My real job is chairman of the art department at Nazareth College, but I've been writing about jazz for City since the late-1990's. My love of music can be traced to the people I grew up with: my uncle was a Broadway composer; my twin brother, Steve, is a songwriter; and my younger brother, Hankus, is a jazz and Klezmer musician. I can still hear the sound of Hankus playing "Mode For Joe" on the alto saxophone in our house in Philadelphia.
I love all kinds of music, but one of my most favorite is hard-bop jazz. So during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, I'm looking forward to artists like John Scofield and Joe Lovano (as the Scofield-Lovano Quartet), Russell Malone, and Helen Sung. But I also love the mystery of some of the more out-there acts who can usually be found at the Lutheran Church, so Mikkel Ploug Equilibrium and Ikiz Cabin Crew are also on my list.
My name is Frank De Blase and I write about music for City -- been doing it for 16 years. It's rather tricky, I tell ya. Frank Zappa once said, "Writing about music is like dancing to architecture."
I shy away from the title "critic" because I see my job as more instigating a conversation: opening a dialogue with people from the passionate to the die-hard, from the gonzo to the rabid. Where do you fit in to that list? I don't just love music and what it means to us all, I need it; I gotta have it, man. So for me the Jazz Festival is a kind of downtown junky parade of people wallowing in each other's soundtrack, sharing, debating, and lapping it up.
This year I've intentionally set my focus on those I know little about. I've got some preliminary background and such, but other than that, I'm in their hands. I'm looking to add a few new favorites to the merry-go-round in my head. We all look and listen to music differently and my view certainly isn't the only one, so I invite you to start a dialogue with a stranger.
Feel free to comment on my daily blog -- agree, disagree, tell me I'm full of shit, or how much you liked my Hawaiian shirt collection I plan on showing off. Of you can simply come down and enjoy what I like to refer to as the most wonderful time of the year. Happy Jazz Fest.
What I love most about experiencing live music is the ability to embrace revelatory moments: discovering a new artist, or hearing clever combinations of style and aesthetics that challenge my thoughts about genre.
The Jazz Festival offers a seemingly infinite number of these moments. I tend to gravitate to the venues where formal composition can collide with free improvisation and classical and jazz meld in unexpected ways, which is why you'll be able to find me at Christ Church for Alexander Hawkins Group and Mammal Hands, and checking out at the consistently intriguing Nordic Jazz series at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.
I'm particularly looking forward to hearing prolific sonic auteurs and upright bassists Avishai Cohen and Mats Eilertsen in their individual sets. And if you're interested in funky party bands that incorporate healthy doses of Afrobeat and North Indian music, respectively, Emefe and Red Baraat are not to be missed.
This is my second consecutive year covering the Jazz Festival for City Newspaper, and I'll be live-tweeting from the shows @danieljkushner.
As City's Arts & Entertainment editor, I'll spend a lot of my time in the next week coordinating coverage -- and burning the midnight oil posting the great blogs our reviewers send in. But I'm hoping to squeeze in as many Jazz Fest shows as I possibly can.
This will be my third Jazz Fest, and if the last two summers have taught me anything, it's to soak up as much music as nine days will allow. While Ron, Frank, and Daniel carry the majority of City's coverage, I'm excited to fill in the cracks with a diverse group of artists, from a little Cajun and Zydeco -- I need a taste of my home state, Louisiana -- with The Revelers and Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers to gypsy jazz bands like Rhythm Future Quartet. If you have any tips on who I should check out this year, connect with me on Twitter @jake_clapp.
I'll be up until the wee hours of the morning posting all of our Jazz Blogs and photos, so that you have something to read while enjoying your coffee and bagel in the morning. But we want to know what you think. Join the conversation by leaving your comments on the blogs, posting them to Facebook, or Tweeting us at @roccitynews.