Full Monty

Jesus freaks with a camera downtown Rochester, New York

Here I was taking a picture of these Jesus freaks downtown and I now see he had a small video camera pointed at me. My camera card has been acting up. While it was mounted on my computer I wasn’t able to rename photos on the card or drag unwanted photos to the trash. I reformatted the card in the camera and that fixed the issue but when I went to take a photo of Monty Alexander and Peggi out on the street this afternoon the camera read “No Card.” Re-inserting fixed that issue but Monty was gone.

Tommy Smith is an Scottish gentleman who plays a gorgeous tenor sax. I don’t mean his horn is particularly good looking. His tone is rich and warm and it sounded especially good in the round opera hall. He played solo at the Lyric Theater this afternoon and it was everything you would want from a jazz performance. Melodic, rhythmic and moving.

Back at Kilbourn for more Monty Alexander, this time in a trio setting. We sat next to Gap Mangione. Monty had the same bass player as when we last heard them here, someone who has been with him for thirty years or so. And I think the drummer was a former Eastman student because after the show he addressed John Beck, the former head of the percussion department, as “Mr. Beck.” With a rythmn section, Monty is grounded. And when he is grounded he is more astonishing, melodically and rhythmically, in equal measure. He is so musically gifted and has such fun with it all that it is pure joy to be a witness. Corny enough to quote the Flintstone theme mid song and get away with it. And he finished with a heart-wrenching version of “No Woman, No Cry.” Monty gets our vote (again) for Best of the Fest.

At the Lutheran Church we heard something other than jazz. Klabbesbank. Three horns up front playing arrangements on top of sequenced keyboard tracks. A guitar player and drummer played along.

Anthology was our last stop of the evening. Kind of amazing how loud this club is. There’s a whole second row of speakers in the back of the club just so you can’t possibly get away from the volume. Electric Kif is a little bit of everything, mostly over the top with it all. Too many gnarly keyboards for my taste and progressive with no ideas. The jazz fest slide show by the door was more interesting than the band.

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