June 12, 2007

Club Pass Gets Around

Despite a manic Monday (couldn't help myself) at work, I still managed to hook up with the guys for the next installment in the intriguing Nordic Jazz Now Series -- namely, midaircondo. The performance was incredible, and for a dead on description, check out Seth's commentary. I did have some trouble staying awake however -- midaircondo was intensely serious; thus the lack of sleep (3 hours the night before) combined with the hectic work day took its toll, and I thing I nodded off a couple times. Nonetheless, I did my best to keep up and after midaircondo, tagged along for the 10 PM spot at Montage to catch Robin Eubanks for another good, solid performance. In fact, Seth has done such an excellent job recapping Day 4, that I'm just sending you readers his way (i.e., am too lazy to come up with my own summary).

Day 5 left me to my own devices. Before hitting Jazz Street, I met up for a quick happy hour drink with my friend Tom, newly returned to the area from the West Coast. After some catching up, he went his way to check out Urinetown, while I went mine to put the Club Pass to use. The guys were taking the night off (though I believe Seth made it to a few outdoor shows with his wife), so I grabbed some chow and made my way to the Church.

Tonight's spotlight there was on The Five Corners Quintet. Each show I've seen thus far has had its own flavor and watching this band was like drinking a fine wine ... or at least what I believe drinking a fine wine would be like. The ensemble had charisma, chemistry, and an aesthetically pleasing wardrobe (think, Ocean's 11 [or 12, or 13]). The packed house never stopped cheering, and the standing ovation was well-deserved. The music itself is what I'd classify as old-school jazz -- the traditional stuff. Except that the band's interpretation and performance were anything but old school. Their sound is clearly twenty-first century.

The humble Helsinki band apparently just played in New York City, and seemed surprised and embarassed that they only had five CD's left to bring with them to Rochester. Thus my copy, along with countless others, will have to be ordered and shipped later from Finland.

Since I had actually caught up on my sleep last night, I was fully ready for a 10 pm performance. I treated myself to yet another chocolate-almond cone (the Abbott's stand on Jazz Street is quickly becoming an irresistible stop, as I have had a cone each of the last three summer-like nights), and hung around a bit to hear Ted Michael's free performance on the main stage. Then, emulating the Yarn Harlot, my sock and I found ourselves in line at Kilbourn for the Harry Allen Quartet. As an aside, I was happy to learn that despite having left the pattern at home, I had inadvertently memorized the lace pattern, and thus was able to knit away.

I wanted to like the Harry Allen Quartet. I wanted to like them because I love swing. I wanted to like them because they started strong with an energetic rendition of Diamonds Are a Girls' Best Friend. I wanted to like them because they were playing in Kilbourn Hall. I wanted to like them because they just made a CD of Guys & Dolls songs, and I looooove Guys & Dolls. You see where this is going. They had a such a great start, but somewhere along their journey, they just lost their way. The bassist had a solo that went awry with what appeared to be an out-of-tune string (I'm guessing this because he sounded off, and I later saw him adjusting the tuning pegs while the band tried covering for him). But they had begun to fade even before that. It's hard to pinpoint where and why, but it happened. I felt badly because the already sparse audience was thinning down after each number. I felt I had to stay, but I couldn't. Though I did make it through 11 pm. To make matters worse, WXXI was there to tape it for their live performance series coming this fall. I'm curious to know if it will make the cut.

So, another day down, and my Club Pass has certainly gotten its use.

Before I close, I need to have a little rant. A few weeks ago, I went to hear Bill Clinton speak at RIT's commencement ceremonies. My friend's sister was graduating, and she had some extra tickets to attend. I jumped at the chance, and she and I and a third friend put in an appearance. The event was clearly a big one, and the school managed to employ shuttle bus services to get from the parking lot to the graduation area (in actuality, another parking lot). My friends and I patiently stood in line, as we clearly hit the cut-off point. We calmly waited for the next bus to come 'round. Come 'round it did, but it stopped going in the other direction so that the line we were in was on the other side of the bus (away from the door). Even though we were clearly at the front of the line, the people behind us (all of suitable age and sense) pushed their way and rushed over to the bus, pushing us back farther in the line. It was disturbing, annoying and maddening -- those people should know better. At any rate, I bring this up because of what happened tonight.

I had plenty of time to kill between shows, and as I wasn't pressed to see anything, I decided to just hang out in front of Kilbourne until the doors opened. There were a couple people in line already and I sat down next to them on a window ledge and minded my own business (i.e., I took out my sock). At some point some people walked past us and entered the building. Or at least the annoying woman behind me (if I had to guess, I'd say she was in her late 50s) thought so, and got up, hustling to the door. When she realized that the doors weren't opening, she only half attempted to return to her spot behind me in line. What she really did was place herself between me and the door and decided to engage me in conversation about my knitting. As she was talking at me (notice my choice of preposition), she maneuvered her way so she was standing in front of me. She seemed to think that by conversing with me she could distract me and get away with it. I wasn't going to make a big scene out of it, but I did try to discourage the interaction by scowling and responding monosyllabically (in contrast to the pleasant exchange I had with the couple that had been standing in front of me). Once she had manipulated her spot with me, she decided to befriend the people standing in front of the couple that had been standing in front of me. Needless to say, by the time the doors really opened, she was at the front of the line. Now, I'm not writing this because I necessarily begrudge her place in the line -- I was about seventh or eighth in line which is pretty much the same thing. I just wonder, where do these people get off?!

Okay, I feel much better now that I've let that out.

Bed calls. Tomorrow is another day and good music (hopefully) awaits.

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