In The Burning Of The Republic

View from inside the Golden Port Restaurant

I didn’t hear the Peruvian half of the Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet but the Afro-jazz part was right on. The rhythm section, piano, bass and drums were all amazing players. The percussionist was rough and tumble and that’s where the magic was. The combination was beautiful.

When Eivor was in Rochester with Yggdrasil about thirteen years ago she bought an electric guitar at the House of Guitars. In fact she was playing that guitar at the Lutheran Church. She told the crowd she went back to the HOG today and bought another guitar, something from the sixties. She finger picked Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” on it tonight. Her lofty voice was perfectly suited to the church.

Hey, we know that Guy, chatting up the cigarette lady.

This young trio laying in the street sounded pretty damn good.

Derick Lucas from WGMC introduced the Neil Cowley Trio and told us we were in for “a life changing experience.” Well, not quite. More progressive rock than jazz with lots of unison parts they were melodic and a joy to listen to but I found myself exhausted before the set ended.

After securing our wrist bands for early entrance to Kilbourn Hall on Sunday night we took refuge in Golden Port where we split a Curried Vegetable dish. It rained twice while we were in there but the sun came out just as we left.

We spotted Bill Frisell and his bass player, Thomas Morgan, going in the side door of the Eastman for their soundcheck. We’ve heard Frisell everytime he’s been here and almost decided to skip this one but I’m glad we didn’t. We found front row seats and sat right next to Bob Martin and Ken Frank from Margaret Explosion. In this duo setting Frisell sounded better than ever. The musical exchanges between the two were intense. The minor key “Rambler'” an early song of Frisell’s, was my favorite.

Matthew Leonard from the D&C introduced the band at Harro East.

Shabaka & the Ancestors tore it up. They started with a chant and the “In the burning of the republic. . .” theme ran throughout their set. “We need you people. You need these hymns. Feminize the government. Feed our children. Black lives matter.” I assume the Ancestors are artists like The Last Poets and Sun Ra. Shabaka Hutchings certainly channelled Pharoah Sanders on tenor sax.

Red Hook Soul does classic, King Curtis style, r&b. Tenor sax player, Michael Blake, whose band, Blake Tartar was one of our favorite groups of the fest a few years back and was just in town performing at the Bop Shop, leads the band, a money making project for him. Bill Frisell’s long time bassist, Tony Scheer, plays guitar in this band. They play again tomorrow night at Xerox Auditorium.

Fred Costello was playing Bill Dogget’s “Honky Tonk” on the stage at Gibbs Street. His band sounded great and we couldn’t help thinking how his R&B sounded so much more authentic than Red Hook Soul. Could have just been the great Bill Dogget number.

Elliot Galvin Trio at Christ Church was contemplative and very pretty. Their spartan sound and delicate touch worked really well in this space. Not entirely ethereal, they even played an off kilter blues.

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