Frank De Blase
I agree with Frank Zappa when he said writing about music is like dancing to architecture. I’ve been dancing to architecture for 20 years for CITY Newspaper and this is his 17th year writing about the Rochester International Jazz Festival. I consider it the most wonderful time of the year. I like everything and I always leaves room for dessert.
By day I’m Chairman of the Nazareth College Art Department, but on jazz festival nights I’ll be downtown indulging in music. My love of music can be traced to three generations of musicians in my family. My uncle, Harold Karr, composed Broadway musicals, including “Happy Hunting” for Ethel Merman. My younger brother Hankus is a jazz and Klezmer musician, and my twin brother, Steve, is a singer-songwriter. All three of my sons are musicians, and two of them are in the rock group Maybird.
I love all kinds of music, but at the festival I gravitate towards hard-bop jazz. I’m excited about seeing jazz legends like Harold Mabern
and George Coleman
. And I appreciate the opportunity to venture into more experimental realms with Scandinavian artists like keyboardist Kari Ikonen and guitarist Jostein Gulbrandsen at the Lutheran Church.
I’ve been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades. Currently a cultural arts contributor for WXXI, I’ve been published in Musician, High Times, CITY Newspaper, and Post. I occasionally perform spoken-word pieces around town, I’ve founded an award-winning barbecue team, The Smokin’ Dopes, and I believe Bigfoot is real. My blog Critical Mass can be found at jeffspevak.com.
I’m looking forward to being revitalized by the Campbell Brothers, being reduced to tears by Bill Frisell's guitar, and hearing anything strange being done by the Nordic bands.
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