Live Jazz Withdrawal

Joe Lovano and Us Five at the Rochester Jazz Festival
Joe Lovano and Us Five at the Rochester Jazz Festival

Joe Lovano opened the last night of Day 9 with a different Us Five than his YouTube video. This one featured only one drummer and his wife, Judi Silvano, in that order. Joe moves about the stage with a wireless mic and tosses off melodies like he is in the middle of a lively conversation and most of the animation was between the amazing drummer, Francisco Mela, and Joe. Judi’s skat, Cameron Brown’s bass, (he’s recorded with Archie Shepp and Mal Waldron) James Weidman’s piano made this a rich musical experience. Joe Lovano is big league.

Delirium at first seemed like a toy band. But that is only in comparison to Joe Lovano. This Finish quartet has been together for ten years and they sound it. Their arrangements are crisp and cleanly delivered with lots of unison horn. They are all great players but the tenor sax player was exceptional. They have their own European (more pageantry and less blues based) jazz sound and it’s a lot of fun. Their last tune was entitled, “Let’s Have Some Pie”.

Aaron Parks has one of the goofiest haircuts I’ve seen in a while. We were excited to see the Respect Sextet’s Ted Poor in the drum chair and gave these guys about a half hour but never warmed up to them. Aaron’s flowing, lyrical piano style seemed to butt heads with Ted’s rambunctious rough edges and the bass player was not holding this all together. Can’t we have Respect Sextet here every year?

We finished the Fest at Montage with the Antonio Ciacca Group. We had see Antonio at Kilbourn a few years back and really loved his playing. He came out limping (literally) tonight and seemed kind of tired. We were sitting right next to his piano but he was not loud enough. The tenor sax player was great. Everybody is great. This festival just keeps getting better and better. We said hi to and thanked co-promoter Marc Iacona on the way out (he was a former student of Peggi’s) but we can’t thank him enough.

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