Gary Versace Trio at Rochester International Jazz Festival

Hatch Recital Hall was only half full on Tuesday night. There was a lot going on at other venues. The room is usually reserved for solo performances but pianist, Gary Versace, who graduated from the Eastman, brought the rest of his trio, bass and guitar, up from NYC for the gig. The bass player, Sean Smith, played with Peggi Lee and that impressed me. The three played each other's tunes with lots of melodic interchange. It was kind of distracting watching them reading their charts while improvising so I closed my eyes and really enjoyed the dialog.

Band in restaurant patio East Avenue at Rochester International Jazz Festival

This trio was playing in the old Rochester Club courtyard on East Avenue. The instrument in the center is a bass, a nine string bass.

Partikel at Rochester International Jazz Festival

The tenor sax player in Partikel at Christ Church had some great ideas and I really liked his playing. The arrangements were youthful and energetic and the bass player provided really interesting support but he was hard to hear. For me their sound was lost, almost run over by the frenetic drumming. The guitar player also piled on and the songs lost their steam. It could have been the room swallowing up what I wanted to hear and not the bands' fault at all.

Lucia Cadotsch “Speak Low” at Rochester International Jazz Festival

The vocalist for Speak Low introduced the band, just sax and bass, and told us they were "going to play traditional tunes, standards and folk songs that we arranged for you." This three piece covered a lot of ground. From abstract and angular to swinging grooves the band was a real pleasure to listen to. The vocalist, just like the name, spoke low more than sang but her low rent chanteuse style was a perfect fit.

The German Youth Orchestra at Rochester International Jazz Festival

The German Youth Orchestra at Xerox Auditorium is comprised of the county's top young jazz musicians. The kids apply for their positions and their government supports the two year program. Imagine that! They celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement by performing in front of digitally restored Bauhaus films from the George Eastman collection. Orchestras this big can get mushy but these kids were crisp and clear.

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