XRIJF Day 6

This is going way to fast. We had one last night with Avi and got to hear just a bit more saxophone. We also managed to traverse the length and breadth of the Fest Venue, mostly on foot. We tried the shuttle back from the Lyric and it was too slow and way too air conditioned. Maybe in the rain we might consider it again.

We started the day with Avi at the Youth Jazz Workshop in the Ray Wright Room with Tim Hagen, trumpet, giving the workshop. Once again I learned a lot about jazz improv and performance listening to this master trumpet player who has been on the scene for 50 years. Early on he called up Avi to “play some notes” based on a scale and just start with one note and pick the one to suit himself. He then got a trombone player up to do the same thing. Eventually he had them each do that and finish by playing at the same time, sort of an unplanned duet. Avi was surprised at how well it worked.

Back to the apartment to drop the sax and get ready for a long night of Jazz which really turned out to feel quite brief. First to Lyric where Tommy Smith was solo in a very large hall. He entered with a long walk down the center aisle wearing a suit and tie. He stopped twice along the way to savor the reverb in the hall then approached the stage where he made a point of using all points to play from. Based on what he said in the workshop the day before it seemed clear to me that he was listening to and reacting to the sound of the hall. During one number he began to tap his foot loudly reminding us of an exercise from the workshop where he had a pianist drive a tophat with her left foot while playing with just her right hand. sitting at the back of the stage was the grand piano used for piano performances, the lid was up! Late in the show he propped the piano bench leg on the loud pedal and began to play with his sax under the lid generating interesting reverberations which were enhanced by the hall. Again he had demonstrated this mode of play during the workshop.

Hoping to get to the 6:15 show at Max featuring Shauli Einav an Israeli sax player who graduated from ESM we got on the shuttle which was waiting in front of Lyric and we waited for the entire hall to empty and then we waited some more while begging the driver to reduce the air conditioning so the temperature could rise above meat locker. Eventually we rode the few short blocks to Scio and hurried to Max only to discover that there was no big line waiting for entry. We claimed our 2nd call wrist bands and sought some food while waiting. We got great seats with Mary Anna and Bill and enjoyed a clear view of the performance. Read this for Kushner’s review in City. While you are at it also read this for De Blase’s review of Tommy Smith. We stayed on for “one more number” and met the band after the show.

After Einav we headed over to Harro for Marcia Ball. Over crowded, noisy, excessive presence of security and fire marshals lead us to a quick departure, maybe five minutes. So seeking quiet we walked to Squeezers Stage at Anthology. Well it wasn’t quiet and it was crowded, but nowhere near as overcrowded as Harro. Great performance. Carol liked it a lot and I tolerated it. The level of base that had the seats bouncing took away some the joy I felt in the otherwise excellent performance.

To round out the night we made our way to Xerox for Charles Pillow, yet another link to City for an excellent review. We ducked out before the last number to get to Montage for Bobby Millitello. We entered as the introduction finished and stayed through the encore, “Take 5” Avi has to fly out in the morning so we skipped the Jam and headed home leaving him with an abbreviated Take 5 as the last sounds of his first Jazz Fest.

No plan yet for tonight, but we need to head to airport soon so watch for us. . .

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