Wilson Quartet. Wilson has beat the tubs for everyone from Cedar Walton to Elvis Costello as a sideman on more than 250 albums. (FD) Mingo Fishtrap Here’s one big stomp, twist, and shout for you, baby. Mingo Fishtrap was born at the University of North Texas in the mid-90’s, fusing blues, soul, and r&b in an environment that was drowning in pop and the assorted crap college kids were listening to at the time. This band is brassy and ballsy with an undeniable groove and an irresistible wail. (FD) Mingo Fishtrap also plays Saturday, June 11, at the Big Tent Soweto Kinch Quartet Saxophonist Soweto Kinch plays hip-hop with jazz underpinnings and a healthy dose of social-political awareness. This innovative English musician plugs live jazz into the equation to soothe — or intensify, depending on your point of view — the hip-hop’s angularity and attack. It’s a forward-thinking approach beneficial to both genres that, when put together in the same tune, don’t seem as different as we once thought. A profound concept amidst his equally profound narrative. (FD)
“What I want to talk about is the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. God’s Various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all.”
(1 CORINTHIANS 12:1, 4-9)
Saxophonist Tia Fuller performs Friday, June 10, at Max of Eastman Place. PHOTO PROVIDED
The Spiritualist Church of Divine Inspiration Sunday Morning Services:
Tia Fuller Quartet Quick: name a great female saxophonist. It’s not easy, but after you check out her latest album, “Decisive Steps,” you will have an answer: Tia Fuller. The title’s allusion to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” is no coincidence; Fuller has the rich, muscular sound associated with the finest players. Arriving on the New York scene in 2001, she made an immediate impression, collaborating with Don Byron, Jimmy Heath, Don Braden, and others. Her career took a dramatic turn in 2006 when she was asked to tour America and Europe with Beyoncé. (RN) Vince Ercolamento Quartet Vince Ercolamento is one of those oldfashioned, muscular saxophonists you’d expect to encounter in a Manhattan nightclub in the late 1950’s. His album, “Delightful Eyes,” is among the finest releases to emerge from Rochester over the past decade. Ercolamento also plays in, and writes arrangements for, Prime Time Funk, Rochester’s answer to Tower of Power. (RN) Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers Growing up in Seattle, Zoë Muth was writing songs at the age of 5. She soon discovered that country was the genre that best fit her lyrical sentiments. As an adult, it was the socially active and socially conscious music of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and the Carter Family that sealed the deal for her. Muth’s sound is incredibly classic in its simplicity and charm. It’s equal parts folk intuition and honky-tonk solution. (FD)
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S AT U R DAY, J U N E 1 1
[ SCHEDULE ] 2 p.m.: Smugtown Stompers Mary Jemison Boat (FREE)
7:45 p.m.: Black 47 Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
8 p.m.: The Fab Faux Kodak Hall ($55-$95)
5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:30 p.m.: Lucky Peterson Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: ECMS Jazz Combo Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 6 p.m.: Les Doigts de L’Homme Montage ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Bishop/McLeod Organ Trio Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) Black 47 blends Celtic influences with classic rock ‘n’ roll to tell sometimes controversial political stories through song. PHOTO PROVIDED
6 p.m.: Bill Charlap Trio Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
Black 47 [ INTERVIEW ] By Frank De Blase
Laughter precedes virtually everything that comes out of Black 47 founder-guitaristsinger Larry Kirwan’s mouth. It’s laughter full of self-deprecation; Kirwan frequently acts as if the band has gotten away with something by simply surviving 20 years. And it’s laughter in spite of it all. Black 47 — the name taken from 1847, the worst year of Irish famine — has experienced its share of hardship and exile. Formed originally as a duo in New York City in 1989, Black 47 gained momentum quickly with its brand of rock goosed by and rendered with traditional Irish instruments, alongside the standard-issue rock weaponry. Politically charged, defiant, and hell-bent on a good time, the band found itself both loved and hated. The Pogues caught wind of the band and brought them to Europe in 1990. But 10 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
6 p.m.: Gary Versace Trio Rochester Club ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
Black 47’s independent stance regarding the goings-on in Northern Ireland alienated British record labels. Underdogs themselves, Black 47 has championed the working class, peace, and the historic relevance of longgone, but not forgotten, heroes, all the while hoisting a pint — and laughing. CITY NEWSPAPER: Twenty years — did you ever think it would last this long?
Larry Kirwan: You’ve got to be kidding me. I would’ve fuckin’ run for the hills if I knew that. No, it just sort of snowballed. And that’s it. Give us a little background.
We started very organically. We were playing in bars in the Bronx, Chris Byrne and myself. Chris was a New York City cop and an uilleann pipe player at the time. He was in a band that had broken up, and I happened to continues on page 12
6:15 p.m.: Davell Crawford Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6:30 p.m.: Ensemble Denada Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:45 p.m.: Ronnie Scotts All Stars “The Ronnie Scotts Story” Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Hadden Sayers Band East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Lucky Peterson Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7:15 p.m.: Blues Caravan “Girls With Guitars” Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 7:30 p.m.: Arild Andersen Trio Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
8:30 p.m.: Mingo Fishtrap Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 8:45 p.m.: Ronnie Scotts All Stars “The Ronnie Scotts Story” Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Ensemble Denada Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage (FREE) 9:15 p.m.: Blues Caravan “Girls With Guitars” Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: Arild Andersen Trio Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: Black 47 Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Gary Versace Trio Rochester Club ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Davell Crawford Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Les Doigts de L’Homme Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Mingo Fishtrap Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Bill Charlap Trio Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
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Black 47 CONTINUES FROM PAGE 10
run into him one night and we decided to do those dates and see what would happen. We were always determined to do original music right from the start. So we worked up some original tunes and played the coverband circuit of the Irish bars in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens and got a ferocious reception. The patrons were not amused. Why not?
They didn’t want original music. We were doing original music that was also political, that was in-your-face and it probably wasn’t that good. We were still trying to figure out how to present that music. They just wanted to talk to their girlfriends with some cover music in the background. We had come from the CBGB’s type of scene; “I’m on stage, look at me and listen.” Though folks refer to Black 47 as Celtic, there seems to be so much more going on.
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People always have to put a label on things, and it’s very simple to call us that. If you look at all the different types of music we’ve done over the years, we’ve done more genres as a band than anyone else out there. Celtic is an easy label. They’re going to call you whatever they’re going to call you anyway. I always thought of us as a big rock band, but we use some Celtic instruments. The music…the idea was always to reflect, to put a certain form of Irish music through the prism of New York City and to see what came out of that. How are you viewed in Ireland?
I think they see us as dumb Yanks. You know, I’ve never really cared what people
think. One of the problems we had in Ireland was we sang about political problems that were sensitive over there. Stuff bands like U2 kept away from. We were political and had points of view that weren’t peace and love; ours were very real Irish-American values, using the history of Ireland as subject matter for the songs. Black 47 has always championed legendary characters. Do any exist today?
I’m sure they do, it just takes a little time to sift out who they are and what effect they have. That’s why it’s easier to go back a little bit in time. I mean Bobby Sands wasn’t that long ago; he died 30 years ago. But in general you need a little perspective to see who transcends. It’s a little harder while they’re out there. You could look at, say, one of the Libyan rebels, they’re pretty wild characters right now. They’re fighting for something. Also, with me as a songwriter, I seem to need that time to let them sift around in my head to try and find the right one. With “Bobby Sands” it took 15 years to actually find the way into it, because I try to write from inside the character’s head and I couldn’t get inside Sands’ head for the longest time. Now you’re after bankers and gangsters with your newest project. When does it end?
Music is always better in tough times. It gets people thinking. Black 47 was always about that: have a good time but maybe you’ll think of something a few days later, something that was in a song got stuck in your head. And maybe you’ll want to find out a little more about that. Black 47 plays Saturday, June 11, at 7:45 & 9:45 p.m. at Abilene Bar & Lounge. Tickets cost $20-$25, or use your Club Pass.
[ BIOS ]
Arild Andersen Trio Norway’s Arild Andersen could be the man to put an end to jokes about bass solos. Whether he’s plucking, bowing, or using an electronic loop, Andersen can be counted on to make the bass sing. Since the early 1970’s he’s been one of the most valued players on the European scene.
