“Many Worlds with Greg Burk” were the most adventurous band we have seen at this year’s festival and they were one of the best. Led by Detroit’s and now Rome’s Greg Burk on piano they indeed explored many worlds. They aired out their arrangements to the point where they teetered, just long enough to make you wonder who’s in charge and then they were off again. They have enough confidence and trust in each other to pull way back intensifying their music with every rest. Colorful arrangements featured flute, soprano and tenor sax, a great bass player and a loose limbed, left handed drummer made for an extremely melodic set
We talked to Greg after their set and told him how much we loved their music. He said they were a little nervous because they felt the other acts here were so much more straight ahead. He’s right on. With club passes that would get us into ten different venues we could not find anything else of interest last night.
Every Jazz Fest we stumble on one one act that is so good we see both the first and second show. Dave Liebman Quartet and Blake Tartare were both in that category a few years ago. This year it was Francois Bourassa Quartet from Canada. Three quarters of the band have been playing together for twelve years it shows as they complete each others thoughts and delicately support one another as they solo. The wild card here is the young Philippe Melanson on drums. Like a Warhol Factory star you can’t take your eyes off him and he plays in a completely unique way so you can’t help but tune in.
I’ve been keeping track of some of the Jazz Fest here.
Chuchito Valdes, the son and grandson of famous Cuban bandleaders, opened at Montage with a rousing Cuban number that came on like a tropical storm and brought the crowd to their feet. This guy is sensational! His piano playing is every bit as powerful as the powerful drummer who was sitting on the other side of the stage from him. And then it was as delicate as can be on a beautiful rendition of “Over The Rainbow.” It’s kinda creepy when someone makes everyone every other band at the festival sound like a toy band.
Charnette Moffett was named after his father, Charles, and Ornette Coleman, who Charles played with. Charles plays drums on the fabulous “Golden Cirle” albums from the mid sixties and Charnette plays bass on two of my favorite Onette cds, the two “Sound Museum” releases. We had to check him out and we were richly rewarded. Although billed as a trio he opened with a mindblowing solo performance on stand up bass. He switched to the electric bass after a half hour or so and was joined by a woman on tambura for a beautiful version of “Nature Boy”. A drummer joined next on tablas and drum kit and then a piano player and a trumpeter. They proceeded to take it out! During there last song an alarm went off and kept going off at regular intervals every twenty seconds. Charnette stopped the band started playing with the siren, wrapping melodies around the mournful siren.
This Jazz Festival thing is taking over my blog. What else is there? I took our car in for an oil change and found out it was a few months past due on inspection. I talked my father through downloading a new driver for his Canon printer. And I helped our neighbor, Jared, straighten out some heavy metal forks for his tractor. At first he had me bang on them with a big hammer but that was going nowhere. So he suggested that I take them out in the yard where we laid them on a tree stump. I took a big sledge hammer to the two bent parts. Jerod pointed to the spot he wanted me to hit and I swung away. I only hit the target about fifty percent of the time so it got worse a few times before it got better. I don’t think I did any 4D work today.
The line for David Murray was already halfway down Barrett Alley at 5:15. Murray’s bass player, Jaribu Shahid, is also the new bass with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. He started a song called “Banished”, from the documentary of the same name, with a beautiful bowed intro. Murray switched to bass clarinet and the drummer played mallets. It was the stand out tune of the night. We tried to add the movie to our NetFlix queue but it has not been released yet.
We caught a few songs by the Jae Sinnett Quartet at Christ Church and Jae reminded us how lucky we are in Rochester to have jazz at our Jazz Fest. He said, “Compare yourselves to fifty other major cities and look at the line-up of their jazz festivals”. Here we were worried that the promoters were bringing in too many mainstream music acts. I guess we’re doing better than we knew. Thank John Nugent when you see him darting around.
I’ve added some more photos from the Jazz Fest here. Click on 2008 Club Pass.
We started the night in line with Peter and Nancy for the Bad Plus at Kilbourn Hall. The Bad Plus are the rock stars of jazz, adored by their fans and the individual players seem to each have their own fan base, especially the drummer, David King. The bass player in the middle holds the wildly divergent classically tinged piano player on the left and the raucous angular drummer on the right at bay while tying it all together. But the three of them became a competent back up band for Wendy Lewis when she took the stage to sing beautiful versions of new standards by Nirvana, Pink Floyd, the Bee Gees, Bobby Vinton, U2 and Heart. This was their first gig with her, a preview of their upcoming cd.
We finished the night standing near Peter and Nancy, this time at the newly remodeled High Fidelity (they took the Labatts beer signs down). We thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie McKay, “Soul Sister Number One”. Her sincere, heartfelt songs deserved a real band, not the hot dogs (five string bass, one handed rolls with a goofy smile) she appeared with. She has one cd out in England and another on the way here. She took the stage like Sly Stone and came out in the crowd to dance and invited people back up on stage with her. She is a great entertainer.
On a tech note: A few days ago I was looking for a script that allow me to add rss feeds to a site and have them scroll. Dynamic Drive offered one and they had a live example that was pulling in current tech related feeds. One of the heads caught my eye. It was something about WordPress sites getting hacked. I followed the link and it had a few tips about settings that I was already using so I moved on. But when I checked in on my blog this morning I was alarmed by the fact that my recent posting were missing. I thought maybe it had been hacked so looked for articles but couldn’t find any. I suspected the server so I called the guy who rents the space from the guy who rents the space from the guy who owns the server in Las Vegas. Sure enough it was down yesterday and they installed a new drive and restored the sites with backups that were two days old. I back up my blog but in that space between backups it is worth noting that the only copy of this stuff is online. Unless you are in the habit of coping the entries to a text document before posting. I sometimes do this and so I found one the deleted entries there. I found the other entry in a Google cached version of that page. This was just two days ago and Google had a cached version of an entry that had gone down with an old server hard drive. Welcome to the modern world.