Runnin’ out of steam
It is Sunday afternoon and I am resting at home and trying to catch up with life after taking the last nine days off. Somehow I never even got to track our peregrinations from Friday Night so here goes, from memory.
We started at Montage again to hear Brad Shepik. Enjoyable, long wait in line, we were very near the front when we arrived. The music was excellent and we were rocking along with it until we both felt it was getting a bit repetitious. So we cut out and headed over to Xerox Auditorium to hear Little Red Suitcase. This was a WOW for us. Two nicely matched voices with some really weird instrumentation including penny whistles, a slightly out of tune old accordion and others including a piano with various things stuffed in the strings to alter the sound. We really enjoyed them and even thought about coming back for more, but there is already not enough time to hear everything we want to hear.
We went off the reservation a bit (half a block) to Spot for dinner. Carol found a lovely salad, something she had been dreaming about, and I had a nice sandwich. It was a change from food on the street. We went on to the Big Tent for Djabe. There were no seats to be had so we stood at the rail behind the sound setup and enjoyed the show from there. A big treat was John Nugent’s joining the group with his sax for a couple of numbers. He is great with the sax as well as at promoting jazz in Rochester.
We still had some hearing left so we decided to venture back into Abilene for Bryan Lee & The Blues Power Band. We got there in time for front row seats. Carol could not sit still so she went to stand further back in the crowd that assembled. Seated where I was it became apparent that loss of hearing was not going to be a joke. At one point I shoved my fingers in my ears and my neighbor, seeing this, took out a bag of fresh earplugs and offered them to me. Gratefully, I stuffed them in my ears and enjoyed the rest of the set immensely.
Timing was good when they wrapped up and we headed over to jazz Street for Abbots Custard for Carol and popcorn for me. The street was swarming as the early show of Jeff Beck had let out and the 11 PM show was filling. We strolled up to East Avenue and the closing strains of Booker T & the MGs gave us a following wind as we began our walk home.
Add four to the count.
Saturday we set out early for the walk to Montage, again, to for Ibrahim Electric. We met many of the same people in line that we had met before and some new people. The activity level on the street was high as it appeared that the forecast storms had decided to go elsewhere and it was a warm, balmy evening. There were now two stages on East one at Chestnut and the other at Alexander. With East Ave closed off from Goodman to Main there was a lot of detouring for drivers. Even walking we eventually had to detour to get home. Ibrahim Electric were electrifying we stayed in our seats from the first note to the last and then begged for more. When we recovered our breath we headed out the door and over to Java Joe’s for sandwiches. Carol went to look elsewhere, but could not find a salad nearby so joined me for a veggie sandwich.
Having eaten too fast we headed over to Lutheran Church of the Reformation (to give them their full name) to hear Mikko Innanen & Innkvistio. They had had airline luggage issues and were missing their CDs to sell, a trombone and the synthesizer player’s pants – he was in shorts. The trombonist also plays sax, very well, and they revised their program and did some improvisation to take advantage of the equipment they had. At the end of the set we quick timed over to Christ Church to hear Dennis Rollins Velocity Trio. We hadn’t planned it, but this was the last Club Venue we were to hear and what a way to go out. All three performers were engaged and alive to the music. There was no sitting still for any of us and the hour flew by far too quickly. As we headed for the door we both realized that we could not possibly go on to another venue for the 10 PM show. We had hit the wall together and we wandered the streets of the festival, basking in the heavy bass of the three street stages and the big tent without really engaging any of it. We met friends all doing the same thing. Some people were talking about asking the promoters to add a tenth night next year for the tenth annual XRIJF. I don’t think I could take it.
As we headed out East Ave we got closer and closer to the Alexander street stage with Smash Mouth. I can vouch for it’s being loud with lots of bass. We put in our ear plugs and detoured up the alley a half block before Alexander and worked our way over to Park Ave where peace and quiet reigned. We got home and collapsed.
It was a GREAT Xerox Rochester Jazz Festival.
The count: add three more venues, total 7 since night 7’s total count of 33. Grand total of 40 venues in 9 nights, all for $105 each. This was a great entertainment bargain, the greatest I can imagine. We won’t forget and look forward to attending again.