Starting as a sideman with Jan Garbarek, Andersen was the first-call bassist when American jazz greats like Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, and Dexter Gordon played Oslo. He’s also been a consistent leader on the ECM label, recording albums with Bill Frisell, Ralph Towner, Paul Motian, and others. (RN)
Bill Charlap Trio Over the past several years Bill Charlap has emerged as one of the finest pianists in jazz. He is the son of legendary Broadway composer Moose Charlap and singer Sandy Stewart, so it’s no surprise that he’s a sought-after accompanist, working with singers like Tony Bennett, Sheila Jordon and Carol Sloane. But he can also swing with the best, serving as a sideman with Gerry Mulligan, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, and others. Given his family’s tradition, it is fitting that several of his recent albums have paid homage to great American songwriters Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin. (RN) Bishop/McLeod Trio If you want to hear a gorgeous interpretation of a standard, pianist Jeff McLeod is your man. They’ve caught on to that in Western Canada, where he’s among the busiest of keyboardists. Now located in Rochester (to attend graduate school at the Eastman School of Music) he’s teamed up with guitarist Ben Bishop (another Canadian grad student) for an organ trio. Bishop is a superb bop guitarist in the tradition of Grant Green and Pat Martino. (RN)
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Blues Caravan “Girls With Guitars” See listing for Friday, June 10. Davell Crawford They call organist and vocalist Davell Crawford “The Prince of New Orleans.” His voice is full of regal soul and emotion as he works it passionately in the upper register. He is an expert balladeer with a beautiful set of pipes that you could call tenor with an eye for alto, and into the clouds. Crawford and his trio work their way around the standards, completely wringing them — and the audience — out. (FD) Crawford also performs Sunday, June 12, at Montage Ensemble Denada See listing for Friday, June 10. The Fab Faux The Fab Faux is driven by virtuoso guitar slinger Jimmy Vivino, seen nightly on the little screen beneath the shade of his big fedora leading The Basic Cable Band for “Conan,” Conan O’Brien’s newest latecontinues on page 14 ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 13
Saturday Bios CONTINUES FROM PAGE 13
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night show. On top of that, “Late Show with David Letterman” veteran Will Lee (who played with three of The Beatles at one time or another) plays bass. But before you dismiss this as merely a tribute or Beatles send-up, consider the original Fab Four as composers, not just performers. At this point in history, The Beatles aren’t just a band, but a genre — a genre mastered with breathtaking accuracy and reverence by the Fab Faux. (FD) Gary Versace Organist, pianist, and accordionist Gary Versace left a tenured college teaching position out west and hit Manhattan in 2002. Since then he’s become keyboardist of choice for top players like John Scofield, John Abercrombie, and Lee Konitz, and played on two Grammywinning recordings by the Maria Schneider Orchestra. He’s been voted “rising star” on Hammond organ three straight years in DownBeat magazine’s critic’s poll. (RN) Hadden Sayers Band Straight from Texas, draggin’ a heavy case of the blues, Hadden Sayers belts it out with a perfectly ragged, smoky voice. His scorching riffs and funky rhythms prove he’s no slouch on the guitar, either. With his top-notch band, Sayers’ blues will get you shimmying right out of your seat. But he’s no purist — once in a while he’ll shake things up and bluesify a tune like Prince’s “Purple Rain.” (RN) Les Doigts De L’Homme Les Doigts De L’Homme means “fingers of the man” in French. In this case, the fingers belong to guitarist Olivier Kikteff. With Gypsy jazz as a springboard, Les Doigts De L’Homme travel beyond the genre with Kikteff’s incorporation of oud and banjo as well as the guitar. The band’s latest release, “1910,” celebrates what would have been Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday, had he not gone on a deep-six holiday at the age of 43. (FD) Lucky Peterson Lucky Peterson was discovered by Willie Dixon at age 3 and released his first album at 5. A multi-instrumentalist, Peterson’s keyboard education came from legends Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith. Born in Buffalo
and now living in Dallas, Peterson’s blues is as wide-reaching and diverse as the man himself. His latest, “You Can Always Turn Around,” was recorded in Woodstock and chronicles Peterson’s real-life blues and the salvation promised to those who make it through the tough times. (FD) Peterson also performs Sunday, June 12, at the Big Tent Mingo Fishtrap See listing for Friday, June 10. Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars Direct from rocking the joint as the house band at the famed Ronnie Scott’s in London, The Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars — pianist James Pearson, bassist Sam Burgess, and drummer Pedro Segundo — are in the upper echelon of contemporary jazz artists. There has been a revolving cast for The AllStars since the club opened in 1959, where traveling musicians wound up in the band, and others wound up leaving with the touring group. (FD) The All-Stars also play Sunday, June 12, at Christ Church. Smugtown Stompers Several Jazz Fests ago Rochester’s Dixieland darlings, The Smugtown Stompers, added a kind of carnival joy to Gibbs Street with the band’s Basin Street bop. The joyful noise served as a swinging segue from gig to gig. Though New Orleans always gets some face time during the festival, it’s going to be left up to the Stompers to preserve the hall on the XRIJF’s weekend jazz cruises. (FD) Smugtown Stompers also perform Sunday, June 12, on the Mary Jemison Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes Since the mid-70’s, Southside Johnny (John Lyon) and The Asbury Jukes have cranked out old-fashioned blue-eyed soul. He may be New Jersey’s No. 2 son (behind Springsteen), but where the boss used it as a launch pad, Lyon still preaches that horndriven gospel. It’s music more as a feeling than a sound, and more about blue-collar elation than stardom. (FD) ♫
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S U N D A Y, J U N E 1 2 [ BIOS ]
[ SCHEDULE ]
Celebrating Joe Henderson with Jon Ballantyne & Friends Before his death in 2001, Joe Henderson enjoyed a long career as one of the top saxophonists in jazz. In the mid-1960’s he played on some of the greatest Blue Note albums ever recorded, with Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, and others. His legacy will be celebrated by Canadian pianist Jon Ballantyne, who recorded the 1990 Juno Award-winning album “SkyDance” with Henderson. (RN)
2 p.m.: Smugtown Stompers Mary Jemison Boat (FREE)
Champian Fulton The lovely and talented Champian Fulton formed her first group, The Little Jazz Quintet, when she was a mere 9 years old. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, Fulton has been in the Big Apple since the early 2000’s. There she’s had the opportunity to run with the big dogs like Lou Donaldson, Louis Hayes, and Jimmy Cobb besides holding a steady gig with her trio at Birdland. Her voice is a coquettish smile put to music, and she knows her way around the keyboard with a sharp style full of bright bursts that broaden the music’s glee. (FD) Davell Crawford See listing for Saturday, June 11. Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan Group Jay Clayton’s musical studies focused on the classical while she sang jazz in clubs during the weekends. Though initially working on the well-traveled standard side of the street, she eventually succumbed to her avantgarde curiosity. This led to her working with poets and electronics, as well as like-minded vocal pioneers like Bobby McFerrin and the innovative vocal group, Vocal Summit. Clayton has taught countless seminars and workshops and spent 20 years on the jazz faculty at Cornish College of the Arts. Sheila Jordan got her start writing lyrics to Charlie Parker tunes. She was even briefly married to Bird’s pianist, Duke Jordan. Known for her lyrical improvisation, Jordan has released more than 20 solo LPs since 1963. Her voice is beautifully ageless. (FD) continues on page 18
4 p.m.: John Nugent with Strings “Producers Performance” Kodak Hall (FREE) 4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:30 p.m.: Jay Clayton & Sheila Jordan Group Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: The Jazz Passengers Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Eastman Jazz Performance Workshop Honors Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 6 p.m.: Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Davell Crawford Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Lew Tabackin w/Antonio Ciacca Trio Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6:15 p.m.: Champian Fulton Quartet Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6:30 p.m.: Celebrating Joe Henderson w/Jon Ballantyne & Friends Xerox Auditorium ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6:45 p.m.: Ronnie Scotts All Stars “A Foggy Night in London Town” Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Tussey Mountain Moonshiners RG&EXerox Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Stephane Wrembel Trio Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Jay Clayton & Sheila Jordan Group
Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7:30 p.m.: Nikolaj Hess Global Motion + Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 7:45 p.m.: Whitey Morgan & The 78’s Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 8:30 p.m.: Lucky Peterson Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 8:45 p.m.: Ronnie Scotts All Stars “A Foggy Night in London Town” Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Celebrating Joe Henderson w/Jon Ballantyne & Friends Xerox Auditorium ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Tussey Mountain Moonshiners RG&EXerox Stage (FREE) 9:15 p.m.: Stephane Wrembel Trio Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: Nikolaj Hess Global Motion + Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: Whitey Morgan & The 78’s Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Lucky Peterson Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Champian Fulton Quartet Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Davell Crawford Montage ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Lew Tabackin w/Antonio Ciacca Trio Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: The Jazz Passengers Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
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Sunday Bios CONTINUES FROM PAGE 16
The Jazz Passengers Saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes formed The Jazz Passengers in 1987 after playing together in John Lurie’s avant-garde jazz ensemble The Lounge Lizards. The Passengers aren’t nearly as extreme as the Lizards, but their quirks and angles — as well as their dips into swinging elegance — are equally enthralling and fun. Over the years vocalists like Debbie Harry, Jeff Buckley, Jimmy Scott, Mavis Staples, and Elvis Costello have lent their vocal talents to the group. (FD) John Nugent with Strings He must know somebody… Sure, he’s the Jazz Festival’s capo di tutti capi. But saxophonist John Nugent can really play. He even held Stan Getz’s chair in The Woody Herman Orchestra for a spell. And I used to be wary of strings, until Phil Woods hit the Eastman stage during the 2006 RIJF to recreate “Bird With Strings,” one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. Nugent says he’s going for the same thing here with Dave Rivello handling the arrangements. (FD) Lew Tabackin w/Antonio Ciacca Trio After finishing a stint with Uncle Sam in 1962, flautist-tenor saxophonist Lew Tabackin went on to work with guitarist Tal Farlow. Next stop was “The Dick Cavett Show” band. His style really began to shine when he formed the Toshiko AkiyoshiLew Tabackin Big Band in 1973 with his wife. The band played Ellington-inspired be-bop with Tabackin as principle soloist. And if that don’t grab you, it’s Tabackin wailing all lonely and noir on Tom Waits’ “Small Change.” And with Antonio Ciacca’s Monk-inspired dabble and swing, this ought to be a righteous affair. (FD) Lucky Peterson See listing for Saturday, June 11. Nikolaj Hess Global Motion + Danish keyboard wizard Nikolaj Hess composes and plays gorgeous abstract music informed by sources as diverse as jazz, ambient, and electronic music. The six months he spent in Africa, studying and
18 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
playing the music of that continent, have greatly enhanced his compositions. One of the top pianists in Denmark, Hess has worked with Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Dave Liebman, and many others. As a composer he has written film scores and, in 1987, won the gold prize in a non-classical music competition in Copenhagen. (RN) Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars See listing for Saturday, June 11. Smugtown Stompers See listing for Saturday, June 11.
