This evening, my daughters, my husband and I went to opening night of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.  It was a perfect balmy night and as soon as we hit East Avenue, the sound of Jazz and the unmistakable aroma of grilled meats, sausage, onions and peppers laced the breeze.

I don’t pretend to be a Jazz critic.  I know that I love most kinds of Jazz and I can tell good from bad, but I will leave it to the critics to cover the subtleties of the performances.

Faux Frenchmen on Jazz Street, Opening Night

Faux Frenchmen on Jazz Street, Opening Night

When we arrived, the Greece Olympia High School Jazz Band was performing.  Each day, at 4:30 and 5:15 on Jazz Street, a different High School Jazz ensemble takes the stage.  Don’t let the fact that these are student bands deter you.  These young people are the stars of tomorrow that  you have an opportunity to preview before they hit the limelight. Listening to their music, I have no doubt that many of them will return as headliners one day.

Between sets, the joyful and enthusiastic crowd mingled, chatted, ate and drank, occasionally running into friends and reveling in the lively atmostphere.

After a short intermission, the Faux Frenchmen launched into their first set.  As we sat on the steps – we got there too late for the area in the front with chairs – listening to their exciting 1930s-inspired Hot Club Gypsy Jazz and enjoying the gorgeous evening, I couldn’t help but think “tonight epitomizes why I returned to Rochester.”

Tomorrow on the Jazz Street State at 4:30 and 5:15, the Honeoye Falls HS Jazz Band will be followed by the Pittsford-Sutherland HS Jazz Band.  At 6:00 p.m., the Faux Frenchmen will perform again, followed by Papa Grows Funk at 7:15 and 9:15.  The performances on the Jazz Street Stage are free and open to the public thanks to support from the Rochester Community Foundation.

P.S.  If you love great jazz violin and accoustical jazz, try to catch the Faux Frenchmen – you’ll thank yourself!

For a full lineup of Saturday’s events, CLICK HERE.