Jazz is alive and kicking in Buffalo. From May 10 to 16, Nietzsche's was taken over by the second annual Jazz Festival, the creation of saxophonist Ellen Pieroni. During that five-day stretch, a host of wildly inventive jazz musicians conspired to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that our jazz scene is an incredibly vibrant one.
Cross-generational interplay is everything. Unlike pop music, in jazz, older, seasoned players are venerated by younger ones for their accumulated experience and musical wisdom. This fact was underscored repeatedly throughout the festival. One example: The Mark Filsinger Eleventet, found younger players joining forces with our scenes reigning kings, among them Bobby Militello and Dave Schiavone.
Jared Tinkham is an absolute beast. The guitarist led his own trio, and also performed as a member of What Would Mingus Do? He's good. Scary good. Check him out.
Kelly Bucheger writes some seriously inventive charts. The What Would Mingus Do? leader/saxophonist is a brilliant composer whose tunes offer fresh, exciting melodies, thrilling changes in key and tempo, and plenty of room for top-tier improvisation.
The festival needs to expand next year. This is a good idea whose time has come. I'd love to see the festival add an outdoor stage next year. A healthy jazz scene warrants as much.