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Stephane Wrembel Trio Frenchman Stephane Wrembel calls his music “gypsy jam,” a hybrid of world music dominated by his gypsy guitar. Wrembel colors outside the lines with African and Latin rhythms, as well as other assorted world strains, with the mystique, romance, and sensuality intact. Yet he possesses a distinct voice, a unique sound. (FD) Wrembel also performs Monday, June 13, in the Big Tent. Tussey Mountain Moonshiners This spirited Central Pennsylvania band has been playing bluegrass and “dodging revenuers” since 2007. It has recently gone from quartet to quintet with the addition of another guitar to the fiddle-mandolinbanjo-bull-fiddle arsenal. Just good ol’ redblooded mountain music played by folks who actually reside on the mountain. (FD) Whitey Morgan & The 78’s It seems that “new country” has caused a knee-jerk resurgence of amazing insurgent country. Bands like Whitey Morgan & the 78s sound great in all their sawdust, longneck authenticity and twang. But they sound even better when held up to Nashville’s paper tigers. Morgan croons with a rich baritone and sounds a little bit like Waylon with a steady Paycheck groove, and continues on country’s righteous path while the rest take the Disney detour. (FD) DAILY JAZZ FEST CONCERT REVIEWS ONLINE AT THE
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[ SCHEDULE ] Noon: Herb Smith Central Library (FREE) 4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:30 p.m.: Rick Braun Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Eastman Jazz Performance Workshop Honors Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 6 p.m.: Joe Magnarelli w/Antonio Ciacca Trio Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass)
Guitar legend Jim Hall says that his uncluttered style was heavily influenced by his classical-music training. PHOTO PROVIDED
Jim Hall [ PROFILE ] BY RON NETSKY
There was a fateful moment 60-some years ago when Jim Hall sat at a table in his Ohio home filling out college applications. “I thought I might be an English professor,” Hall said by phone from California, where he was touring. “I was going to go to Western Reserve University as an English major and I was filling out the forms. But there was no music in the curriculum and I got ahold of myself and said, Wait a minute, I don’t know about this.” Close call. Instead, Hall decided to attend Cleveland Institute of Music and, over the next six decades, he would give the world some of the most gorgeous music it has ever known. At 80, Hall remains one of the most revered guitarists in jazz, having influenced several generations. But back in Ohio, in his single-parent family, a career in music might have seemed risky. “My dad split when I was 7,” says Hall. “My brother and I were sent to live in a farmhouse without electricity.” 20 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
There was music in the family. His uncle played “hillbilly guitar” and sang, and Hall was given his first guitar at the age of 10. “At first I didn’t have an amplifier,” he says. “I used to practice in the hallway or the stairwell of this housing project we lived in.” Hall took guitar lessons and, in junior high, began playing in a quartet led by a clarinet player. One day he went with the leader to get a Benny Goodman record. “At the record store we played one track, ‘Grand Slam,’ and I heard two choruses by [guitarist] Charlie Christian. I said, ‘Whatever that is, I wish I could do it.’ And I’ve been trying ever since.” By the time he entered Cleveland Institute, Hall was also playing string bass. While he was hooked on jazz, at the institute he studied classical music. “I knew nothing about classical music. Stravinsky made me think of Woody Herman’s band. Hindemith sounded like Stan Kenton, and then I discovered Bartok and he became my hero.” Hall believes that early classical training had a profound influence on his style. He’s continues on page 22
6 p.m.: Brockport Community Big Band Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Jim Hall Quartet Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Triodes Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:15 p.m.: Dawn Thomson & Friends Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6:30 p.m.: The Rodriguez Brothers Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:45 p.m.: John Escreet Solo Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Colin Cannon Quartet RG&E-Xerox Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Rick Holland Uptown Society Jazz Orchestra Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Rick Braun Harro East Ballroom ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7:30 p.m.: Mika Pohjola Quintet Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
7:45 p.m.: Professor Louie & The Crowmatix Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 8 p.m.: XRIJF-ESM Jazz Scholarships Performance Kodak Hall (FREE) 8:30 p.m.: Stephane Wrembel Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 8:45 p.m.: John Escreet Solo Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: The Rodriguez Brothers Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Colin Cannon Quartet RG&E-Xerox Stage (FREE) 9:15 p.m.: Rick Holland Uptown Society Jazz Orchestra Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: Mika Pohjola Quintet Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: Professor Louie & The Crowmatix Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Joe Magnarelli w/Antonio Ciacca Trio Rochester Club ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Triodes Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Jim Hall Quartet Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Dawn Thomson & Friends Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Stephane Wrembel Trio Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
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never been about flash. Instead, he has a reputation as one of the most tasteful guitarists in jazz history. And when it comes to improvising, he takes what he describes as a “compositional approach.” “The greatest guitar players at the moment have fantastic technique but I keep thinking, I wish I could do that and then not do that,” says Hall. “Leave some holes in between and make it more of a composition. I try to play something and develop it rather than just run all around the chord changes.” Hall lives in New York, a few blocks from
the apartment he first lived in when he moved to Greenwich Village at the urging of Modern Jazz Quartet pianist John Lewis. The late-1950’s was an exciting time to be in the Bohemian neighborhood. “Miles Davis lived right down the hall,” says Hall. “I started getting notes from Sonny Rollins. I don’t know if my phone had been disconnected for non-payment. The first note said, ‘Dear Jim, I would like to talk to you about music.’ He had just come out of this two-year hiatus he took.” Those notes led to Hall joining Rollins on his landmark album, “The Bridge.” Collaborating with Rollins led to another great pairing. “I was playing with Sonny in a place in Manhattan and Bill Evans came in and asked me if I wanted to make a duo record,” says Hall. “In those days most of the players were about chops, and Bill had a completely unique approach.” That led to “Interplay” and “Intermodulation,” recordings that remain on many desert-island lists five decades later. Looking over the enormous list of albums Hall has enhanced with his gorgeous playing, a group that stands out are the recordings he made in the 1960’s with another player known for melodic solos, saxophonist Paul Desmond. “I was just listening to one track we did together, ‘Time After Time,’ and at the end of it Paul plays an improvised melody that is so much better than the original melody, it was incredible,” says Hall. Jim Hall performs Monday, June 13, 6 & 10 p.m. at Kilbourn Hall. Tickets cost $25 or a Club Pass. 22 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
[ BIOS ]
Colin Cannon Quartet Colin Cannon has a beautiful, ringing tone to go along with his considerable facility on the guitar. But his appeal goes way beyond skill; Cannon is an innovative composer with tunes like “Dear Lydian” that investigate the music in imaginative ways. In addition to jazz, there are elements of rock, funk, and even drum ‘n’ bass, but if this is a jam band, it’s the most intellectual one you are likely to hear. Cannon is home grown; among his significant teachers were Rochester’s Steve Greene and Bob Sneider. At Berklee College of Music he studied with the legendary Mick Goodrick. (RN) Dawn Thomson Guitarist/vocalist Dawn Thomson is the queen of the understated phrase. Whether delivered from her mouth or her guitar, Thomson comes on casual. However, that doesn’t make the artist simple. The chording beneath her plaintive voice is lush in all its shift and swing as she tackles material both deeply rooted in or on the other side of the door of classic strains. (FD) ESM-XRIJF Scholarship Concert “Celebrating Thad Jones & Mel Lewis” special guest Dick Oatts with Eastman Jazz Ensemble In 1966 trumpeter/composer/arranger Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis got a steady gig at New York’s Village Vanguard and formed the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. Over the next several decades, with a constant parade of Manhattan’s best musicians, they set a new standard for the late-20th century big band. Jones left for the Danish Radio Orchestra in 1979 and Lewis died in 1990, but the ensemble they established continues to this day as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Saxophonist Dick Oatts joined the band in 1977 and has occupied the lead alto chair ever since. Oatts, who also serves as the band’s artistic director, will be special continues on page 24 ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 23
Monday Bios CONTINUES FROM PAGE 23
guest with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble. Under the direction of Bill Dobbins, this group has launched the careers of some of the world’s finest jazz players. (RN)
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Herb Smith As third trumpet in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Herb Smith is another jazzer with a toe or two in the classical pool. He has played with the Cincinnati Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, the Chautauqua Symphony, Skaneateles Summer Festival Orchestra, and the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra. An arranger and composer, Smith also teaches trumpet at The Eastman School of Music. (FD) Joe Magnarelli with Antonio Ciacca Trio With his gorgeous tone and melodic improvisations it’s no wonder Syracuse native Joe Magnarelli has been a first-call trumpet player for top names in jazz, including Lionel Hampton, Jack McDuff, and Harry Connick, Jr. He has also enhanced albums by Rochesterians Mike Melito and Joe Romano, not to mention his eight albums as a leader. At the XRIJF, he’ll share the stage with the excellent pianist, Antonio Ciacca, and his quartet. In addition to his role as director of programming with Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, Ciacca has toured extensively with Benny Golson. (RN) John Escreet When Brit John Escreet sits down at the keyboard, a journey begins. Escreet is more than a pianist; he’s an explorer. After crossing the Atlantic a few years ago, he quickly established himself as a leader and sideman. He studied with Kenny Barron and Jason Moran and earned a master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. In the best tradition of his teachers, Escreet plays with equal measures of assurance and adventurousness. (RN) Mika Pohjola Quintet As a teenager, pianist Mika Pohjola was so proficient in the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Debussy, he won second prize in the classical piano competition in his native Finland. He still has one foot in the classical
