Bob Sneider's Daily Jam Session Blog
July 1, 2012

Every night, from 10:30 PM, the Rochester Plaza State Street Bar and Grill is jammed for the XRIJF Nightly Jam Sessions. As the festival's official hotel for the past 11 years, this is where the artists stay so since jazz never sleeps, the food on the grill is sizzling, and so is the music!!

Also for the 11th straight year, the incomparable Bob Sneider (hardest working guitarist in western, NY!) leads our festival nightly jam session. Join Bob, Phil Flanigan and Mike Melito as they burn through all the classics. You never know who will show up!

Here are Bob's jam blogs.

Jam Session Blog #9 - June 30:

Last night lived up to the billing. Mordecai Lipshutz did not disappoint. He brought the goods on We'll Be Together Again and In A Mellowtone. His heartfelt tribute to the festival and this Community was special. Just before Mordecai's finale was Mederic Collignon -- that was a lot different than anything I've ever heard. Two of the girls from Chic Gamine sat in, as did Canadian buddies Mark Kelso, Roberto Occhipinti, a trumpet player I'm spacing on. Joe Kozlowski and Mike Cottone burned on Cherokee. John Nugent and Pat LaBarbera tore it up on "Song is You" -- fast tempo! Beautiful vocal rendition and fancy guitar work by Dawn Thomson on "How Deep is The Ocean". Set one was an inspired trio set. Set two began with Bill Dobbins on piano for a couple of amazing tunes (Bouncin' With Bud and If I should Lose You). Great reminder of how much amazing talent we have right here in ROCH! Madeline Forster had a nice vocal on "Sometimes I'm Happy"....oh yeah and Charles Pryor -- trumpet in Big James and the Chicago Playboys played Harmon muted trumpet on 'Round Midnight'...brothers Nelsen Campbell and Westin Campbell trombone and bass respectively played "Night in Tunisia"......Bed.....see you on the scene.

Jam Session Blog #8 - June 29:

Trio set with Mike Melito and Phil Flanigan -- A Beautiful Friendship, West Coast Blues, Witchcraft and Soon. Great crowd!

Set two started with a young pianist from CA who's attending the Eastman Summer Session, followed by Robbie Botos (piano)...wow! Also had 2 trumpet players from Big James and the Chicago Players (Charles Pryor and Ephraim Owens). Canadian all star rhythm ...section of Robbie Botos, Mark Kelso, and Mike Down backed up a spirited father and son tenor fest (CJ Zarniak and Conrad Zarniak) -- never heard those guys play better! Roy Haynes' pianist (Martin Bejerano) and Bassist (David Wong) joined in for a few tunes -- including Old Milestones with John Nugent. They had just played that tune with Roy in Kilbourn. Katie Ernst(bass / voice) and her entire band from Chicago played + Reuben Allen. So many other sit-ins hard to remember them all! Finished the evening with a killer version of Bag's Groove featuring Mike Cottone, Ephraim Owens, Robbie Botos, Roberto Ochipinti and Mark Kelso. Crowd was very receptive tonight! Tomorrow night is last night of the fest. Be advised: sitting in is not a 100% guarantee you'll play if you sign up. Tonight we ran out of time. If you've played a bunch this week, remember to leave room for others. We don't always go in exact order of the sign-up sheet. Apologies to those we could not fit in. Bed! Kids Jam Session Room 120 Eastman School of Music at 2PM!!!! Saturday. Ages 14-19 (younger upon teacher recommendation).

Jam Session Blog #7 - June 28: The biggest ovation of the night went to Aidan Sciortino (an 11 or 12 year old trumpet player) playing "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" with his teacher -- Herb Smith. Lots of great sit-ins: local talent (Adrian Adrian Justin DiMatteo and Matthew Sieber-Ford got to play a tune with John Nugent and the trio), Ian Richard Schaefer and Sam Kastner, Nick Brust, Oliver Haynes, Chet Catallo amd Mark Cassara, CJ Zarniak, Matthew Smith, Jr from Dwayne Doopsie Zydeco...Mario Abiney(and a few of his bandmates from New Orleans), bassists: Essiet Essiet, Barry Stephenson, Roberto Ochipinti. A big hit of the night was Dominick Farinacci sitting in on Flugelhorn. I'm probably leaving some people out....off to bed...

Jam Session Blog #6 - June 27, 2012: First time I ever went through the jam without a break...not recommended...but so worth it last night. The evening started out with Tom Lange - violin and Mario Abney - trumpet...followed by Andrew Baham from Big Sam's Funky Nation....then the Nuge...followed by Steve Fischwick / Osian Roberts / Mike Karn for 'Woody'n You'. Benny Green joined in for Sonny Rollins' "Solid" -- Benny was off the hook. For those of you that don't know of Fischwick and Roberts, they are the real deal. So many great groupings with Shirantha Beddage, Mike Down, Mike Cottone, Joe Butts (from Evette Landry's band), Ethan Helm, Wils McKenna....somehow we completely ran out of time. Bobby Henry joined in on Bird's 'Bloomdido'....left handed upside down guitar....what? It's getting very difficult to fit people in every night. Repeat players might not be able to play every day. Off to bed....noontime gig at the Rochester Public Library -- some special guests from the UK will be joining my trio!

