The penultimate night of the 2005 Rochester International Jazz Festival was a mixture of exhilaration and disappointment.
The disappointment came in the form of the Wallace Roney Sextet. Not because the band was bad, but because the sound was horrible. Kilbourn Hall was plagued with sound problems this week, spoiling a number of shows, including Night of the Cookers, Ravi Coltrane, The Bad Plus, and the Roney band. In truth, Kilbourn may not be the best venue for loud, electric groups, but I’ve seen other electric bands there with much better sound. In this case, the same sound tech was working all of those shows, and I think it’s fair to lay the blame at his feet. At one point during the Wallace Roney show, the pianist actually turned around on his bench to yell at the sound tech. That’s when things have gone way too far.
That said, the band was hip. Trumpet, sax, piano/keyboards, bass, drums, and turntable. I’d love to hear them in a better sonic environment. Or on their new album, Prototype. I’m sure Erik Telford will have some good insight into this show over on Miles Radio.
The real revelation of the night — and of the festival — was singer and guitarist Raul Midon. He’s been mentioned in the same breath as Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder. That kind of hype usually spells disappointment, but Midon is more than up to the challenge. Jen and I saw him at Milestones last night, and we were absolutely blown away. If you get a chance to see this guy, don’t miss it. In fact, you can catch him on The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday, June 28. Stay up late and watch one of the best emerging talents you’ll see this year.
Earlier this week, I told you about the death of guitarist Mark Manetta. Sadly, yesterday was also the day of the memorial for bassist Bob Stata, who died after a long illness. Bob was a true gentleman, and one hell of a bass player. He also believed in working with kids and in giving back to his community. He will be missed. A tribute is planned for later this year. Stay tuned.