24 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
Rick Braun performs Monday, June 13, at Harro East. PHOTO PROVIDED
world, composing his own works. But, since studying jazz in Sweden and at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Pohjola has embraced the great American art form. Now living in New York City, he collaborates with the finest young players, including Mark Turner, Miguel Zenón, and Ben Monder. (RN) Professor Louie and the Crowmatix It was The Band’s Rick Danko who first dubbed organist-pianist-accordionist Aaron Hurwitz “Professor Louie.” Professor Louie has produced The Band’s last three albums, as well as stuff from Graham Parker, Commander Cody, and New Riders of the Purple Sage. His group The Crowmatix is essentially The Band’s band, having been the back-up group for solo projects from Danko, Levon Helm, and Garth Hudson. (FD) Rick Braun There are many ways into jazz; one of them is through the smooth jazz door held open by trumpeter Rick Braun. It was while attending the Eastman School of Music in the 1970’s that Braun and fellow classmates formed Auracle, a jazz-fusion group that released two albums. While at Eastman Braun also wrote “Here With Me,” which became a Top 20 hit for
REO Speedwagon. After touring as a firsttier sideman with Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, Tom Petty, Rickie Lee Jones, and War, Braun launched his solo career in 1993. (RN) Rick Holland’s Uptown Society Orchestra Having worked with Louie Bellson and Jimmy Dorsey, among others, Rick Holland throws some seasoned swagger into this big band’s creamy brass display. Though he works in assorted configurations, this 10-member layout gets big and ominous with Holland’s trumpet leading the assault. (FD) Rodriguez Brothers An irresistible mix of Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, and South American rhythms permeates the music of The Rodriguez Brothers, co-led by pianist Robert Rodriguez and trumpeter Michael Rodriguez. Gifted musicians while growing up in Florida, both Rodriguez brothers won full scholarships to the University of Miami. Since moving to New York they have been enlisted by jazz greats like Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, and Quincy Jones. Their quartet also features drummer Clarence Penn and bassist Carlos Henriquez. (RN)
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Stephane Wrembel See listing for Sunday, June 12. Triodes If you’ve heard guitarist Michael Occhipinti explore his Italian roots in The Sicilian Jazz Project at previous festivals, you might be surprised by his new group. With echoes of James Brown and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Triodes is a decidedly funky departure. The band, coled with keyboard wizard Paul Neufeld, fuses funk, reggae, and electric jazz with psychedelic rock. Rounding out the jam band-like quintet are Roberto Occhipinti on bass, Doan Pham on drums, and Luis Orbegoso, percussion. (RN) DAILY JAZZ FEST CONCERT REVIEWS ONLINE AT THE
MUSIC BLOG ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 25
T U E S DAY, J U N E 1 4
[ SCHEDULE ] Noon: Mambo Kings Central Library (FREE) 4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
7:45 p.m.: Elizabeth Cook Abilene ($20$25, or Club Pass) 8 p.m.: Béla Fleck & The Flecktones Kodak Hall ($35-$65)
5:30 p.m.: The Trio of OZ Harro East ($20$25, or Club Pass)
8:30 p.m.: Bonerama Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
6 p.m.: Eastman Jazz Performance Workshop Honors Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
8:45 p.m.: Paula Gardiner/Huw Warren Duo Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass)
6 p.m.: Marcus Strickland Quartet Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
9 p.m.: Jovino Santos Neto Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
6 p.m.: Curtis Stigers Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass) After nearly two decades, the original line-up of The Flecktones — (left to right) Future Man, Howard Levy, Béla Fleck and Victor Wooten — has reunited for a new album and tour. PHOTO PROVIDED
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones — The Original Line-Up [ INTERVIEW ] BY RON NETSKY
The banjo has been a part of jazz since the birth of the genre more than a century ago. But, toward the middle of the 20th century, with the emergence of the jazz guitar, the instrument was consigned for the most part to the realm of bluegrass. In recent decades no one has done more to revive and expand the banjo’s place in the jazz — and beyond — than Béla Fleck. After stints with a few groups and a well-received solo album, “Crossing the Tracks,” Fleck founded the Flecktones in 1989. The group, originally formed for a PBS special, consisted of Howard Levy on piano, harmonica, and ocarina (an ancient flute-like instrument); Victor Wooten, bass; and Roy “Future Man” Wooten, drumitar (an electric drum shaped like a guitar). The group was an instant hit. 26 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
6 p.m.: The Vitale Brothers Rochester Club ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Calle Uno Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:15 p.m.: Harold Danko Group Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass)
Levy left the group in the early 1990’s and, over the past decade, Fleck has gone in different directions with an album of classical pieces and even a triple concerto record. After almost two decades the original Flecktones are back together. They’ve recorded a new album, “Rocket Science,” and the group has embarked on a major tour. We recently spoke to Fleck about his music and the band’s reunion. An edited transcript follows.
6:30 p.m.: Jovino Santos Neto Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
CITY: How do you feel about having the original group back together again after all these years? Béla Fleck: I’m happy to hear us again,
7:15 p.m.: The Trio of OZ Harro East ($20$25, or Club Pass)
and with time seasoning us. We had a great time making the album and finding each other once again. continues on page 28
7:30 p.m.: Phronesis Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
6:45 p.m.: Paula Gardiner/Huw Warren Duo Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Jon Seiger and the All-Stars RG&EXerox Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: CNY Jazz Orchestra Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
9 p.m.: Jon Seiger and the All-Stars RG&EXerox Stage (FREE) 9:15 p.m.: CNY Jazz Orchestra Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: Phronesis Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: Elizabeth Cook Abilene ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Marcus Strickland Quartet Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Harold Danko Group Max of Eastman Place ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Curtis Stigers Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Bonerama Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: The Vitale Brothers Rochester Club ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
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Béla Fleck CONTINUES FROM PAGE 26
Are there some particularly interesting ways all of you have changed in almost two decades?
It was amazing playing new music with Victor and Future Man. We have so much history at this point. When I showed them the new tunes I had, it was like they knew them already. Playing with Howard was a validation of the original reason he was in the group. He has always been a phenomenon, now his whole thing has been ratcheted up several notches. He supplies things that the other three of us do not. I felt like we picked up right where we left off after “UFO Tofu.”
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28 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
With the album’s title and the titles of some of the songs, like “Earthling Parade,” what are you attempting to evoke?
Some of these titles feel connected to the old Flecktones. We always had a futuristic sort of theme, but in a retro kind of way. “Earthling Parade” is my title and I kind of wanted to call the album that. It evokes an image in my mind of us odd earth people doing the wacky stuff we always do, but putting it on another planet or in another cultural situation. It’s kind of like, “Hey, check out our race and the things we like to do!” Members of your group are known for either inventing instruments or reinventing instruments. What drives that and is that what attracts you to these musicians?
I think we all were looking for like minds and some company. I tend to
feel comfortable among folks that have similar make up and goals. That binds us in a special way, as well as our shared experiences and what we have been able to accomplish together. I always like the idea of a group of equals playing together, as opposed to having a leader and back-up musicians. It steps up the possibility that something really good might happen musically. Do things outside of music influence your musical vision?
Yes, everything I listen to influences me, sometimes even if I decide there are elements I want to avoid. Since I collaborate with a wide variety of amazing musicians, I can spend a higher percentage of the time inspired and excited about music. You’ve collaborated with a lot of great musicians. Is there any particular musicians in history who you wish you had had the chance to work with?
It would have been fun to play with Miles Davis, such a cryptic visionary. I wonder what he would have suggested for me to do. Mostly I wish I could have seen some people play live — Mozart, Bach, Charlie Parker. Béla Fleck and the Flecktones — The Original Line-Up performs Tuesday, June 14, 8 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Tickets cost $35-$65.
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Bonerama No, it’s not a Vanessa Del Rio flick; it’s a fourtrombone-powered outfit from New Orleans that makes Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” look like a cardboard fence. This is the brass band equivalent to a muscle car with a horny teenager at the wheel. Horn players Mark Mullins and Craig Klein put the band together during some downtime from their regular gig with Harry Connick, Jr. Playing it straight wasn’t the idea; experimental guitar got thrown in with rock drums. With an emphasis on the
funky and the unpredictable, this Big Easy ’bone barrage is part parade, part earthquake, part wrong, and all right. (FD) Bonerama also plays Wednesday, June 15, at Harro East. Calle Uno If you’ve ever found yourself ferociously shaking a tail feather to salsa or merengue in Rochester, chances are Latin powerhouse Calle Uno was on the bandstand. The music is pure polyrhythmic bliss with each beat and subsequent counter rhythm
targeting specific body parts, some of which you may have forgotten you had (or haven’t moved in years). (FD) CNY Jazz Orchestra with Bret Zvacek Founded in 1996, the Central New York Jazz Orchestra performs for tens of thousands of people annually in the OnCenter Carrier Theater in Syracuse. Led by Music Director Bret Zvacek, the band boasts some of the region’s finest musicians, including pianist and Associate Music Director Rick Montalbano, who has played with Jane Monheit, Chuck Mangione, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, and many others. (RN)
