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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York • Page 19

Rochester, New York
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TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 201 1 3C XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE Co-producer adds his own twist to event II. I fin rW Ml Nfc, 11 Vt If I 0 flJjfjh- John Nugent, co-producer of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, performed with the RPO strings at the Eastman Theater on Sunday. 2011 marks the 10-year anniversary of the festival Nugent founded, marie de jesusstaff photographer TODAY Noon: Mambo Kings, Downtown Public Library. Free. 4:30 p.m.: West Irondequoit High School Jazz Band, Jazz Street Stage.

Free. 5:15 p.m.: Hilton High School Jazz Band, Jazz Street Stage. Free. 5:30 and 7:15 p.m.: The Trio of OZ, Harro East Ballroom. $20 or club pass.

6 p.m.: Calle Uno, Festival Big Tent. $20 or club pass. 6 and 10 p.m.: Curtis Stigers, Kilbourn Hall. $25 or club pass. 6 and 10 p.m.: Marcus Strickland Quartet, Montage Music Hall.

$20 or club pass. 6 and 10 p.m.: The Vitale Brothers, Rochester Club Ballroom. $20 or club pass. 6:15 and 10 p.m.: Harold Danko Group, Max of Eastman Place. $20 or club pass.

Santos Neto, Xerox Auditorium. $20 or club pass. 6:45 and 8:45 p.m.: Paula GardinerHuw Warren Duo, Christ Church. $20 or club pass. 7 and 9 p.m.: Jon Seiger and the All-Stars, parking lot.

Free. 7:15 and 9:15 p.m.: CNYJazz Orchestra directed by Bret Zvacek, Jazz Street Stage. Free. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.: Phrone-sis, Lutheran Church of the Reformation. $20 or club pass.

7:45 and 9:45 p.m.: Elizabeth Cook, Abilene Bar and Lounge. $20 or club pass. 8 p.m.: Bela Fleck and the Original Flecktones, Eastman Theatre. $35 to $65. 8:30 and 10 p.m.: Bonerama, Festival Big Tent.

$20 or club pass. 10:30 p.m.: Bob Sneider and Friends, Rochester Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. Free. ONLINE At DemocratandChronicle.comjazz: Our comprehensive coverage, plus a video about Katie Ernst, and videos, photos and blogs throughout the festival. On Twitter: Follow Jeff Spevak (jeff spevakl) and Anna Reguero (areguero), and add your own tweets to our live blog by adding the hashtag rocjazz.

Enter your haiku: Join Jeff Spevak by expressing your reactions to the fest in haikus. The best will be published. Send to cathyrDemocrat with the subject line "haiku" or tweet with the rocjazz hashtag. GETTING TICKETS The 10th annual Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival runs through June 18. For headline shows at the Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs tickets are available at the festival's Ticket Shop at the corner of East Avenue and Gibbs Street or through Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000 or

As of late last week, the Elvis Costello show was sold out and tickets for some of the other shows were dwindling fast. Club passes are sold out. But tickets to individual club shows $25 at Kilbourn Hall and $20 for the other venues will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at the door. These tickets are cash only and are not sold in advance. There are also designated free outdoor stages.

For more information, go to JEFF SPEVAK Staff music critic Ten years after creating the monster that is the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival cranking it to the ceiling until bolts of lightning from the storm brought it to life we shouldn't have been surprised that John Nugent needed a little peace and quiet. The event's co-producer decided to play a show of his own marking the event's anniversary, and the concert he had produced by his count, orchestrating an afternoon of modesty, beauty and romantic ballads. Sunday's matinee in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, the Producer's Performance, was the Director's Cut of the Nugent. We'd seen bits and pieces of this over the last decade, with his on-stage cameos and late-night jam appearances.

So it should have been no surprise, especially when considering Nu-gent's resume" as a tenor saxophonist, that when he's not driving around from venue to venue on his motor scooter, and stands in one place for 70 minutes, he is a really fine tenor sax player. "This is something I've wanted to do for many, many years," he said, pointing to the formidable army of string players drafted from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He had his lieutenants, the local Eastman School of Music dynamos Bill Dobbins on piano, Jeff Campbell on bass and Mike Melito on drums. But most of the air in the room was reserved for Nugent, who's signing the checks. Conductor Dave Rivel-lo, as always the pony-tailed hipster academic, presented arrangements that flitted about behind Nugent like a film soundtrack.

The saxophonist leaned back in his ice-cream suit and shot long, languid, unhurried notes to the moon. Or, at least to the huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The setting was subdued for the most part, although shards of aqua and turquoise cascaded across the musicians during "But Beautiful." Many of the nine numbers, all love songs, were slightly biographical in nature, tracing moments Botti FROM PAGE 1C The promotion, yoga, meet and greets. A lot of artists hate meet and greets. I don't mind that at all." So now he could stand on his own, as well as stand on his head.

