I’m doubly jazzed this week – first by the incredible Eden Alternative 5th International Conference in Denver earlier in the week, and now I’m back home catching the waning days of the stupendous Rochester International Jazz Festival . It’s like a slice of Europe for 9 days each June, when 150,000 people from all over the world stroll downtown Rochester to hear hundreds of musicians at over a dozen venues.
Last night, I was enthralled by Brazilian singer/songwriter/guitarist Joyce Moreno. Is there a better musical style than the bossa nova, or a more beautiful language than Portugese? I don’t think so. Here’s a clip I found of her doing a reflective solo piece. Check out her guitar, which is just a curl of pipe covered with hard black foam, containing an upside-down fretboard:
I was also amazed by Danish trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, whose song “Aura” was recorded years ago by Miles Davis. His quartet covered an amazing range of styles, as elders Mikkelborg and Welsh harpist Helen Davies proved that jazz has no age limit. Davies even showed me something I never saw in my years writing at the Eastman School: bottleneck-slide concert harp! If I knew then what I know now…
Here’s a sample of their work with a larger orchestra from 2009. Davies playing is prominent at the start of the clip, and Mikkelborg solos on trumpet about halfway through:
Afterward, I caught ex-Yankee Bernie Williams signing autographs after playing his guitar at the Eastman Theater. Great scene!
To close, here’s my favorite challenging quote from the Eden conference this week, courtesy of Paul Bailey, Eden UK: “A bulldozer is not an Eden tool.”