The 2005 Rochester International Jazz Festival has come to an end. And what an end it was.
This year the festival featured two outdoor stages (up from one in previous years), and tonight the streets were jammed with folks checking out the lineup of free music on both stages.
I went with my sister to see the Derek Trucks Band. They tore it up. Had the joint had a roof, they would have blown it off. I knew we were gonna be OK when the band opened up with Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Volunteered Slavery,” featuring Derek Trucks and his wailing slide guitar. They tackled some other jazz classics, too, including Dr. Billy Taylor’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (one of my faves) and John Coltrane’s arrangement of “My Favorite Things.”
What a joy to see people of all ages and races crammed onto East Avenue, dancing and laughing and singing along. I’ve said it before (see my earlier posts on the jazz fest) and I’ll say it again: the city of Rochester needs to grab this festival with both hands.
And there you have it. There’s still great jazz happening in Rochester the rest of the year, but nothing can top the vibe of the festival. I’m already making my plans for ’06. See you there!