The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest is just starting – 9 days of music in cafes, small clubs, big concert halls, free outdoor stages, recording studios, the public library, and classrooms…lunchtime concerts, afternoons and evenings of music, and late nights that spill into early mornings. There really seems to be something for every taste and approach.
Everyone will have their own list of what you should check out – and then those lists will change as everyone experience the music and discovers their new favorite sound. You can catch up with my colleague Julia Figueras each day during Morning Edition on WXXI News (at approximately 8:43am) and then catch the Jazz Corner on WRUR at 10:30 each morning on Open Tunings with Scott Regan and Jeff Spevak.
Perhaps just because I can, I wanted to share a few of the things are on my radar (and I would love to hear any of your suggestions – I love discovering new things, and sometimes there is just TOO MUCH to process):
OH MY GOSH. WHAT IS THIS WONDERFUL WEIRDNESS? Pardon the shouting. I am in love with this group, who I suppose on paper are a Ukranian world music ensemble - but really, WHAT?
Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan (Sunday June 25, 6pm & 9pm, Kilbourn Hall)
Umm, living legend? Bill Frisell - Copland-interpreter, sonic dreamer, nostalgic technologist - whatever it is he's selling, I'm buying it. I can't wait to hear what he's up to this time.
Yggdrasil (Friday June 23, 7:30pm & 9:30pm, Lutheran Church of the Reformation)
Eivor (Saturday June 24, 7:30pm & 9:30pm, Lutheran Church of the Reformation)
Kristian Blak (Sunday June 25, 5:45pm & 7:45pm, Hatch Recital Hall)
Ever since my first year living in Rochester and attending the jazz festival, I have been in love with the "Nordic Jazz Now!" series at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Chestnut Avenue. I am again looking forward to checking out all they have to offer, but I am particularly intrigued by the return of some artists from the Faroe Islands, brought together by Kristian Blak.
Donny McCaslin Group (Saturday July 1, 6:30pm and 9pm, Xerox Auditorium)
All those wonderful sounds in David Bowie's final album, Blackstar? These are the guys. Donny McCaslin has also played some great collaborations with Eastman School of Music alum Maria Schneider.
Postmodern Jukebox (Tuesday June 27th, 8pm, Kodak Hall)
Everything eclectic, re-imagined, and fun.
(okay, I’m biased – I’m the one who books the music there! But still, I think people don’t always notice all the free options there are on the edges of the festival).
Again - I know, I know, I know - there will be so much more. You can peruse the whole schedule here. But if I don't stop writing this blog post, the festival will be over before I get there. Hope to see you out and about.