We started with three female vocalists on Day One, June 19th and we ended Day Nine with a female vocalist. That was about all they had in common and what we saw and heard in between was as broad a definition of “Jazz” as anyone could consider. The range was from Bluegrass to avant gard and from quiet and intimate piano solo in Hatch Hall to loud and boisterous in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater.
Last night we started with Steep Canyon Rangers who had been in town for two prior Jazz Fests with Steve Martin and were back on the main stage without him and there were plenty of unsold seats for the 4 PM and only concert. Nugent and Iacona made a decision to open the unsold balcony seats to Club Pass holders. They got the news out on Friday morning in the daily Jazz Festival News email and with a push to all Club Pass holders. Although we had not planned on that concert the chill, rainy day made it seem like a good idea. Also at 4 PM it would not interfere with other venues we wanted to go to. We started in an indoor lineup for the balcony seats at 3 having walked through the first serious rain of the festival this year. I really enjoyed their performance, they did not go beyond the bounds of what could be expected from a fine Bluegrass sextet. There was some wonderful quartet harmony singing and the drummer worked his box drum like a full drum kit although during the encore he come out and used the string bass strings as a percussion instrument with his sticks.
We danced out of the hall into the rain, although we were sheltered by the Eastman Marquee, right around to Kilbourn Hall for Clifton Anderson Quintet. We found seats one row up from Ron Netsky and we had a chat about the crazy intense volume of the outdoor stages. In a neighboring seat was a man whose name I have forgotten who specializes in the effect of sound on people who agreed that the levels used in entertainment were beyond what would be permitted in a work setting. The hall filled slowly, never reaching sold out before the six man quintet came on stage. Not sure when it morphed from a quintet to a sextet. The tenor sax player was clearly the added person, his playing was wonderful to hear, but he did not appear to be well and when not playing he left the stage altogether. Once again we were treated to a great bass solo as well as piano and the leader Clifton Anderson on trombone was extraordinary. He took a solo that went on and on, I did not believe he could have the strength and wind needed to play such an extended solo, I did not want it to end. They came back for an encore and took off on “The Sun Will Come Out” from Annie the Musical.
We strolled out from that to something completely different, The Wood Brothers at Harro East. I guess they decided that with all the rain they cold ignore the capacity rules. The place was packed with people standing every place. Somehow I found two stools and space at a table to perch right behind the rows of chairs. Great seats for viewing and hearing. This set headed into a place we had not been, with audience members pressing up to the stage as the beat got wilder. When they concluded their last number they left a screaming mob wanting more. They come back out and did another number totally acoustic. It was amazing how quiet the hall got as everyone listened intently. A third of the way back we heard clearly and I was able to understand the words better than when they were amplified. That was the second totally acoustic number we heard, not counting the solo pianists in Hatch and Lyric, and I would love to hear more musicians show their ability in this way.
We came out of Harro into the rain, yes it was really raining and it put a damper on all the planned outdoor events even though we did hear the groups performing and saw crowds standing and sitting under umbrellas. I am sure that those were the hard core, we were more than glad to escape into The Rochester Club for a quiet dinner while waiting for Alex Pangman to perform at 10 PM. We have avoided this venue because first the music in the past has been lounge music, great for background listening, not so great for intense listening, second the place has been refrigerated down to meat locker temperatures. Last night Alex appeared dressed in style from the 1930s or 40s and her music was all from that era or earlier. There was swing and boogie woogie and some straight ahead standards, including an instrumental version of Tea for Two which has figured in a number of performances this past 9 days. We had a great time and would go to hear Alex Pangman again and I promise Carol to bring my dancing shoes the next time!
Back into the rain! We stopped by the apartment to freshen up a bit before heading to the Plaza for the jam session. As we hit Saint Paul street we had second thoughts, it was late, we were tired and it was pouring harder than ever. We agreed that Alex would be the last sound of the festival we would carry forward until the next time we get to XRIJF. And we can keep that acronym for now as Xerox has renewed their contract for the next three years.
|I don’t do a lot of selfies, but here we are as XRIJF winds down in Rochester Club|
I am not sure when I will post again, probably in a week or so, but the topic will be very different.