Past the midpoint already. It’s blazing. Of course having Avi along has added a whole different aspect to our own take on the music. He is a discerning listener and is not shy about telling us that he has had enough of a performer or that we really ought to stay for one more number. We all went to the Youth Workshop with Tommy Smith. OMG I got a whole new outlook on the art of jazz improv. I hope Avi is able to take away some of what he learned to develop his own taste and performance.
At 4 we went on to the Lyric for Monty Alexander solo piano. He is an old timer and he did not bring anything new to the stage. He did bring energy, humor and solid performance. I must admit I caught up on some shuteye. We rolled out of there, the most easterly venue of the Fest, headed for Harro East, the most westerly venue of the Fest, not counting the Jam Session. There we caught Bill Evans Band Featuring Tommy Smith. Two masters of improv on the sax plus three other masters covering guitar, bass and drums. The place rocked! We were glued to the stage. We stayed for the encore. The contest for best of the best now has three leaders, Add in Miguel Zenon and Marquis Hill and it is all great.
From there we headed north to Xerox Hall, we seemed to be working the edges of the map, for Kendrick Scott, Oracle. I was having a heard time understanding the reading. There was a fascinating piece using Obama’s voice and “tapes” from a police shooting of a black man together with drum solo. It was strong and political, not sure how it fit as Jazz, but it certainly was performance. We moved on before the set was over to give a listen to Floating Point at Lutheran Church. This was esoteric, a hybrid of classical and jazz. None of us could get into it. As a standalone set it might have worked for me, but with so much else around I was lost and we three agreed to move on after two numbers.
The next move was to Christ Church for Made in the UK, David Higgins and Atlantic Bridge Quartet. For a UK group it was made up of a French Bassist, an Italian Drummer and an American pianist along with Higgins, the Londoner and leader on Sax. We got in on time for the beginning and stayed on through the “one more piece.” I felt they were a bit too up tight and tied into their charts. Only at the end did Higgins seemed to move away from the chart and let loose with some imagination.
We wanted to hear Vanessa Rubin at Max, but by the time we got there the doors were closed and there was a substantial line waiting for early departures to make room. We headed instead to the Big Tent for something really, really completely different, Hot Club of Cowtown called themselves Western Swing. There was nothing of Jazz in the trio of violin (maybe fiddle would be a better term) guitar and bass. Their energy level was up in the stratosphere and we rocked right through the entire performance. The Gypsy violin piece was incredible and so was most of what they did. and it was Carol’s first choice. We trundled over to the Jam Session to find they had moved out of the too large room into the too small adjacent bar. We were back to no room to sit and limited air to breath. Also the noise level makes it hard to hear the performers. After an hour we called it a night.
Todays plan is being formed as I write 🙂 We will go over to the Youth Workshop at 1 and then head over to Lyric where Tommy Smith will take the stage solo. Can’t wait to hear him making it up as he goes along. Then on to Max for Shauli Einav Quartet. Marcia Ball at Harro and/or Electric Kif at Squeezers and wrap with Bobby Militello at Montage. If we don’t get into Max for 6:15, we may just lineup to be sure to hear Einav at his 10 PM show at Max.