Pretty epic weekend for (free) live music at the Rochester International Jazz Festival – I must say.
Friday night I took in a performance by The Skatalites, some of the early pioneers of Jamaican music. There are only a handful of original members that remain alive and part of the band, but it was really cool to see those old cats (they must be in their late-60s or 70s) move a crowd full of young and old alike. For me, the cherry on top was when they performed “Simmer Down” – the very first single by Mr. Bob Marley and his Wailin’ Wailers on which the The Skatalites were the backing band.
I was going to split my time between Third World and Soullive but the thunderstorms chased me back home. That’s ok. That one performance was well worth the price of admission and is definitely among my favorite concert experiences to date.
I took in quite a few more performances on Saturday. I started off by watching my alma mater – the Newark High School Jazz Band – play a peppy little set at the Gibbs Street stage. From there I stumbled across a humble little set being performed at the Bernunzio Uptown Music Store by The Ted Perry Jazz Project.
From there I wandered around a bit and took in a little from the Gates-Chili High School Jazz Band, the Ben Britton Band (yes Tim and Jim, that’s why I stopped!), and listened to several tunes from Carolyn Wonderland’s soundcheck.
Carolyn Wonderland – What Happened to Peace on Earth?
Then I went home to drop off my stuff lock up my bike and great ready for the main event!
Medeski, Martin & Wood were absolutely phenomenal. They exceeded every expectation I had!
I started watching the show with my buddy Brian but eventually I just had to work my way as close to the stage as possible. How close? Well, I was standing right next to the photographer who took the photo above. Yeah, seeing one of your absolute favorite bands from about 10 feet away doesn’t suck!
Their set was smokin’, but got even hotter once they brought Rochester native Chuck Campbell in on the final four songs to accompany them with some filthy steel guitar! After they closed the set with a funky rendition of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe,” Shane went home a very happy (and tired) boy.
Great festival and yet again, record crowds. I’m already counting down the days until next year!