Band outside of Spot Coffee at Rochester International Jazz Festival

This young band was just finishing up a tune when we walked by Spot Coffee on East Avenue.

Songs of Freedom – Ulysses Owens, Jr. Music Director featuring Alicia Olatuja and Theo B at Rochester International Jazz Festival

We started the night with Songs of Freedom, drummer and musical director Ulysses Owens' project featuring interpretations of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Abbey Lincoln featuring the vocalists Alicia Olatuja and Theo B. The band and singers were top shelf, real pros, surely the best musicians we'll see at the Festival. Still not as satisfying as hearing the original artists they are covering but we don't have that luxury. They were performing Joni's "Borderline" above.

Liz Vice at Rochester International Jazz Festival

We were a little late for everything tonight, the World Cup got in our way again, but we were really late for Liz Vice at Montage. She was just finishing the the last song with a rave u when we walked in. Looked like a real party.

Shake Stew at Rochester International Jazz Festival

Shake Stew is led by Lukas Kranzelbinder, one of the two bass players in the group. They have have two drummer too and three horns. With a double trio lineup they are more than capable of coming across like a steamroller. But what a ride. I have to say I much preferred being able to hear the interplay in their former band, Interzone, a single trio who played the festival in 2015 and 2017.

Jazzmeia Horn at Rochester International Jazz Festival

I can't imagine a more positive attitude than the one Jazzmeia Horn adapts for performance. Positive in sound, message laden self-help lyric and smile. Her bass player and drummer propelled her set. The duo with the piano player put it to sleep.

Davina and the Vagabonds at Rochester International Jazz Festival

Some Bourbon Street, some barrelhouse piano blues and some real swagger make Davina and the Vagabonds a festive, festival act. From Louie Jordon to the Lovin' Soonful, they put their barroom saloon stamp on everything they touched. We had our first beer of the festival, a Goose Island IPA, in the big tent while listening to Davina, who reminded us of our good friend Cheryl Laurro. We were standing next to Phil Marshall who told us he had played with the Vagabond's bass player.


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