Jeff Spevak's Jazz Fest picks
05:00 AM, Jun 16, 2013
MORE PICKS, PAGE 9
If you like our local musicians, you’ll love Dave Rivello. The ponytailed, unassuming director of the Eastman School of Music’s New Jazz Ensemble was Ryan Truesdell’s right-hand man in developing Truesdell’s Grammy-winning Gil Evans Centennial Project. The Dave Rivello Ensemble plays Rivello’s original music, which oscillates between improvised jazz and tightly noted modern classical. 6:30 and 9 p.m. June 23 at the Xerox Auditorium.
If gene pools intrigue you, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (the son of John Coltrane) plays at 6 and 10 p.m. June 27 at Kilbourn Hall. Singer Viktoria Tolstoy is the great-great-granddaughter of Tolstoy the novelist. She’ll be joined by pianist Jacob Karlzon at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. June 27 at the Lutheran Church. Singer-songwriter Ben Taylor, the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, plays at 7 and 9:15 p.m. June 28 at the Little Theatre.
If you think good music is dead, you may be right. So you’ll love the tributes to Louis Armstrong, Bill Evans, John Lennon and Robert Johnson. Eastman School of Music professor Bill Dobbins celebrates Evans’ music at 5:45 and 7:45 p.m. Friday at Hatch Recital Hall. The Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band plays next Sunday at Kilbourn Hall. And for those who miss the music of Lennon and bluesman Johnson: “Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon” is at 6 and 10 p.m. June 25 at The Montage Music Hall; and Rocky Lawrence’s salute to Johnson’s legacy is at 7 and 9:15 p.m. June 26 at the Little Theatre.
If you like the sounds of New Orleans, you won’t know which way to turn. Iconic Crescent City pianist Dr. John plays at 9 p.m. Friday on the East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage. Trombone Shorty, who has quickly become a favorite at this event, closes out the festival at 9 p.m. June 29 on the East and Alexander Stage. Both of those shows are free, bookending an impressive lineup of New Orleans imports. The Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band plays at 6 and 10 p.m. next Sunday at Kilbourn Hall. Mendon native bluesman John Mooney at 7:45 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday at Abilene Bar and Lounge. Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers at 6 and 10 p.m. June 28 at The Montage Music Hall and 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. June 29 on the Jazz Street Stage. BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. next Sunday at Harro East Ballroom. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. June 27 at Harro East Ballroom and 8:30 and 10 p.m. June 28 in the Big Tent. Mingo Fishtrap is at 8:30 and 10 p.m. June 29 in the Big Tent and also opening for Trombone Shorty at 7 p.m. June 29.
If you can’t see the band because too many tall people are standing in front of you, then The Stretch Orchestra is for you. The average height of the three guys in the band is 6 feet, 5 inches. But they’re not a gimmick. Cellist Matt Brubeck has played with Tom Waits, Sheryl Crow and Yo-Yo Ma. Percussionist Jesse Stewart favors unusual instruments like the waterphone. And longtime jazz fest attendees will recognize guitarist Kevin Breit, who has played the festival several times, always bringing a different band with him. 6 and 10 p.m. next Sunday at The Montage Music Hall.
If you thought Eivor Palsdottir’s Arctic folk arias last year were cool, you’ll love Youn Sun Nah. A native of South Korea who trained as a singer in Paris, Nah is a swooping, operatic, dynamic, wonderfully casual performer of the cosmic lounge genre. Sometimes singing in French, but usually in English, Nah writes some of her own music, but she’s more likely to flit from Korean folk to jazzy versions of Tom Waits’ “Jockey Full of Bourbon,” Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” She’s a part of the Nordic Jazz Now series because she’s playing with a great Swedish guitarist, Ulf Wakenius. Last year, a lot of people were talking about Palsdottir. This year, they’ll be talking about Nah. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. June 28 at the Lutheran Church.
If you like to see sidemen stretch out and do their own thing, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band is a side project by Allman Brothers Band drummer Jai Johanny Johanson. 8:30 and 10 p.m. June 26 in the Big Tent. Howard Levy, who was here in 2011 with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, displays his harmonica prowess in two formats: with Trio Globo at 6:30 and 9 p.m. June 26 at Xerox Auditorium and solo at 5:45 and 7:45 p.m. June 27 in Hatch Recital Hall.
If you like to chase squirrels around the yard, but just before you get one he skitters up a tree and is gone, you’ll love David Byrne and St. Vincent. Byrne is best known as the frontman for the Talking Heads, but his post-Heads career has been musically all over the map. St. Vincent, whose name is actually Annie Clark, worked her way up from acts like the symphonic, psychedelic Polyphonic Spree to a solo career that has seen her hailed as a female version of, uh, David Byrne. A match made in music heaven, even though they recorded most of their 2012 album, Love This Giant, by working together over the Internet. True to the duo’s personal unpredictability, Love This Giant is filled with a sound neither musician is associated with: brass instruments. 8 p.m. June 25 in Eastman Theatre.
Spevak, our staff music critic, throughout the dozen years of the jazz festival, has been the go-to source for expert coverage and analysis.