Jam Session Blog #5 - June 26, 2012: Was an epic night with Benny Green sitting in! Wow! the second set was almost two hours -- yikes! Set two started with Mark Zeger on trumpet. A bunch of Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra members followed -- including Ian Richard Schaefer, CJ Zarniak, Evan Lane, Andy Narotsky and Joey Van Leuwen...they played Wes Montgomery's "Road Song" with me. John Nugent came up for a couple of tunes "Giant Steps" and "Doxy". Scotland's Tommy Smith followed on tenor. Doug Stone, Nelsen Campbell and Jeff Campbell joined in on "Broadway" -- brisk tempo and swinging! Then Benny Green! Benny played Unit 7 (Sam Jones) and Ow! (Dizzy Gillespie). On Ow! Essiet Essiet played bass. Lots more in set three...friends from Scotland, Toronto, Kentucky and Rochester joined in -- including Mike Cottone. Great night. My Bed is calling....!

Jam Session Blog #4, June 25
Another amazing night of music making at the Rochester Plaza. We had the young guns of the Eastman Youth Jazz orchestra, a bunch of Eastman students....some Eastman grads -- notably Mike Cottone, Jesse Breheney and Nick Brust. Dawn Thomson (guitar and voice) joined her husband John Nugent and the Trio for "Corocvado". We had a bunch of other vocalists Al Foreman, Vanes...sa Mangione, and a gentleman....I've forgotten his name. After Mike Cottone and Alexa Tarrantino tore it up on "Confirmation", I brought up Alistair Duncan and Gabe Condon for a tune and much to everyone's delight Nicholas Payton joined us on trumpet. That gentleman can play the trumpet -- UNREAL. Clarity, tone, inventive ideas -- inspiring.

Jam Session Blog #3, Sunday June 24
Lots of great playing on Sunday. John Nugent jumped up and played a few tunes...even a rare ballad 'My One and Only Love'. Stefon Harris played some mean blues on the piano (no vibes @ the Plaza) with Henry Cole(Drums), Luques Curtis(bass), Marc Schwartz (sax) and yours truly (guitar). It was a walk down memory lane -- Stefan and I last played twenty years ago! Excellent performances by the Jazz FM91 Youth All Stars -- so young but crazy talented. Three saxophones: Wils McKenna, Ethan Helm and Jonathan Parker had a tour de force on "It's you or no one". Other notable sit-ins were a contingent of Scottish musicians who closed the night out. Graham Stephen - guitar...and some other great guys. The surprise of the night was VINCE ABBRACCIANTE accordion. First accordionist in 11 years of the jam session. He was all over that thing. The sound of guitar trio + accordion brought me back to some great recordings of Art Van Damme with either Joe Pass or Jimmy Raney...neat sound. Gabe Condon, Mike Conrad and Alexa Tarantino from Eastman were superb as well. I probably left out a few...I'll check the sheet tomorrow!"

Jam Session Blog #2, Saturday June 23
Wild night for sure. Had some great players up there tonight especially Pat LaBarbera/Jonas Kulhammer/John Nugent/ Bill Cunliffe / Neil Swainson sitting in for "Blues Up and Down"....whoa. Lots of great young players home from college for the summer. Eastman School of Music Professor - Sylvie Beaudette had a lovely version of Corcovad. Aaron? Saxophonist from Esperanza Spalding's band was hanging out for a while..as did drummer - Linden Rochelle. Matthias Eich's band played with me. Pianist - Danny Grissett, Jonathan Richards - bass, Joe Labarbera - drums, Justin Brown - drums all played. Nelsen Campbell and Will Zimmer -- trombones wailed on "Sugar". Bumped into friends: Stefan Harris and Wayne Escoffery. Mike Cottone and Herb Smith -- trumpets went upstairs and crazy on Caravan. Bye -- off to bed!"

Jam Session Blog #1 Friday June 22
Since the tireless Anna Reguero / Jazz fest blogoholic is not here...I'll try to give some spotty reporting from the jams. Set one house trio -- Alex Coté (drums) and Jeff Campbell(bass) and yours truly Bob Sneider on Guitar. Notable performers from day 1: Mike Cottone (trumpet), Jonas Kulhammer(sax), Joe LaBarbera(drums), Pat LaBarbera(sax), John Nugent(sax), Neils Swainson(bass), Jonathan Richards(bassist with Joe LaBarbera), Rosie Flores(vocals), Dylan Howe(drummer from Get the Blessing)....probably forgetting a few! Some really great performances from Eastman students/recent grads: Marc Schwartz,Ben Bishop, Wil McKenna, Ethan Helm,Adrian Justin DiMatteo, Gabe Condon, Allister Duncan....I'm probably leaving a few out...Oliver, Candice...will bring list home next time!