Well, my lovely daughter and I arrived on the scene about 5:00pm only to find the line for Russell Malone down the alleyway and onto the street behind the Kilbourn all the way to the back door of the Rochester Club. I almost gave up, thinking that we wouldn't get in. But folks in front of me were optimistic - their experience on previous nights led me to believe we would make it through the doors. And, voila, we did. We had nosebleed seats, but that was okay.
Russell Malone performed contemporary, original tunes - my favorite being Flirt - alongside some standard ballads. Everything was great. Always a melody, but his own spin on everything. The members of his band were excellent as well. I'm looking at his website as the band members were not listed in the program. This is wrong, as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, the amazing drummer was Johnathan Blake. And he was ... AMAZING.
The concert was over exactly an hour after it started, and based on what Russell said before the last tune, we knew there was not going to be an encore. But we definitely got a full hour of delightful music, for sure. He was engaging with the audience - had great stage presence - and his talent, and that of his band, was not to be denied. I would love to see him again for more than an hour. I'm trying not to make this concert sound as good as it was since Joe missed it. But Russell Malone was damn good.
As we were finding our way out of the building, my daughter chose a bathroom with a line. As she waited, she saw the band coming out of a room next door to the bathroom. I positioned myself strategically, and as the band members were being led out of the "green room?" to go out to dinner, I ambushed both the drummer and Russell for autographs. They most graciously signed our Club Passes and chit-chatted a bit with us.
My daughter and I left to go get something to eat. We were going to go down to Veneto, but stopped at the Sagamore Grill instead. We got in, got seated and placed our orders. After that, I decided it was my time to find the Ladies' Room. Just as I got settled in there, the fire alarm went off - flashing lights and honking siren and all. Had my daughter not been out there, I would have stayed in the bathroom and finished what I had intended to do; however, with her out there in some possible danger, I fled out the door. As I came into the restaurant, she was evacuating with the rest of the patrons. We all stood around outside for a few minutes, and then when it was determined there was no danger, we were let back in. Our salad awaited. It was good. Simple, but good. Then Caroline's tuna steak arrived in all its rare glory. She said it was perfect. It was accompanied by a fabulous orzo salad. My burger was cooked exactly to my specifications - well done to over-cooked. Just like I ordered it; I don't like raw! The fries were so good that they should be illegal. Seriously. Could. Not. Stop. The owner/manager gave us a drink on the house for the inconvenience of the "fire." The food was really good. Can't wait to go back and take Joe.
Ran into my good friend and jazz bloggist (??), Greg Bell. It's always good to see him at anything. Had the chance to chat with one of Joe's good friends and colleagues - John Nau. Met a new friend in the line. That is the one cool thing about all this standing in lines. Sometimes you meet some really awesome people.
Tomorrow night - 6:00 pm at the Club Pass Tent - Bill Tiberio Band, which includes Joe Chiappone, Geoff Smith, Scott Bradley and Phil Lake. Be there.
yours in music,