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Curtis Stigers Much in the same way The Chairman of the Board would handle a tune, vocalist Curtis Stigers’ phrasing is wonderfully haphazard and casual. Stigers’ style lingers and savors so the audience can do the same. The man can get rough and tumble, too; Stigers co-wrote and performed the theme song for the FX biker drama “Sons Of Anarchy.” With a career spanning more than two decades and multiple genres, Stigers has lately been zeroing in on jazz, and that’s a beautiful thing. (FD) Elizabeth Cook The polish on Florida-born country songstress Elizabeth Cook’s 2010 “The Welder” (produced by Don Was) can’t contain her genuine down-home feel. And it’s all in the name; this gal cooks. She rocks plenty and tugs at your heart when it all gets mournful. She’s graced The Opry stage more than 300 times. Her voice has a delicate warble with plenty of horsepower when she steps on the gas, especially on the new platter, which finds her in the company of luminaries like Dwight Yoakam, Rodney Crowell, and Buddy Miller. This lady has been and is going places. Make sure you catch her on the way. (FD) Harold Danko Quartet featuring Dick Oatts He may be Chair of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music, but Harold Danko has never strayed far from his bench at the piano. Over a four-decade career he’s served as a sideman with Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Lee Konitz, and as a featured performer continues on page 30 ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 29
Tuesday Bios CONTINUES FROM PAGE 29
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in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. That’s where he met the superb saxophonist Dick Oatts, a veteran of the bands of Bob Brookmeyer, Fred Hersch, and Jon Faddis. Danko, who has released over two dozen albums, is also an excellent composer. His tune, “Tidal Breeze,” has been recorded by Baker and Konitz among others. (RN) Jon Seiger and the All-Stars Listening to Jon Seiger’s uncanny channeling of Louis Armstrong on trumpet and vocals, the last thing you would imagine is that he is deaf. Close your eyes and Seiger’s band will transport you back to the days of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and other greats of the past with incredibly authentic arrangements. (RN) Jovino Santos Neto Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto comfortably turns rhythm and time on its ear. The dude digs a deep groove (on melodica, flute, and accordion, as well) even when a number sports asymmetric time signatures. Now based in Seattle, Neto’s sound is a rollicking blend of percussion and sensuality. It’s gonna get warm in there… (FD) Mambo Kings The Mambo Kings have been melding Afro-Cuban beats with jazz improvisation since 1995. Whether alone or backed by orchestras like our own RPO, the Kings are explosive, riveting, and more exhausting than slamming a Jolt Cola and doing a P90X workout. (FD) Marcus Strickland Quartet Whether Marcus Strickland is playing tenor, alto, or soprano sax, the common denominators are thrilling music and sinuous melodic solos articulated with gorgeous, clear tone. With eight albums as a leader, Strickland has won many accolades, including Rising Star, Soprano Saxophone (2008 DownBeat Critics Poll) and Best New Artist (2006 Jazz Times Readers Poll). (RN) Paula Gardiner w/Huw Warren Welsh pianist/composer Huw Warren is
30 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
a founding member of British cult jazz favorite Perfect Houseplants, and the winner of the 2005 BBC Jazz Award for innovation. He’s joined by Welsh doublebassist Gardiner, who started out as a classically trained guitarist before jumping ship into jazz waters in 1988. She still plays guitar and flute, but it is Gardiner’s bass playing that is utterly sublime. (FD) Phronesis In Ancient Greece, Aristotle’s concept of Phronesis referred to practical knowledge that enhanced the quality of life. Applying that concept to the XRIJF, I would advise you to check out the breathtaking dexterity and endlessly inventive playing of bassist Jasper Høiby, pianist Ivo Neame, and drummer Anton Eger. Høiby founded the group after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2005 and it has quickly become one of Europe’s top contemporary jazz trios. All three musicians are virtuosos; together they are a propulsive force. (RN) Trio Of Oz Pianist Rachel Z is known for her collaboration with jazz great Wayne Shorter, but she’s also dabbled in pop music, touring with Peter Gabriel and recording an entire album of Joni Mitchell songs. When she joins forces with drummer Omar Hakim — whose credits include stints with Dire Straits, Madonna, David Bowie, and Sting — it’s not surprising to hear a repertoire steeped in contemporary pop. In The Trio of Oz, with the excellent bassist Maeve Royce, they bring their jazz chops to songs by Alice In Chains, Depeche Mode, Death Cab For Cutie, The Police, and The Killers. (RN) Vitale Brothers One of the great jazz families of Upstate New York, the Vitales grew up in Rochester steeped in the music of local giants Vincent Ruggiero, Joe Romano, Sal Nistico, and Steve Davis. Over the last several decades, bassist Danny Vitale has played with Herbie Hancock, Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell, and Joe Pass. His brother, trumpeter Richie Vitale, has shared the stage with Barry Harris, James Taylor, Buddy Rich, and Frank Sinatra. The third brother, John Vitale, is a saxophonist who has worked with James Moody, Bill Hardman, George Coleman, and others. (RN) ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 31
W E D N E S DAY, J U N E 1 5
[ SCHEDULE ] Noon: Chris Ziemba Central Library (FREE) 4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:30 p.m.: Bonerama Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: LaBarberaOcchipinti Quartet Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Bill Tiberio Band Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Grace Kelly Quintet Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
“I would prefer to do something that I hear in my head and fall flat on my face than play something that I know,” says young saxophonist Grace Kelly. PHOTO PROVIDED
Grace Kelly [ PROFILE ] BY RON NETSKY
When I caught up with saxophonist Grace Kelly, she had just returned from a European tour in support of her new album, “Man With The Hat.” The man referred to is jazz legend Phil Woods, who collaborated on the album and joined her on the tour. Kelly, who just turned 19, has already worked with some of the greatest players in jazz, including Lee Konitz, Dave Brubeck, and Wynton Marsalis. “There are not many days that I sit back and think about what’s happened, but when I do, it’s pretty surreal,” says Kelly. “Playing with the people I’ve listened to on recordings since I was little is like — wow! They’re my heroes, and I never thought that I would get a chance to work with them, and even more, have a relationship with them.” 32 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
Born Grace Chung, Kelly’s name changed when she was adopted by her mother’s second husband, Bob Kelly. What might seem like a brilliantly calculated stage name is simply a coincidence. Strangely, she had identified with movie star, and later princess, Grace Kelly long before her name changed. Kelly started piano lessons at 6, but she was drawn to the sound of Stan Getz, the saxophonist whose albums her parents often played. “I would be walking around the house singing his solos.” In fourth grade her school let her pick an instrument. Saxophones were not offered, so she picked clarinet. “I was actually horrible,” says Kelly. “It was a lot of squeaking and not very pleasant.” She decided to try Getz’s instrument and, at the age of 10, her family rented her first saxophone. “Sax was completely different,” says Kelly. “The first time I blew into it I got a continues on page 34
7:45 p.m.: Bill Kirchen Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 8 p.m.: Chris Botti Kodak Hall ($60-$95) 8:30 p.m.: Shuffle Demons Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 8:30 p.m.: Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 8:45 p.m.: Alan Benzie Trio Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Brienn Perry Quartet Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Babik Jazz RG&E-Xerox Stage (FREE)
6 p.m.: Emilie-Claire Barlow Montage ($20$25, or Club Pass)
9:30 p.m.: Music Educators Big Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
6 p.m.: ESM-XRIJF Jazz Scholarship Alumni Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
9:30 p.m.: Sinne Eeg Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
6:15 p.m.: Many Worlds with Greg Burk Max of Eastman Place ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
9:45 p.m.: Bill Kirchen Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
6:30 p.m.: Brienn Perry Quartet Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:45 p.m.: Alan Benzie Trio Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Babik Jazz RG&E-Xerox Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: New Horizons Big Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Bonerama Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7:30 p.m.: Sinne Eeg Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
10 p.m.: Many Worlds with Greg Burk Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Emilie-Claire Barlow Montage ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: LaBarberaOcchipinti Quartet Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Shuffle Demons Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Grace Kelly Quintet Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
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Grace Kelly CONTINUES FROM PAGE 32
great sound. It was easy. It just clicked.” Her piano teacher, James Merenda, was also a saxophonist. So, she started doing half an hour of piano and half an hour of sax, which quickly turned into an hour of sax. Six weeks later she played her first public recital at a Borders store. Too small to hold up the instrument, she sat on the case while the sax rested on a pillow. She played “Bésame Mucho” and “My Funny Valentine” by ear. Before long the entire world of jazz saxophone opened to Kelly. She discovered Paul Desmond, Lee Konitz, Cannonball Adderley, and many other greats. When it came to solos, she favored the more melodic players. “My playing can get intense. I like to use that as contrast — build a solo to the point where it gets very intense,” says Kelly. “But, in my heart, I think melody is an important factor. I like to be able to sing the lines in my head.” Because Kelly still has one foot in the
teenage world I couldn’t resist asking what she thought about bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding snatching the Grammy Award for Best New Artist away from Justin Bieber earlier this year. “We were ecstatic. She’s a friend of mine and she so deserves it,” says Kelly. “I think it means things are changing. There is good
taste out there. I think there’s a point where people want to see the really genuine things. Artists like Esperanza are giving exactly that. I hope there are younger people looking for something substantial too.” But that doesn’t mean Kelly will be a jazz purist. She plays tunes by Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, and The Beatles. One of her primary role models is jazz-great-turnedpop-star George Benson. “George Benson’s career is one that I highly admire and would love to shape mine around,” says Kelly. “I think everybody wanted him to be the next Wes Montgomery, and obviously he could have done that. But he had so much to offer and he’s done everything with such quality.” Benson’s career blossomed in a decade full of music Kelly identifies with, created by the likes of Carole King, James Taylor, and Earth Wind & Fire. “Maybe part of me was a 1970’s person in a past life,” she says. Kelly just finished her junior year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she is taking a class taught by singer/songwriter Livingston Taylor. She’s also working in a side band with some of her Berklee classmates on her “singersongwriter stuff.” “It’s a folky, Norah Jones kind of vibe,” she says. Grace Kelly performs Wednesday, June 15, 6 & 10 p.m. at Kilbourn Hall. Tickets cost $25 or a Club Pass.
