XRIJF Day 2

We managed to live the plan! First stop, in the rain, was  Max where we got our wrist bands. Things are not working out as expected. This was to be a 6:15 show with Igor Butman, saxophone, and we figured by 4 we would be plenty early. NOT! We got wrist bands for the second group to be admitted at 5:50. While hanging in the drizzle we decided to get into the entry line for our wristband and wait there with friends, long time and brand new “line friends.” the time flew and soon we had front row seats right in the center of the hall, any closer and Igor would have been dripping on us. I cannot express all the superlatives of hearing this smaller group – quintet. Each performer was wonderful and the pianist, a young blind man, was incredible. He also sang beautifully in Russian and unaccented English. Butman is one of the best saxophone players we’ve heard playing both Tenor and Soprano Sax. And then it was over. . .

It had run late so we scrambled over to Lutheran Church to hear Eivor. Our plan was to stay for a couple of numbers and move on, but we took seats in the front row, center (a pattern?) and there we were transfixed. Her vocal range goes way up almost beyond where I can hear. Her control and dynamic range are gorgeous and her use of guitar, Faeroe Island drum and electronics were all well balanced. She told a story about her first trip to Jazz Fest and finding House of Guitars where she bought her first electric guitar which she was playing. And then she went there again the day of the performance and bought a new guitar which she said she had not played other than in the store and proceeded to play a number on it. We stayed right through the encore. And then it was over and time to move on. . .

To Kilbourn Hall where Billy Child’s Quartet was performing. To our total shock we were able to walk in 10 minutes before the show and get decent seats. Rain and time had reduced the audience some. There was some initial fiddling around as the drummer left the stage looking for something, then came back out and asked if someone in the audience had a drum key. Sure enough, John Beck, retired professor of percussion, sitting a row behind us stood up and walked down to the stage with his ever present drum key in hand. The show went on and I would advise if you want to read a great review of the performance read this, I can’t do it any better. Be sure to read about the saxophone player, is there another pattern here. And there was an encore and it was over. . .

The line outside Max at 10:10 meant there was no likelihood of getting to see Butman again so we moved on the the Big Tent where Huntertones were busy keeping the audience in an up tempo mood. They are a quintet including sax and trombone. We stayed through the encore, the sound level was fine, a quirk given this venue’s notoriety for pain inducing decibel levels. And it was over for the night, except after dropping Carol off at the apartment I went on  to the Jam and enjoyed some real jam session jazz and a unique experience of a French Horn in the jam. And I was exhausted and went home to sleep.

As I write Avi, our youngest grandson is on his way from LA to Rochester, I think I may have mentioned this a time or two. He decided, without any word from us, that the Sax was a better choice than the Clarinet even though it is more to drag. Great choice. We will pick him up sometime near 6 PM and drop his stuff in the apartment then head for Jazz Street. We need to buy him some XRIJF apparel, and show him the venues. Our plan is to take in the Adam Kolker Trio at The Little and maybe Red Hook at the Big Tent – both are Sax groups. If he has the stamina, it will be on to the Jam so he can get the lay of the land.

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