Donny McCaslin Group at Rochester International Jazz Festival

I thought it was interesting that people pulled right out onto he filled in Inner Loop to park for free last night. The city was packed for last night of Jazz Fest. Tonight was for the back up musicians, David Bowie's Blackstar band at Xerox and Bruno Mars backup band at one of the outdoor stages.

We started with Donny McCaslin Group, a four piece, who sounded really great in the Xerox auditorium. The keyboard player has a big role in their sound and he had plenty of unusual sounds but his Mopho x4 was a little overbearing. And there was a little too much four-on-the-floor from the drums for my tastes. I really liked the sax player's playing. Peggi talked to him after the gig about EarthQuaker effects. The band's new record is based on their experience working with David Bowie and they played an instrumental version of Bowie's "Lazurus." It was the best song they did.

Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People at Rochester International Jazz Festival

We stopped for a few minutes at the outdoor stage on Parcel 5 where local soul band, Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People, were playing. I love their name and their sound files sound great. The here wasoverblown. I'm looking forward to hearing them in better environment.

Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity at Rochester International Jazz Festival

The trio over at the Lutheran Church was led by the drummer. Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity had a light airy sound but they played fast and furious. The drummer soloed with brushes. The sax player played tenor and soprano and both at once. The bass played reminded me of Charlie Haden. They played so well together it was quite amazing.

Tessa Souter at Rochester International Jazz Festival

We stopped in Christ's Church to hear a bit of Tessa Souter. I was glad to see Billy Drumund in the drum chair. Souter sounds like a really good lounge singer. I don't mean that as any kind of slight. I would love to be stuck in a hotel bar somewhere or on a cruise ship and have the Spanish guitar, the double bass and Billy's drums backing her chanteuse show. They weren't serving drinks in the church though.

Band playing at house party next door to the Little at Rochester International Jazz Festival

We ran into my brother the other night and he was disappointed because there was no band in front of the University Club. He comes down for the free stuff. He likes blues and he usually finds something he likes there. Tonight there was a band there and they were doing a James Brown's "Cold Sweat" when we walked by.

International Orange at Rochester International Jazz Festival

The guitar player in International Orange at the Little Theater was really great. He played all kinds of fingerpicking, slide and whammy bar stuff. He sounded a bit like one of those African Highlife players. I kind of wish he had a different band. The the drummer was a little heavy handed and the electric piano just didn't sound that good with the guitar. And the bass player certainly didn't need two five string basses. They did a Pat Methany song and something off Keith Jarrett's "Belonging" but the guitar player's stuff was the best.

photos by P Doddy - click photos to advance > next page >