Reflections and Favorites From Jazz Festival Week!!

A tremendous week of great jazz in Buffalo.  For one grand week, Buffalo was treated to a momentous time of jazz in multiple venues and featuring local, national, and international jazz artists.  A week that will be hard to forget.

Hats off to both the M&T Bank Presents the CMC Jazz Festival and the Pappy Martin Legacy – Masten Jazz Festival for their efforts in producing two outstanding jazz festivals.  Kudos to George Scott, Walter Kemp, and Linda Appleby and their teams of volunteers at the Historic Colored Musicians Club, as well as, to Dawn-Berry Walker of the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Society and their team of volunteers.  The dedicated passion in keeping the art form of jazz alive was evident throughout the festivals!

Reflections, Thoughts, and Favorite Moments

  • Camille Thurman at the PMLMJF – great dual jazz artistry in her tenor sax playing and phenomenal vocals
  • Wallace Roney came to play at the PMLMJF – the intense and outstanding straight ahead bebop performance with the legendary bassist Curtis Lundy was one for the ages
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  • Emilio Modeste playing with Wallace Roney – 17 years old sax player sounding like Wayne Shorter – 17 – seriously!?
  • Scott Tixier at CMCJF – A rising Jazz violinist star and the amazing Yvonnick Prene on Chromatic Harmonica put on a unique blend of beautiful music
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  • Falling out of my chair and embarrassingly making a loud noise when finding out it was THE Brian Jackson, on piano with Scott Tixier, of the historic collaborative duo of Gill Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson
  • Seeing super video by Yvonnick Prene of the band’s time in Buffalo – check it out:

  • Listening to Andre Killian demonstrate breathtaking stamina in a sax/drums duo with Abdul-Rahman Qadir who improvised fantastic rhythms
  • The opening number of Walter Kemp 3oh! performance at Hallwalls. A convergence of worship hymnals arranged into a glorious jazz composition.  Heavenly it was and unforgettable.
  • Rishon-Odel Chinese get-up made for a striking visual to go along with superb playing
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  • If there was a drum stick twirling competition in the Olympics, Davis “Teaspoon” Hulett would win gold medal for quadruple stick flip in-between measures
  • Otis Brown, III performing tunes from his spectacular CD I Thought of You – with the often-under-rated Joel Frahm on sax – a rare treat to see Frahm live and up close. Stick handling and rhythms from Brown, III was incredible along with his own compositions.
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  • Although had to miss Zuri Appleby and Arianna Grande – videos looked like a funky time by all
  • The knock-out performance by Why Not? on the CMC Jazz Festival outdoor main stage Saturday. Jaw-dropping compositions from pianist Kevin Doyle (in a Clifford Jordan-like vein) and mesmerizing solos by Andrew Weinzler
  • Getting a chance to perform and playing with the great saxophonist Bruce Johnstone at the CMC Jazz Festival with the Blue Note 5 (George Kane, Wayne Moose, Devin Kelly)
  • Greg Millar guitar licks and song selections performed with his quartet was one of the best jazz guitarist performances seen in a long time – truly great!
  • The opening number of The Baylor Project at the AKG began with a classic Marcus Baylor drum solo that only he can do followed by a solo by Freddie Hendrix that was a ridiculous force of nature that blew people back into their seats
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  • Listening to Neal “Papa” Lucas and Expression open up the 2nd Sunday of the PMLMJF and finding out they just got together recently. A beautiful performance from the young lady singing for the first time.
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  • Dale Toliver’s lengthy rendition of George Benson’s On Broadway was outstanding – a super groove it was!
  • Hearing Eulis Cathey of Sirius XM Real Jazz – the best there is – period!
  • Vanessa Rubin soulful PMLMJF concert that resulted in a call and response interaction with the audience and the group of ladies (friends of the PMLJS) she clearly connected with – in a word – fun
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  • Freddie Hendrix Quintet at PMLMJF – a high energy performance with Hendrix playing his own compositions and a few from Freddie Hubbard – spectacular! The sidemen of Alex Claffy, Stacy Dillard, and the Whitfield brothers Mark, Jr. and David were outstanding.

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A truly memorable week.  And, topping it off was the many times of seeing old friends and making new friends who all share the love of jazz.  Both festivals are to be commended for their passionate hard working efforts to make jazz available to all of the Buffalo community!

Keep Jazz Alive!!

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