Jazz Fest 2019, Day 6: Frank reviews Funknut, Jeff Goldblum, and Kandace Springs
Some ups, some downs, some smiles, some frowns, some heart palpitations. So here goes:
Rochester's Funknut is funky beyond belief, and at its early set at the Fusion Stage, the band wielded its instruments in a brazen display of a groovy threat. These cats were funkier than a porta-potty at a chili cook-off as they inspired all manner of dancing and hip-shakin' to and fro. It was tight and outta sight. All right?
Here comes the letdown
Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra proved to be a bit of a letdown. I was really bummed, to be honest. I'd been talking up his album and this show so much, you'd think I had an agenda. But being the consummate performer he is, I was dismayed to see him play to the cheap seats. And I'm a lobrow kinda guy.
Goldblum first stumbled out onto the stage as if he'd landed into the wrong room, promising to be back soon after John Nugent — the Abbott to Goldblum's Costello — dragged him backstage to get ready.
But he was already dressed in zebra-print pants, a silk print shirt and topped it off with a black fedora and horn-rimmed cheaters. He played two songs. Then he started quizzing the audience about local points of pride like the white hot and — yup, you guessed it — that culinary gem that is our cross to bare, the garbage plate.
Things just went downhill from there. The audience was shouting over each other. and when he did begin to play it wasn't half-bad. He is an accomplished piano player and the band was swingingly cool, except for the fact that the drummer's rack tom kept threatening to feed back with every strike he made. Boom boom boom. He kept whacking it unaware. Boom boom boom. Where was the bloody soundman? Boom boom boom. It was like the Tell-Tale Heart. Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. It drove me nuts. so I split.
I had high hopes for this show. Hell, I thought he was spearheading a new movement in cocktail jazz culture. It could have started here tonight, but alas, it did not.
I was hoping Kandace Springs could fix my mood.
By the time Kandace Springs went into an Oscar Peterson interlude during her late show at the Temple Building Theater, I had calmed down some. By the time she breathed "The Nearness of You" into our ears there was that "boom boom boom" again. She strummed our pain with her fingers. She reminded me of Sade. She had me vacate the joint with a smile.