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Alan Benzie Trio Listening to, and watching, the spectacular technique of Alan Benzie, it’s not hard to understand why the 22-yearold pianist from Scotland is a fast-rising jazz star here and abroad. Benzie started on the violin at the age of 8. He also took piano lessons, but did not take them seriously. But, in his early teens, when he saw Swedish pianist Esbjörn Svensson with his group EST, he was so impressed, he decided to focus on the piano. Benzie is fresh out of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where he won a prestigious scholarship for his senior year. (RN)
Babik Buffalo’s Babik gooses its gypsy jazz with doses of klezmer, jazz-fusion, Latin, and world influences. The fact that all gypsy guitar-driven outfits kneel at the altar of Django is cool; let’s face it, he’s the king. But when a group like Babik maintains the traditional sound within its own compositions and other genres, the style is released from its antiquated bonds. But don’t freak — you can still hear the Django. (FD) Bill Kirchen Clark Kent is a mild-mannered persona for a hero on the inside. Bill Kirchen is
another. Yet unlike Ma Kent, Kirchen’s mom didn’t sew him a cape and put him in girlie tights. No; she gave him Telecaster. And it’s Kirchen’s guitar you hear on Commander Cody’s legendary “Hot Rod Lincoln,” a song Kirchen still does live with guitar-lick tributes to everyone — everyone. It’ll leave you standing in a puddle. Kirchen sings a bit too, in a weary, aw-shucks kind of tenor. His music expertly spans all classic American genres, shoehorned together elegantly with his trademark twang. He’s a gentleman and one of the best guitar players alive today. I’m pretty sure he can fly, too. (FD) Bill Tiberio Band Bill Tiberio is a superb local educator, who has led jazz bands and other ensembles at Fairport High School for the past two decades. When he’s not teaching, he’s honking away on his saxophone with a broad, funky sound reminiscent of Maceo Parker. Tiberio specializes in nicely shaped melodic solos catchy enough to appeal to a wide audience. A Rochester favorite, Tiberio has shared the stage with Fred Wesley, Lou Gramm, Nestor Torres, and The Four Tops. (RN)
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Bonerama See listing for Tuesday, June 14. Brienn Perry Quartet Chicago’s Brienn Perry is suave, suave, suave. His rich baritone tugs at what polite folks call heartstrings, when in reality the effect hits a little lower on the body. Perry could be easily filed on the same shelf as Billy Eckstine, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Lou Rawls. It’s all the standards we know and love, served elegantly from way down low. His second album, “Live At Fitzgerald’s,” features none other than the Woody Herman Orchestra. (FD) Chris Botti Over the past 25 years Chris Botti has been the trumpeter of choice for Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Sting, and many others. In 1995, after a decade of non-stop studio and sideman work for the world’s top artists, Botti stepped out into the spotlight. In 2004, his continues on page 36 ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 35
Wednesday Bios CONTINUES FROM PAGE 35
CD, “When I Fall In Love” — showcasing his beautiful tone on the title tune — made him one of the top-selling instrumental artists of his time. Perhaps most significantly, Botti has successfully crossed over into the popular music mainstream, introducing jazz to a new generation of listeners. (RN) Chris Ziemba This pianist’s jazz is tempered with classical rudiments. He’s played Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and has appeared on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz.” (FD) Emilie-Claire Barlow Canadian jazz vocalist and Juno nominee Emilie-Claire Barlow has thumbed through the Great American Songbook’s less-worn pages. While everyone is still circling the 1940’s and 1950’s, Barlow has put together a gorgeous album of material from the swingin’ 60’s. “The Beat Goes On” showcases her absolutely gorgeous voice on transistor-radio classics like “These Boots Were Made For Walking,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” and even Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman.” (FD) Greg Burk’s “Many Worlds” Pianist Greg Burk’s assured technique and innovative compositions leave no doubt he’s immersed himself in the finest jazz traditions. After leaving his home in Michigan, Burk studied with Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Then he headed to Boston’s New England Conservatory, where he worked with Paul Bley, Danilo Perez, and George Russell. His latest album, “Many Worlds,” showcases Burk’s constant drive toward exploration and experimentation. (RN) Pat LaBarbera-Roberto Occhipinti Quartet Tenor saxophonist Pat LaBarbera was born in Mt. Morris, NY, to a family that would produce three notable jazz players. (The others are Joe and John). He joined the Buddy Rich Big Band fresh out of Berklee College of Music. Influenced by John Coltrane, LaBarbera worked extensively with Coltrane’s drummer, Elvin Jones. Bassist Roberto Occhipinti has played with many groups 36 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
Find out what your DREAMS SOUND like... JUNE 8-15
Mon-Fri 12-6, Sat 10-4
Shuffle Demons perform Wednesday, June 15, at the Big Tent. PHOTO PROVIDED
at past festivals, including The Sicilian Jazz Project, Hilario Duran, and Soul Stew. But he’s much more than a sideman. His recent album, “A Bend In The River,” displays a gloriously ambitious musical vision. (RN) Shuffle Demons You might think this one is for the kids, what with the amazing Technicolor stage clothes, interpretive dance, and hijinks. The Shuffle Demons are a cross between New Year’s Eve and a hockey game. The band plays with a big and bombastic blast that typically boils over the stage and into the stands. Talk about surround sound. The Demons have been doing this for more than 20 years, after the group got its start as a street band in Toronto. Sure, they darken the doorways of various clubs and theaters. But you just can’t take the street out of ’em. These guys are berserk. (FD) Shuffle Demons also play Thursday, June 16, at Montage.
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Sinne Eeg She may have grown up in Denmark, but Sinne Eeg somehow absorbed the influence of America’s greatest jazz singers. In her gorgeous voice can be found traces of giants like Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan, but they share the aural space with Scandinavian angst. Among the honors Eeg has garnered over the last few years are the Danish Radio Jazz Award in 2009 and the Danish Music Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2007 and 2010. (RN) DAILY JAZZ FEST CONCERT REVIEWS ONLINE AT THE
MUSIC BLOG ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 37
T H U R S D A Y, J U N E 1 6 [ BIOS ]
[ SCHEDULE ]
Andy Stobie & the Greater Finger Lakes Jazz Orchestra Jazz can stretch all the way to the outer limits of the avant-garde, but sometimes you’re just in the mood to listen or dance to the classics. Andy Stobie & the Greater Finger Lakes Jazz Orchestra re-explore the great charts of Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, and Maynard Ferguson, etc. While Stobie sings tunes made famous by Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., and others, Angie Bemus interprets the work of divas like Natalie Cole. And Stobie’s not stuck in the past; you’ll also hear music by Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, and the Beatles. (RN)
Noon: Mike Kaupa Central Library (FREE)
Bill Frisell It’s Bill Frisell’s fleeting attention span that captures ours. He’s the king of the segue. Whether the shift is in theme, tone, or mood, you never know what this amazing guitarist is going to do next. Frisell’s project with violist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston, “Beautiful Dreamers,” is a journey into less pyrotechnic fare. It’s as thoughtful and exploratory as we’ve come to expect, but there’s a mesmerizing gentleness and subtle seduction that may make it slightly more accessible. (FD) Celebrating Oscar Peterson with Dave Young Quartet Oscar Peterson was one of the greatest pianists in jazz history. When it came to bassists, Peterson had high standards, as evidenced by his long partnerships with Ray Brown and Niels-Henning Pedersen. Canadian bassist Dave Young met Peterson at the Banff Centre in 1974. Within a year Young and Peterson were off on a world tour. Their relationship would last until Peterson’s death in 2007. Of course, you can’t celebrate Peterson without a great pianist, and that’s where Young’s band mate — the formidable Hungarian pianist Robi Botos — comes in. (RN) Fraser Fifield & Graeme Stephen Whether he’s playing pipe, saxophone, or low whistle, Fraser Fifield seems to conjure the entire musical legacy of Scotland in his beguiling melodies. Equally steeped in the 38 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 5:30 p.m.: Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Bill Frisell Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass) Dave Young celebrates Oscar Peterson Thursday, June 16, at Xerox Auditorium. PHOTO PROVIDED
Scottish folk tradition and more contemporary atmospheric music, guitarist Graeme Stephen forges new paths through both genres in his hauntingly evocative improvisations. (RN) Gap Mangione Quartet Longtime fans will remember Gap Mangione from early recordings with his brother Chuck Mangione in the 1960’s (as The Jazz Brothers) and 1970’s (on Chuck’s albums). The brothers reunited in 2007, when Chuck recreated his landmark Friends & Love concert for three sold-out nights at the Eastman Theatre. Gap Mangione has been a fixture and crowd pleaser on the Rochester music scene for five decades. (RN) Katie Ernst Currently enrolled at The Eastman School of Music to study bass, it’s Katie Ernst’s voice that’ll grab you. She’s even received a Downbeat award for her pretty pipes. Parked next to — and dwarfed by — her double bass, Ernst is a swingin’ double threat. She warbles a sweet sashay, while her bass does the walking. (FD) Mike Kaupa Trumpeter-flugelhornist Mike Kaupa teaches at the Harley School and the Eastman School of Music, when he’s not blasting on the band stand with his quartet. (FD)
6 p.m.: ECMS Jazz Combo Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 6 p.m.: Shuffle Demons Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Rochester Metro Jazz Orchestra Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Gap Mangione Quartet Rochester Club ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:15 p.m.: Katie Ernst Trio Max of Eastman Place ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:30 p.m.: Celebrating Oscar Peterson w/The Dave Young Quintet Xerox Auditorium ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6:45 p.m.: Fraser Fifield & Graeme Stephen Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Andy Stobie & Greater Finger Lakes Jazz Orchestra RG&EXerox Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Soul Stew Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly Harro East ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7:30 p.m.: OunaskariMikkonen-Jorgensen Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass)
7:45 p.m.: The Spampinato Brothers Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 8 p.m.: k.d. lang and The Siss Boom Bang Kodak Hall ($55-$90) 8:30 p.m.: Slavic Soul Party Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 8:45 p.m.: Fraser Fifield & Graeme Stephen Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Andy Stobie & Greater Finger Lakes Jazz Orchestra RG&EXerox Stage (FREE) 9 p.m.: Celebrating Oscar Peterson w/The Dave Young Quintet Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9:15 p.m.: Soul Stew Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: OunaskariMikkonen-Jorgensen Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: The Spampinato Brothers Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Gap Mangione Quartet Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Slavic Soul Party Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Katie Ernst Trio Max of Eastman Place ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Shuffle Demons Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Bill Frisell Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
Mikkonen-Ounaskari-Jørgensen This trio features Finnish percussionist Markku Ounaskari, pianist Samuli Mikkonen, and Norwegian trumpeter/singer Per Jørgensen. Together they create that celestial sound in no small part due to the ethereal voice of Jørgensen. When backed by the delicate piano of Mikkonen and the atmospheric percussion of Ounaskari, his voice rises and falls like a well-played theremin. (RN) Pee Wee Ellis’ Funk Assembly As a Rochesterian for a short spell (19551957), saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis played with cats like Chuck Mangione and Ron Carter while attending Madison High School. But Ellis’ main claim to fame is being a member The James Brown Revue from 1965 to 1969. He kept Brown alive with The JB Horns and continues to tour and record with artists like Van Morrison, and as a solo artist. (FD) Shuffle Demons See listing for Wednesday, June 15.
Bernunzio Uptown Music JAZZ FEST WEEK
Bernunzio Uptown Music "HOMEGROWN" CONCERT SERIES All Events are FREE and open to the public. CHECK OUR ONLINE CALENDAR FOR DETAILS
MONDAY, JUNE 13 • 5 PM. - 5:30 PM
"Strings for Success" Violin Concert featuring the elementary students from Charles T. Lunsford School 19 string program
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15 • 6 PM - 7 PM
RUO Concert - Rochester Ukulele Orchestra Rochester's premier Ukulele Group packed the house last year!
THURSDAY, JUNE 16 • 7 PM - 8:30 PM
Windsor Folk Family Old Time String Band YEEHAW, rip-roarin' old-time music!!
