As far as the JVC Jazz Festival goes, frustration is good. The more you wring your hands over which must-see shows to take in, the more you know itâs a strong year for programming. The annual bash doesnât always rock the houseâseveral ho-hum installments come to mindâbut this time âround, everything looks rather sweet. Cecil Taylor and Hank Jones?! Now youâre talkinâ. Breadth can define a fest as much as focus can, and during the two-week stretch that started with Kenny Barronâs dynamo trio and extends to Charles Lloydâs mercurial quartet, impressive mainstream swing (Brad Mehldau, Charlie Hadenâs Quartet West) is entwined with smart funky-jammy stuff (MM&W, Soulive), skronky grooves (Ceramic Dog) are balanced by ethereal rumination (EST), and singers (Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tierney Sutton) and superstars (Herbie Hancock) both receive invites. Sometimes itâs all about location, location, location: The relatively new (Le) Poisson Rouge might be this yearâs chicest venue; trios led there by Bill Frisell and Marco Benevento are a must. Donât forget to shop local after the showsâitâs a strong two weeks in clubland, too.
June 19-28, 2008