Face2Face Blogging

Peggi in hammock out back western New York
Peggi in hammock out back western New York

Spevak columns, written on assignment for the D&C, work well on a few levels. Slyly reported with descriptive delight, they often do the job without touching the subject and they always carry weight between the lines. So what does an untethered, bedroom slippered Jeff read like? JeffSpevak.com was launched yesterday in old school fashion, upstairs at Abilene. The 4D designed site was projected on the big screen and food was laid out at three stations. Manchego cheese, candy corn, chocolate covered expresso beans and out-of-this-world, smoked salmon prepared by the blogger-in-chief.

I talked baseball with Scott Regan, MySQL with Stan the Man, juggling with Don Christiano’s son, and lucrative Montauk and the Hamptons gigs with Brian Williams. Dale Evans discussed her exercise routine and Peter and Nancy told us why they’re moving to Portland. There’s more going on there. I can’t handle any more.

In his “Opening Day” post Jeff writes, “Thank You for joining me on the Internet. I’d rather we could do this face-to-face, sitting in a bar. Nonetheless, I shall have a dirty martini, thank you. And The Essential George Jones.” That, in a nut shell, is his site map. I’ve added Jeff’s site to my daily reads and I’m looking forward to joining him at the bar over “A Cup Of Loneliness“.

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Fcuk Him

Fcuk for him on display at A. J. Wright store in Rochester, New York

I had worn a hole in the rear end of my pajamas so I stopped in A. J. Wright up in Culver Ridge Plaza. I asked the clerk where the pajamas were and she took me over to a rack of “Loungewear”, all bottoms, colorful concoctions that you sometimes see big muscular guys with mullets wearing out on the street. I guess they don’t sell pjs in sets anymore. This place is so discount they don’t have a dressing room and I couldn’t decide whether to go with Large or Medium. At 6 feet, 150, I’m half of each. I went with medium.

This “Fcuk Him” product caught my eye on the reduced table near the checkout. A kid with the “Why Can’t We All Just Get A Bong” t-shirt caught my eye at the Public Market this morning. And I was thinking of this line from Jeff Spevak’s review of the crowd at last night’s Phish concert – “a museum of non-sequiturs.” Give it up for Jeff.

Everything is in season now. We hauled four big bags home. Corn from Honeyoe Falls, peaches from Hamlin and blueberries, apricots, beets, cucumbers, peppers, pears from other local farms. I just made my first tomato and onion sandwich of the year.

Deer aren’t supposed to like Rhododendrons. That’s why ours are shaped like Palm trees. And they aren’t supposed to like Marigolds either but they got ours last night. Second time this year. The yellow would have spoiled all the green anyway.

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Jazz Fest Parting Shots

Jeff and Margaret had a post jazz fest party last night. Jeff played cds from the bands that performed here and we actually stood around talking about the acts we had seen at the festival. “What was your favorite act?” was a good conversation starter as the crowd mingled on the back deck. Jeff took a poll and reported the results while standing on a chair. Monty Alexander and Jonas Kullhammar were tied for first place. Dick Storms and Scott Regan picked bands that we didn’t even see so there was plenty to go around.

As good as it was, the conversation eventually turned to how it could be better. These were just a few of the conversation points. More US/NYC bands and less from across the pond. Does the government subsidy of those bands make them cheaper than US bands? How about multiple stages up and down East Avenue with local jazz acts instead of the two big stages with big name biker acts? Why isn’t the Little Cafe a venue for the night? The big, white Jazz Fest mass of a logo is almost impossible to shoot around for photographers. The web site is sort of sad. No imbedded YouTube videos, sometimes no links to sound files and no blog feature to give your feedback. And if you gave the organizers your email address you got a useless email everyday trying to sell you stuff. But these are all minor quibbles. It is amazing that these guys pulled this thing off again. A successful jazz fest! Who can complain?

I mentioned seeing Gary Brandt at the Petter Molvaer show in an earlier post and he emailed us this followup.

“I got to the church at 6, and discovered that not only was I first on line, I was the line for 20 minutes. A guy comes around the corner and asks if this is where Nils is playing and is this the door. After chatting, I asked him where he was from. His reply, ”I flew in an hour ago for this from NYC.” The next two people to the line were from Toronto, and the next three were from northern jersey. We were all there for Nils and Arve. And yes, I spent 80 dollars and was quite happy.”

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Into The Light Filled Void

Jeff Spevak working in the tent

We were sort of lost on the second night because none of the night’s sound files excited us. We read the blurbs in booklets but we make decisions with our ears. And we know that sometimes a band will sound great live while their recordings are lifeless so we soldiered on. We ran into Rick and Monica coming out of Tim Posgate’s Banjo Hockey at the Xerox Auditorium. Monica warned us, “they aren’t improvising”. We gave it a shot. Indeed they were reading and then playing while we watched.

Nordic Connect at the Lutheran Church was melodic piano-based compositions and featured two sisters on horns playing arranged parts with the trumpet player’s husband on drums. For me they really hit the mark with a piece written by the trumpet player and dedicated to the planet. The piano player switched to the Fender Rhodes, the drummer played mallets and the tune sounded like something from Miles’ “In A Silent Way” lp. Not like one of those tunes but just pretty.

There is something maniacal about deadlines for a review of the night’s shows for the morning papers. But Jeff Spevak is better at this than anybody. He finds the color in every assignment and makes it all sound like fun. If only you could find his stuff online. The D&C continues to make their website the least hospitable stop on the web. Every time I go there they have added a new layer of nav bars. It is almost impossible to use. The articles disappear in ten days unless you want to pay for them. And we do subscribe if anybody cares. Did they really set up a blog for Jeff on the “HerRochester” site? We were happy to see him on a Mac this year.

Terrel Stafford Quartet at Montage was really good. They were all really great players, in fact. But we long not for the academic with the perfect tone but for the edge that reminds us we are alive. Like the moment when Terrel sat out during their version of “Taking A Chance On Love”. He leaned against the dark door to the right of the stage in this photo and the door flew open. Terrel almost fell into the light filled void.

These are excerpts from my jazz fest coverage as chronicled on the Refrigerator.

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