SATURDAY, JUNE 18 • 6 PM - 8 PM
Steve Greene Trio Tasty Jazz guaranteed to please the Festival weary listener
122 East Ave • www.bernunzio.com • (585) 473-6140
Slavic Soul Party Two trombones lead the big parade with a couple of trumpets not far behind. Saxophone, tuba, accordion, drum — whether it’s marching or playing on stage, Slavic Soul Party has one of the most infectious sounds anywhere. (RN) Slavic Soul Party also play Friday, June 17, at the East & Chestnut Stage. Soul Stew Made up of the top studio musicians in Toronto and featuring the powerful lead vocals of Michael Dunston, Soul Stew will see to it that you get up off’a that thing. (RN) Spampinato Brothers Formed by NRBQ founding member and bassist Joey Spampinato and his brother Johnny, The Spampinato Brothers are equally as eclectic and broadly focused — though perhaps not as oddball — as NRBQ. The music is beautiful, rootsy, transistor-era pop with warm harmonies and groove beneath the band’s clever and often poignant wordplay. “My eyes are just a place for tears to fall” comes immediately to mind. (FD)
Direct Care On-the-Spot Interviews at CDS We are in need of compassionate, reliable, and honest direct care employees with a service first attitude, join our team of highly skilled dedicated employees. Full time, Part-time, evenings and overnight shifts available. Must have HS Diploma or GED, a valid drivers license for 2 yrs and acceptable driving record. FT/PT openings $9.00-$10.45 based on exp working with people with developmental disablilities.
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F R I D A Y, J U N E 1 7 [ BIOS ]
[ SCHEDULE ]
Eilen Jewell We throw the term “roots” around quite a bit, especially for those artists who hover around contemporary music’s rural origins. Blonde Boston beauty Eilen Jewell’s roots are definitely showing, but her blend of influences is more subtle than others in the genre. Her voice is jazzy and sweet in a gentle, soft-sung kind of way. The music has genuine country twang with a haunting minor-keyed menace, yet her arrangements hint at the British invasion and the first wave of rock ’n’ roll it resurrected. Eilen Jewell is both riveting and charming. (FD)
Noon: Jimmie Highsmith Jr. Central Library (FREE)
8 p.m.: Elvis Costello & The Imposters Kodak Hall ($70-$125)
4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
8:30 p.m.: Ryan Shaw Band Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass)
Elvis Costello and The Imposters With his songbook getting exceedingly fat, legendary rocker Elvis Costello has decided to leave the set list selections up to the audience via a spinning wheel set up on the stage. Audience members will be invited to give the wheel a whirl to choose from 40 of Costello’s hits, rarities, and a few odd covers. Known as much for his antagonistic streak as he is for his brilliant songwriting, Costello has managed to transcend the many genes he visits — from punk rock to chamber music — even as they try to claim him for their own. The upcoming “The Future Lies Ahead” is Costello’s 33rd studio album. (FD) In The Country Norway’s In The Country might be called a power trio, but in this case the power is not found in dynamic, explosive solos. This group’s power lies in its magnificent subtlety. Morten Qvenild (keyboards) is the composer of In the Country’s beautiful celestial compositions; Roger Arntzen (bass) and Pål Hausken (drums) are key players in bringing them to fruition. The group’s recent album, “Whiteout,” is full of atmospheric and impressionistic tunes, conjuring up a sort of mystical Eric Satie. The group’s concert is sure to be among the most sublime of the XRIJF. (RN) In The Country also performs Saturday, June 18, at Lutheran Church. 40 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 6 p.m.: In The Country Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Kenny Barron Trio Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: New Energy Big Band Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6 p.m.: Mirko Guerrini Quartet Rochester Club ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
Eilen Jewell performs Friday, June 17, at Abilene. PHOTO PROVIDED
Jason Yarde & Andrew McCormack Listening to Jason Yarde’s beautiful tone on the sax, you might not imagine that the next tune will feature a blistering solo. Like the great saxophonists of the past, Yarde is confident in both worlds. Yarde’s band-mate, Andrew McCormack, has been compared to Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. He shares something vital with them: a wonderfully subtle and discerning touch at the piano. (RN) Jimmie Highsmith Jr. This cat is smooth. Born and raised in Rochester, Jimmie Highsmith first picked up the sax at 7. During a stint in the Air Force in New Jersey, he got hipped to the jazz scenes in Philly and NYC. He has five albums to his credit, and has shared the stage with Wynton Marsalis and Alicia Keys, to name a few. (FD)
6:15 p.m.: Martin Taylor w/Alison Burns Max of Eastman Place ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:30 p.m.: Jonas Kullhammar Quartet Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:45 p.m.: Jason Yarde & Andrew McCormack “MY Duo” Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 7 p.m.: Slavic Soul Party East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage (FREE) 7:15 p.m.: Prime Time Funk Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 7:30 p.m.: Tonbruket Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 7:45 p.m.: Eilen Jewell Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
8:45 p.m.: Jason Yarde & Andrew McCormack “MY Duo” Christ Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: Trombone Shorty East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage (FREE) 9 p.m.: Jonas Kullhammar Quartet Xerox Auditorium ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9:15 p.m.: Prime Time Funk Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: Tonbruket Lutheran Church ($20$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: Eilen Jewell Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Ryan Shaw Band Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Kenny Barron Trio Kilbourn Hall ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Martin Taylor w/Alison Burns Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: Mirko Guerrini Quartet Rochester Club ($20$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: In The Country Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
♪ ♫ ♪♫
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Jonas Kullhammar Quartet It was only 11 years ago when Jonas Kullhammar released his debut recording as a leader. His full-throttle tenor-saxophone sound was immediately rewarded with Sweden Radio’s Jazz Cat award for Newcomer of the Year. The following year his second album won him Jazz Musician of the Year. Kullhammar is at ease with a wide range of styles from straight-ahead, be-bop cool to free-form, avant-garde wildness — and that’s all in the same tune. (RN) Kullhammar also performs Saturday, June 18, at Max of Eastman Place
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Kenny Barron Trio Have you ever bought an album by a great saxophonist or trumpeter and found yourself focusing on the piano player? That’s guaranteed to happen if Kenny Barron is at the keyboard. At the age of 19 Barron left Philadelphia for New York and in no time found himself in the company of giants like Lee Morgan, James Moody, and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1974 he signed with Verve; since then he’s recorded more than 40 albums as a leader. Whether he’s exploring the music of Brazil, interpreting a tune by Thelonious Monk, or playing one of his own infectious compositions, Barron is master of the keys. (RN) Martin Taylor + Alison Burns With complex arrangements and superhuman dexterity, guitarist Martin Taylor is nothing less than breathtaking. Early in his career he was chosen to tour with Django Reinhardt’s former partner Stephane Grappelli. He’s kept good musical company since, collaborating with Chet Atkins, George Harrison, Bill Wyman, and others. When Taylor is joined by the superb Scottish-Canadian jazz singer Alison Burns, their musical journey is guaranteed to take some spectacular twists and turns. (RN) Taylor and Burns also perform Saturday, June 18, at Christ Church Mirko Guerrini So thorough is his musical knowledge and so natural his playing, you might think the saxophone is an extension of Mirko Guerrini’s body. His expansive musical vocabulary goes beyond notes to bleats continues on page 42 ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM 41
Friday Bios CONTINUES FROM PAGE 41
and squeals, but always in the service of the composition. Guerrini may sound like a hardcore American player, but he graduated from the Conservatory of Florence. It’s not surprising to find that among his subsequent teachers was the great American saxophonist, Dave Liebman. He’s now among the top players in Italy, working with stars like Stefano Bollani. (RN) New Energy Jazz Orchestra Before directing the music program at Rochester Institute of Technology, Carl Atkins was known for leadership roles with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Hochstein School of Music. But over his career Atkins has also co-directed the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and played saxophone with Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, and Jaki Byard. In 2006 he teamed up with fellow RIT faculty member, trumpeter Jonathan Kruger, to organize the 17-piece New Energy Jazz Orchestra. (RN) Prime Time Funk Prime Time Funk picks up the pieces and pulverizes them. With its attention to funky grooves, no concern about what dancing to them may do to your spine, and a horn section that comes on like a brass-powered blitzkrieg, Prime Time Funk will wear you out. Good luck. (FD)
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42 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
Ryan Shaw One night of Ryan Shaw may be all it takes to rejuvenate and resuscitate your faith in r&b. Hailing from and wailing out of Decatur, Georgia, Shaw digs deep from the genre’s classic era, when r&b actually meant rhythm and blues and had plenty of both. Shaw sings smooth, with lofty forays into angelic zip codes that will make you tingle. Wilson Pickett and Jackie Wilson may be gone, but it’s comforting to know that someone’s still doing their work down here. (FD) Slavic Soul Party See listing for Thursday, June 16. Tonbruket EST was one of the fastest-rising jazz bands in the world when its leader, Esbjörn Svensson,
Trombone Shorty performs Friday, June 17, at the East Ave/Chestnut St Stage. PHOTO PROVIDED
died suddenly in a scuba-diving accident in the summer of 2008. Bassist Dan Berglund, Svensson’s band-mate, took it slow when it came to rebooting his career. Beginning with loose jam sessions, he settled on Martin Hederos (keyboards, violin, accordion), Johan Lindström (guitar, lap guitar petal steel), and Andreas Werliin (percussion), three musicians who fit his aesthetic approach. The group’s name, Tonbruket, a Swedish expression for “workshop,” is indicative of the group’s experimental spirit. (RN) Trombone Shorty New Orleans’ Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews calls his music “supafunkrock.” And it was supafunkinloud as hell when he played the XRIJF last year. Andrews got pegged with his nickname as a 4-year-old marching down the street with a trombone longer than he was tall. As much as this young man is of the New Orleans jazz tradition, he’s also quick to step outside to get funky with his band, Orleans Avenue, and as a guest artist with acts like U2, Lenny Kravitz, and Green Day. Andrews is also a double threat on trumpet. (FD) ♫
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S AT U R DAY, J U N E 1 8
[ SCHEDULE ] 3:45 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
8:45 p.m.: Martin Taylor w/Alison Burns Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass)
6 p.m.: Dan Schmitt & The Shadows Big Tent ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
9 p.m.: .38 Special East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage (FREE)
