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The Forgotten Word - Jazz Fest 2011

Mark Murphy kicks of the 10th anniversary of the Rochester Jazz Fest

Mark Murphy took the stage at the Harro East Ballroom in a broad shouldered black suit, blazing red shirt and tie, and the 2011 Rochester International Jazz Fest officially began. It encapsulated the festival experience. Little voyages into cultures and musical neighborhoods as the unfamiliar becomes revealed. Scatting the forgotten word.

Guitar heroes

Hooray for Google!  By placing a virtual guitar at the fingertips of computer users, the powerful search engine inspired millions (billions?) of people to make music. Look below for three creative uploads from the two-day global music fest.  If you miss it, the Google Guitar has a permanent home here.  What can you play?

Dawn Thomson at WRUR/WITH

Dawn Thomson performs Monday, 6/13 at Max's for the Jazz Fest

 Dawn plays four songs and talks about her career, her approach to writing, influences and life on the road, in this first interview. 

I and Love and You

Bill Frisell first caught my attention when he included compositions by Aaron Copland, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Sonny Rollins, John Philip Sousa, Stephen Foster and Madonna on his 1992 album Have A Little Faith. It doesn't seem like a mix like that could hang together.

Originality Born of Incompetence

In general, I think the people at NPR do a great job. From the days when I listened to Ray Suarez host Talk of the Nation every day, I recognized a standard of actually listening to what the guests say and responding appropriately.

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Rhymes With Mullet

In preparation for my show Mystery Train, I often head to the library and check out a couple dozen CDs at a time. Some I know, some I've heard of, some just have interesting covers. I spend an afternoon wading through, finger poised in case a track doesn't grab me.

Luna moth

There’s a fine line between passion and compulsion. German composer Robert Schumann walked it.  

Reunited

Me minus you. Obviously a bad idea. That's why it feels so good to get back together. It's easy to dismiss the 1987 Peaches & Herb smash “Reunited.” Let's be cool about it. Let's call it "romantic schlock," like NPR's John Murph, but let's also praise The Jazz Passengers for their clever remake.

Oh, That Magic Feeling

The idea of a tribute band is a bit strange on one level. Remember that shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Pyscho? Definite head-scratcher. Of course, with music, you have countless people who have spent countless hours wearing out LPs, listening to the same songs in the same order, feeling the same anticipation for the first notes of that next song.

Mark Murphy blows

Jazz Fest starts in one week! With the caveat that I don't know every last act featured on Day One, my must-see pick would have to be Mark Murphy. I first heard him in my college years at SUNY Fredonia, 1986, the year his album Keroauc, Then and Now came out.