Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jazz Fest 2018: Meet CITY's jazz bloggers

Get to know Ron, Frank, Daniel and Jake

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 12:33 PM

Ron Netsky


By day I am Chairman of the Art Department at Nazareth College, but during the next nine nights, I’ll be in various venues downtown indulging in music. My love of music can be traced to three generations of music-makers in my family. My uncle, Harold Karr, was a composer, who wrote 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, two of them in the rock group Maybird. Music has been swirling around me all my life and at times I’ve joined in. In the late-1970’s my brother Steve and I wrote the song “Love Don’t Hurt People” for the great soul singer Cissy Houston.

I love all kinds of music but at the XRIJF I tend to gravitate towards hard-bop jazz. The very first artist I’ll see Friday night, trumpeter Terell Stafford, fits that bill. So do home-grown vibraphone wonder Joe Locke and pianist Harold Danko. The festival also provides many opportunities to venture further out with the Scandinavian artists who play at the Lutheran Church. I’m looking forward to hearing artists like the Kuara Trio, Thomas Strønen and the Maciej Obara Quartet. And XRIJF Artistic Director John Nugent has a knack for booking the hottest new stars; I can’t wait to hear vocal sensation, Jazzmeia Horn.

Frank De Blase

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I’m Frank De Blase and I’ve been writing at CITY Newspaper since the last century. I’m a musician a photographer and a published crime fiction novelist as well. I have more tattoos than Ron Netsky, and I always leave room for dessert.

The Rochester International Jazz Fest is the one time a year I get to flex my vocabulary, blowtificate a bit and really piss my editor off. But seriously, I look forward to this festival all year, clomping around downtown on this jazz-filled bunion derby. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes all assail my senses and I’ll be there telling you all about it over my daily Abbott’s frozen custard.

Here are some of the artists I’m excited about this year: The king of twangin’ guitar, Brian Setzer. Seal, he’s gone all American songbook on us. Jack Broadbent who uses a flask to conjure up some killer slide blues. From out of the shadows comes the noir flugelhorn of Dmitri Matheny. And the old timey tin pan alley strains of Pokey LaFarge. Come up and say “Hi.” I’l be the one with ice cream running down his chin. Or you can reach out to me on Twitter, @deblasefrank.

Daniel Kushner


I am constantly in search of new sounds. No local event gives me more opportunities to unpack fresh musical finds than the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. At this year’s festival, I’m especially intrigued about performances from Phony Ppl — with its dynamic blend of hip-hop, soul, and R&B — and the Doug Stone Quartet featuring the spoken word stylings of Josiah Williams.

XRIJF 2018 promises not only to showcase bands I've never witnessed live — jammy eccentrics Bela Fleck & The Flecktones and danceable avant-sax outfit Moon Hooch come to mind — but there's also the chance to hear familiar musicians in new, compelling contexts.

In two previous visits to the festival, the Austrian trio known as Mario Rom’s Interzone was unequivocally spellbinding, combining whip-smart jazz licks with an experimental spirit. Now, trumpeter Rom and bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder return with the septet Shake Stew, featuring Kranzelbinder as bandleader. To say that I'm excited about this group would be a understatement.

The last time I saw postmodern jazz powerhouse The Bad Plus perform, at the legendary Village Vanguard in New York City nearly 10 years ago, Ethan Iverson was at the piano. Today, Orrin Evans is at the keys, and the group is touring behind its latest album, “Never Stop II.” The trio is just as potent as ever.

On Monday, June 25, at noon, I’ll be featuring music from 2018 Jazz Festival artists on my radio show, “You’re So Post-Post-Rock Right Now,” on WAYO 104.3 FM and You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter, @danieljkushner, throughout the festival.

Jake Clapp

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As CITY Newspaper's Music Editor, I'm usually pretty behind the scenes, coordinating coverage, posting photos, talking to people on social media, and making sure these writers don't fall asleep before submitting their reviews at 1 a.m. But I still always try to squeeze every drop I can out of the Jazz Festival.

This will be my fifth Jazz Fest, and if I've learned 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 some vocal jazz with Zara McFarlane to the funky, strange Ghost-Note. 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.

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