Well, it's about time for me to sit down and write up my adventures from the last day of the ninth edition of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival!
My daughter and I started out by grabbing a quick bite to eat on Jazz Street - a hot dog for her and a Santa Fe Chicken Wrap for me. This was my fourth of the Jazz Fest. They seemed the least bad for me of all the "street meat" that was there to be had.
We finished up and tried to find a place to see one of my favorite local bands, The Lawnmowers, who were supposed to appear on the Jazz Street stage at 6:30. Lots of people wanted to see The Lawnmowers; there was no place to sit and hardly anywhere to stand where you could see. I had a great view of a tree. They were late starting due to some sound problems. We stayed for a few songs but then had to head down East to see Tinted Image at the East and Alexander stage.
The last (and, also, first) time I saw Tinted Image was at The Keg - an intimate venue to say the least. They were a trio that night, and were somewhat subdued. But they sounded great then. This show was on a big stage outdoors; I wondered if they would sound as good. They did. This show was all five pieces, and I was impressed. I like their sound very much. I would be surprised if this band wasn't able to take it to the next level - success-wise. Though, there are many excellent bands in this city, and some that are world class, and they just don't get that lucky break. I wish Tinted Image luck.
After we'd been there for a while, I had gotten tired of being hot, gotten tired of standing, and had gotten especially tired of having people blow their smoke in my face. So we hit the road. I was tempted to call it a night, call it a wrap. But Joe wanted to come down after working late, so I took my daughter home, and then Joe and I headed back downtown.
We walked into the Big Tent to hear Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band. They were good, but, to be honest, they were nothing special. They were a blues band, like the kind that plays at the Dinosaur on a nightly basis. You could definitely dance to them if you were so inclined. No offense to Bryan Lee, but there are certainly a number of local bands of equal or higher musicianship that could have been playing in the Big Tent that night.
We left there and headed down Jazz Street over to the East and Chestnut stage where we listened for a while to Marc Broussard. I'd never heard of him before that night, but judging from the fact that many women were swaying and singing along to the words, many others had. He had a nice, romantic sound - music you would put on in the background for a night of seducing your special someone. He looked kind of cute, too, which might explain all the swaying ladies.
We headed over to the Montage for our last club show of this edition of the Jazz Fest - Ibrahim Electric. FUN!! We were at their second show of the night, and it was apparent that they were enjoying themselves. It was their first time in America, but they said that they were feeling "at home." They wanted to do a different set for the 10:00 crowd since there were many repeat attendees; this was not always the case with other artists - many did exactly the same performances. Anyway, the band said they were going to go out on a limb and do more debuts in this set. They did one that they entitled, "Rochester Suite." It was good. And the guitarist, and seeming band leader, Niclas Knudsen, did his "robot guitar dance." This was special. Actually, it was quite fun! It was a great way to end the festival on a night when we really didn't know whom to see.
So, Joe asked me how many shows I saw, and, after thinking about it, I realized that this has been a record for me. I saw at least part of each of 21 acts. And of those 21, I saw the entire shows of 14. This does not include the Eastman shows - John Pizzarelli and Jeff Beck. I am very happy with that. I could have seen more given the right circumstances, but I have no regrets. I chose thoughtfully. This has been my best XRIJF experience ever. I'm a little whipped, and I need some recovery time, but next year seems such a long time away!
There is still lots of music to be had in this great music city - tons of great local bands. We can get our fill of live music, and we should get out and support these bands the way we support the Jazz Fest. Come on, people of Rochester! Get off your butts and come out and support our live music scene. I will be there. You be there, too!
yours in music,