The annual Rochester Xerox International Jazz Festival just came to a close. I live a solid hour from downtown, but I managed to make it there Thursday. I went with my close friend from school, Jenny, whom I haven't seen since graduation. Her family has generously welcomed me to their house these last few years, so it's always nice to catch up with all of them.
The Jazz Festival runs the entire week at venues throughout the city, many centered in the East End near the Eastman School of Music. Janelle Monae was the premier kick-off concert, and Earth, Wind, and Fire were the closing; Steve Martin always makes it back with his banjo, and there were dozens of performances with groups from around the country. My pathetically small budget couldn't afford the club passes, so we headed for the open-air community stage wedged on Gibbs Street. In between the food tents and trucks, lawn seats, cafe tables, and other attendees, we squeezed into the front row to dance!
We grooved to the funk jazz tunes of Soul Stew through the golden hour and into the night.
Jenny and I
Between sets we took a break in a cafe, and I ran into my old friend from work, Katherine! It was a thrilling shock because I haven't seen her in two years, especially since her family moved nearer to Rochester. She was the first person I went to the Jazz Fest with a few years ago. Catching up over cheesecake and ice water (it was a steamy night) was wonderful, and seems things are falling into place really well for her.
I always enjoy visits to Rochester for cultural events like this. Temporary funderemployment aside, I hope to own a vehicle and have more mobility to take advantage of these festivals. At the end of the night, though, I like returning to the dark, star-filled solace of the countryside.
Listening: "Don't Count Me Out" by TeamMate