Whistle While You Work

Blake Tartare at the Rochester International Jazz Festival

The callous on the crouch of my left hand between my thumb and forefinger is starting to flake off. I haven’t painted or held my pallet in tat hand in a week. I did install the new Firefox browser and spent way too much time playing with the add-ons.

We didn’t find time yesterday to read the lineup for the Jazz Fest until we were in our seats at Kilbourn waiting for Joe Locke to start. The notes in the program guide said “Blake Tartare’s repertoire included works by Charles Mingus and Sun Ra” so we decided to leave and head over to Montage. Blake Tartare was loose, freewheeling and sensational like a wedding band after a break in the parking lot. They did a song from Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Rip, Rig & Panic” that lasted a half hour or so and they received a standing ovation. We made plans to come back for the second show.

Is there such a thing as punk jazz? If so these guys hold the crown. Not to imply any lack of musical ability, just to emphasize their wild streak. Michael Blake is the leader but he called a song, a cover of a Curtis Mayfield tune, which led to a few minutes of discussion amongst the band and then the decision to launch into a different song. Blake lives in New York and the other three live in Copenhagen. I can’t imagine how they pull this off. They did an encore of the Slickers’ “Johnny Too Bad” complete with an audience sing-a-long but that wasn’t enough. They stayed on stage and improvised a whistling (the piano player is playing the beer bottle) song with percussion that brought the house down again. They were the most exciting group of the festival so far.

I’ve added some more photos from the Jazz Fest here. Click on 2008 Club Pass.

2 Comments

2 Replies to “Whistle While You Work”

  1. Weren’t the Lounge Lizards labeled punk jazz? remember seeing them at the Continental? One sax player could barely play but they were uber-cool…

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