22 June 2009

Rochester International Jazz Fest - Night Eight

Started night eight with Pat Martino at Kilbourn Hall. I wouldn't have thought that this show would feature the best B3 trio I saw at the fest, but it did. I have always loved Martino's playing, both his tone and his style of picking and strumming simultaneously. He plays some rapid fire notes but in a very unshowy way, it always makes sense and always sounds perfect. His band was quite good too, I especially enjoyed Tony Monaco on B3, he KNEW how to get the right sound out of that thing, really holding the right notes and for the right amount of time, sounded great. Martino told a great story that started with him a teenager playing 7 40m sets a night in the city under the tutelage of Les Paul, and ended with him eating an early morning breakfast after a night's work with Les Paul, George Benson, Wes Montgomery, and Grant Green. WHOA...

Passed through briefly to hear Norma Winstone sing with only a piano accompaniment. Great voice and interesting style, which I dubbed Mr. Roger's jazz, and I don't mean that as a slight. Rewatching that show with my daughter I found a new appreciation for the music behind that show, especially when they pulled back the curtain on one episode and revealed that the music was all played live in the studio while they recorded. Anyway, Winstone's music was very visual and carried a lot of feeling.

Grabbed a quick bite over the sounds of Po Boys Brass Band who I have previously really enjoyed, but the short segment I caught here was a cover of Carry On Wayward Son that was played WAY too close to the original and sounded kind of silly I thought.

Next was Arve Henrikson. It will be tough to do these guys justice in words, I have no idea what exactly was going on up on stage, but it was freakin amazing. Just two guys, Henrikson played trumpet and sang into two different mics hooked into some major effects, and another guy with a keyboard, multitudes of pedals, and what appeared to be his own soundboard type thing, I just say he was the electronic facilitator since he really didn't "play" anything. When Henrikson sang what came out was very jarring at first, a beautiful high-pitched woman's voice, not unlike the voice of Sigur Ros. That was most of the time, other times it was very low, like a throat singer almost. The other guy would loop and manipulate what Henrikson was playing and create new sounds and rhythms. At one point Henrikson played his trumpet in short percussive blurts that were then used as the beat for the song. In one of the final pieces they got the crowd to sing in two part harmony and recorded and looped it and kept us singing over the top of it all. I know it is against the rules of the RIJF, but I couldn't help but get a quick video of this, just too cool. In announcing the "band" Henrikson introduced the soundman, meaning either they travelled with their own soundman and he was integral to the music, or they just really wanted to thank the guy running the boards for the RIJF.

Then I headed down to see Robert Randolph do his thing. I was hoping to make it back and see some more jazz to end the night, but damn that stage is far, once you're out there there's no coming back...

I haven't seen the Family Band in a few years and have done a pretty poor job of keeping up with them. Though as I would come to find out, nothing much has changed in their act, still doing and teaching The March, still inviting oodles of young ladies up on stage to dance during Shake Your Hips etc etc. There were a couple of new tunes I had never heard, but for the most part it was old hat, and as good as it ever was. Fairly early into the set they got Phil Campbell from the Campbell Brothers to sit in on guitar which was good. But later they got Chuck to sit in on pedal steel and that was AMAZING. They were really going at it. Add to that Susan Tedeschi and Ryan Shaw on vocals and we had ourselves a good old-fashioned throwdown that was reminiscent of some of the first times I saw RRFB when they would play with anyone and everyone for a chaotic and crazy time. I had said earlier that there weren't enough sit-ins at the RIJF, leave it to Robert Randolph to fix that problem.

A fantastic night of music in downtown Rochester.

UPDATE: Robert Randolph recording up on LMA

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