6 p.m.: The Lawnmowers Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 6 p.m.: Ben Allison 3 Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
G. Love [ PROFILE ] By Frank De Blase
I’m not saying that G. Love’s career thus far has been one big detour, but with “Fixin’ to Die,” the man has finally sat down and made the record he always intended to make. And it’s a straight-up, get-down, red-hot blues platter. Known for his jumpy and funky bluesy hip-hop and rakish good looks, Love (born Garrett Dutton) unwittingly gained cultural authenticity in the two predominantly African-American musical styles by mishmashing them into a third. Yet with rootsrock heroes The Avett Brothers twiddling the knobs this time around, Love finally got to really bare his blues side. “It was kind of a second chance to make another first record,” Love says. “I wanted to make a record of material like I started out with; the root of my music, which is Delta blues, soul, writing inspired by 44 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
some of Bob Dylan’s records. We knew we wanted to do something different on this record than we’ve been doing the last 10 years. So if you were going go back in time and discover me before I became G. Love, mixing hip-hop and blues, this is the kind of record you would’ve got. This is where I was at and what I was about.” Though it was his clever hybrid sound that got him fame and glory, Love says he had simply set out to play the blues. “Well, I was trying to,” he says. “I just didn’t get discovered in time. When I was coming up, I was a street musician, and some of these tunes were in my repertoire. I was trying to make it…I was just searching for something original, and one day I stumbled upon how to mix the hip-hop, which is the music I grew up with socially, with the Delta blues, which was the passion I had, and they kind of came together. I had found a niche in something very original and it gave me a
8:30 p.m.: The Budos Band Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass)
5:15 p.m.: High School Jazz Bands Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
6 p.m.: Regina Carter Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass)
Although he initially found success blending blues and hip-hop together, G. Love’s new disc is a strictly old-school blues affair. PHOTO PROVIDED
7:45 p.m.: Walt Wilkins & The Mystiqueros Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
6:15 p.m.: Jonas Kullhammar Quartet Max of Eastman Place ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:30 p.m.: Dave Rivello Ensemble Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 6:45 p.m.: Martin Taylor w/Alison Burns Christ Church ($20$25, or Club Pass)
9 p.m.: Dave Rivello Ensemble Xerox Auditorium ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9 p.m.: G Love & Special Sauce East Ave. & Alexander St. Stage (FREE) 9:15 p.m.: Po Boys Brass Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE) 9:30 p.m.: In The Country Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 9:45 p.m.: Walt Wilkins & The Mystiqueros Abilene ($20-$25, or Club Pass) 10 p.m.: The Budos Band Big Tent ($20$25, or Club Pass)
7 p.m.: Tinted Image East Ave. & Alexander St. Stage (FREE)
10 p.m.: Regina Carter Kilbourn Hall ($20$25, or Club Pass)
7 p.m.: Chris Beard Band East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage (FREE)
10 p.m.: Ben Allison 3 Montage ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
7:15 p.m.: Po Boys Brass Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE)
10 p.m.: Jonas Kullhammar Quartet Max of Eastman Place ($20$25, or Club Pass)
7:30 p.m.: In The Country Lutheran Church ($20-$25, or Club Pass)
10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider & Friends Jam Session State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)
DAILY JAZZ FEST CONCERT REVIEWS ONLINE AT THE
MUSIC BLOG ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM
chance to make a record deal and make a career out of making music.” Love toys with the idea that though he wanted to make this record way back when, he wasn’t ready until now. He’s had time to soak up and steep in the indigo. “All those years on the road and all those hours on stage, you become very seasoned as a musician, as a performer,” he says. “Now I can do music that’s more of a traditional thing in a style that’s not necessarily original and do it in a way that’s authentic, and I can do it well. I can do it better now, it’s more real now.
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Some folks refer to “Fixin’ to Die” as a
departure for Love, as if it’s something he needs to get out of his system. Or perhaps it’s the artist redefining himself and his sound. “I don’t know if it needed redefining,” Love says. “It just needed a new chapter. I needed to go in a new direction, you know? You can’t keep putting out the same record over and over again with different songs on it. We kind of felt like our last three records blurred together.” With a closer listen to his previous platters, it becomes clear it was just a matter of time before G. Love was going to be fixin’ to make this record. “In fact, you can always hear that side of my music on my records,” he says. “On every record, I’ll have one or two acoustic songs that could’ve fit on the ‘Fixin’ to Die’ record. I’ve always wanted to make an album of just that kind of material.” It’s a coin toss whether all of this will bring Love’s fans to the blues, or purist blues fans to him. Love calls it in the air. “I think we’re going to pick up some fans that have been away for a while, who were into our earlier raw recordings, that we’ve lost along the way,” he says. “And we’re certainly seeing fans who have never heard of us that are just blues fans or roots music fans.” G. Love and Special Sauce perform Saturday, June 18, 9 p.m. at the East Ave. & Alexander St. Stage. Admission is free.
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BABIK JAZZ CONCERT THURSDAY, JUNE 23 @ 7:30PM
Enjoy Gypsy Jazz
and their lighthearted improvisational performances Tickets: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors (55+), $5 Students (18-), and GCC Faculty/Staff, $3 GCC Students with valid ID, and a $2 discount for GCC Alum with GCC Alum ID. For Ticket Reservations contact the BOXOFFICE@genesee.edu or 585-345-6814 One College Rd., Batavia, NY 14020 www.genesee.edu
46 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
[ BIOS ]
.38 Special .38 Special is one of those bands when I was growing up whose records I never needed to actually go out and buy. The band was all over the radio once it debuted in 1977. While its Southern-rock brethren in Lynyrd Skynyrd achieved success as a Southern-rock band, .38 Special mainstreamed its sound somewhat and mined pop-rock gold. The driving guitars remained — along with Donnie Van Zant’s Dixie-fried pipes — resulting in a pile of hits like “Caught Up in You” and “Hold On Loosely.” (FD) Ben Allison Trio There’s no doubt that bassist Ben Allison is a serious jazz artist. He’s played with Lee Konitz, Clifford Jordan, and Gary Bartz. He leads no less than four adventurous groups ranging from hard bop to avant-garde. And he founded the Jazz Composers Collective in 1992 and co-founded the Herbie Nichols Project two years later to revive the music of the neglected giant. But, through it all, Allison has not shied away from creating downright catchy music. On his latest album he covers songs by Neil Young and Paul Williams. At the XRIJF he’ll share the stage with two excellent musicians, guitarist Steve Cardenas and trumpeter Shane Endsley. (RN) The Budos Band You may not have heard of them yet, but The Budos Band could very well be the hit of the 2011 XRIJF. With three percussionists and a drummer, the beat is unrelenting. The horns, including a wonderful baritone sax, play riffs to die for (or by), and I haven’t even mentioned the funky rhythm section with a Farfisa organ straight out of the late 1960’s. They call it Staten Island Afro-soul. I call it mesmerizing. (RN) Chris Beard Those who have seen Chris Beard play have been blinded by his fleet-fingered flash and been knocked out with his speed and heat. Early on, Beard’s singing was more utilitarian, there to convey the story between bursts of
Budos Band performs Saturday, June 18, at the Big Tent. PHOTO PROVIDED
guitar. It’s apparent that he’s worked on his voice as of late, as the ragged growl and wail of earlier outings is now tempered with a soulful croon, making Beard an unbeatable, complete package. (FD) Dan Schmitt & The Shadows It’s hard to say how long blues guitarist Dan Schmitt has been on the scene here in Rochester, playing the blues or hosting various open jams. Schmitt is a diverse player; rhythm master one minute, king of the stinging string the next. Materialwise, he leans a little toward classic rock durability, but never, ever strays too far from the jungle or the blue notes. (FD) Dave Rivello Ensemble You don’t have to go to New York City to hear a superb jazz orchestra; just check out the Dave Rivello Ensemble. Trained by the great Bob Brookmeyer, Rivello is a superb writer, arranger, and conductor. Grammy-winning jazz orchestra leader Maria Schneider has declared Rivello’s compositions “compelling and beautiful.” With adventurous harmonies, recalling composers as diverse as
Charles Mingus and Igor Stravinsky, Rivello’s arrangements are challenging to play, but his reputation is so strong that he attracts the finest instrumentalists, capable of riding the tides of this dynamic music. (RN) In the Country See listing for Friday, June 17. Jonas Kullhammar Quartet See listing for Friday, June 17. The Lawnmowers Fronted by the majestic Bahama Mama himself, Ron Stackman, The Lawnmowers serve up a brand of deep-dish traditional reggae, that’s sweaty, libidinous, and raw. Bring a date. (FD) Martin Taylor w/Alison Burns See listing for Friday, June 17. Po’ Boys Brass Band Professed disciples of Bonerama, the Po’ Boys play with an element of electric wrong,
with the lead trombone getting run through stomp boxes that bend and twist and distort the sound into a creamy stratospheric tapestry. It’s like Dumbo on an acid trip. The band busts up joints nightly with brilliant material off its new album, “Intergalactic Mustache Parade,” as well as unlikely trombone tributes to tunes like “Thriller,” “Black Dog,” and “Frankenstein.” (FD) Regina Carter Violinist Regina Carter has had an extraordinary decade. In 2002, she became the first jazz musician to play and record with Niccolo Paganini’s violin, the Guarneri del Gesu, in Genoa, Italy. That’s like playing Jimi Hendrix’s guitar (luckily, Paganini didn’t smash his axe). In 2006 she won a prestigious MacArthur “genius” grant. On her latest album, “Reverse Thread,” Carter brilliantly explores the folk music of Mali, Uganda, and Senegal with a contemporary sensibility, enhancing her wonderful violin sound with accordion and the West African harp known as the kora. (RN)
Tinted Image Whether Rochester smooth jazz outfit Tinted Image whittles it down to play as an acoustic trio, or fleshes it out with bass, it’s singer Alyssa Coco’s sweet voice that’ll knock you out. Her vocal lines effortlessly weave in, out, and around her melodious inflections. Joel Vickers’ silky smooth sax adds even more slither, as Matt Merritt’s guitar takes the jazz and makes it go pop. And there’s always that full-band funk groove coiled and ready and waiting just around the corner. (FD) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros Walt Wilkins is a troubadour in the fine Texas tradition of legends like Billy Joe Shaver. His music is honest, folky, and storied with the lonesome pine of his geography adding to its emotional resonance. With The Mystiqueros, Wilkins has not only fashioned a strong backbone for his music, but has assembled a super group that adds layered harmonies and depth to the longing and the beauty. (FD)
48 CITY • JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2011
City Newspaper's Jazz Festival Guide featuring interviews with artists, day-by-day schedule, artist bios, and festival details!