Jazz Festival 2019, Day 9: Frank reviews Acoustic Alchemy and Joey DeFrancesco

Jun 30, 2019

Organist Joey DeFrancesco helped to close out the 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival with his sets at Temple Building Theater.
Credit Daniel J. Kushner / CITY Newspaper

The alchemy began with the opening salvos of Acoustic Alchemy and its powerful performance. The band made wide-sweeping strokes across the canvas. Just when you thought they were going to break free stylistically, they'd pitch an elegant U-turn back to their roots and the thrill at hand. 

The big crack-up came along when the outfit faked out the capacity crowd at Geva Theatre's Wilson Stage with a false ending, then another and another and yet another. Though the group is what you might call "New Age," the group managed to throw in some rock-solid rock and English folk rock a la Steely Dan and Fairport Convention, respectively -- going so far as to pay tribute to SD's Walter Becker.

Joey DeFrancesco noodled abstract and waxed odd-timed and obtuse at the beginning of his 7 p.m. set. Both sax and drums followed close behind. Once all were aligned, he kicked into a swing groove that was backhoe-deep, and because he made the audience wait for it, very satisfying. 

DeFrancesco swings like no other. He also plays the trumpet. And with his closing number, I say goodnight to the 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival. This one was easily one of the best. And a salute to all my CITY Newspaper and WXXI cohorts for all their hard work.