Yet all of that showmanship and business aside, Botti hasn't neglected growing as a player. "I certainly liked all of the great ones," he says. "At the top of the list, Miles Davis, Freddie ards and mismatched souls. Nothing was too outrageous to try, including a version of "Reunited" that started as Nathanson sat at the front of the stage "baring" his soul about how much he loved his bandmates (while they tried to hit him with a paper airplane), easing into the song, which became recognizable as the 70s Peaches Herb pop hit about halfway through. They swapped vocals and backed each other with preposterous cartoon doo-wop and inexplicable theatrics.

Drummer E.J. Rodriguez shouted excitedly in Spanish as Nathanson's sax dueled Sam Bard-feld's violin. These guys specialized in wringing sounds from their instruments that no one's heard before; Nathanson got something that sounded like nursing guinea pigs out of his sax. It's as though some brain-altering chemical has been seeping into their rehearsal space through the air conditioning. Jazz circus cabaret.

ACTING THEIR AGE "Let's get out of here," said the other couple at our table after the first couple of songs from the second set of the Jay ClaytonSheila Jordan Group at the Harro East Ballroom. Big mistake, folks. The two veteran female vocalists Jordan said she's 82'2 started off a little slow and traditional. However, when Clayton began performing a talking blues to an e.e. cum-mings poem, things got finger-snapping crazy and cool.

Clayton was actually looping her bird-call vocalese on a sampler and accompanying herself, a trick you see some of the more technology-minded guitarists do today. Jordan sang of "Chasing the Bird," meaning Charlie Parker as an underage kid "smoking my Lucky Strikes cigarettes, unfiltered," before the club owners told her, "Hey little white girl, you better go home and do your homework." Mark Murphy, the 79-year-old scat-singing elder, was in this same venue two nights ago. Both are reminders that it ain't over till they pat you on the belly with a spade. MEAT MARKET FRESH BONELESS STYLE 10BOX ANGUS BEEF PATTIES BONELESS TOP SIRLOIN STEAKS 33w A Foster. He remembers hearing Sonny Rollins playing "Moonlight in Vermont." In Vermont.

TODAY'S JAZZ HAIKU Rhythm soars on strings meeting melodrama sax at the chandelier FASTEN SEAT BELTS Top show of the fest, so far: The Jazz Passengers, a cast of curious castoffs from the Island of Broken Musicians, who somehow nist. That's cool as well. Having just returned from an extended hiatus, The Jazz Passengers are the band for these tough economic times. Nathanson's world-weary look and spoken-word pieces address issues such as the disparity of wealth today. All he can do is shrug his shoulders and say, "But what are you gonna do?" A packed Kilbourn Hall was equal parts slightly stunned, transfixed and laughing heartily at this blend of the Sun Ra Ar-kestra, The Lounge Liz in Nugent's meandering career.

He introduced "Estate" by noting that he'd first heard it from the great Jon Hendricks, with a couple of sax passages approximating the great singer's vocalese styling. For "Like Someone in Love," he brought out his wife Dawn Thomson for a few sax-and-guitar exchanges. The first time he'd heard "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," Dexter Gordon was playing it. He used to play "Beija Flor," which means butterfly, with drummer Al Hubbard, and later Wyn-ton Marsalis." Some ears think they hear Davis in Botti. "I'm not sure," he says.

"If you put a mute on, people will say, 'Oh, wow, he's just like But I look more like Chet Baker than Miles Davis. And my sound has a little more classical background, from those classical meat and potato routines that you have to play." Now he is one of those performers of choice for big events, such as nights at the White House. His audiences balance out as centrist as he claims his SIMPLY fuse into a cacophony of offbeat. A band since the mid-'80s, the evolving membership has always included the two founders, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone and vocals and Roy Nathanson on sax and vocals. Over the years, the great avant-garde guitarist Marc Ribot and even Blondie singer Deborah Harry have passed through its doors.

Elvis Costello sings on a track from their latest album. These cats are that cool. They had a vibrapho- Hancock. "To re-live the reason you're in music," Botti says, his voice trailing away. "It's certainly not a well-rounded life," he says.

"I'm trying to learn to play chess, which I suck at, but I'm obsessed with it. And I sit on airplanes a lot. It certainly has its negative, lonely aspects. But if a 9-year-old kid writes a dream on a card, and sends it to be delivered when you're 48, and you open it up and you're living it, how can I complain?" J) I Use MVP Health Dollars. Medicafs Blue Chctce.

FSA I SLENDER -CENTER, Hiysieiafi Appmd; Serving tte area br Zi years IS. i-1 political views are, performing for Carters, Clintons and Bushes, the president of China, Madeleine Albright, Barbra Streisand, even TV foreign correspondents such as Christiane Aman-pour. In February, Botti was once again asked to come to the White House Valentine's Day, in fact to play a program for President Obama and his wife that included the song that set Botti on this road, "My Funny Valentine." With one of the musicians who showed him how to do it, Herbie 'V A 1." 1 i 3 Chris Botti says his life is not well-rounded but he's living his dream, xerox Rochester international jazz festival 0 i-Qse 2Q Ihs I don't hide behind anything. Especially oak. On T'ie'Jiuffjc 865-3896 0 NAKED IT TAKES CONFIDENCE TO GO UNOAKED.

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