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Thanks for this interview. It's always fun to hear from Karrin.
In defense of the Rochester International Jazz Festival: While it's true that the producers book non-jazz acts, it's also true that the festival has brought in hundreds upon hundreds of incredible jazz performers from a wide range of genres. Not only is the festival an excellent showcase for the music, but it has transformed the city of Rochester in the summer.
What's more, the existence of the festival has given birth to a strong community of bloggers and writers who cover jazz extensively in Rochester. I'm in thinking in particular of Greg Bell and his outstanding Jazz@Rochester blog, among others.
Jerry Lee Lewis may not be a jazzer, but if his presence helps fund a festival like the RIJF, he can play any time he wants to.
The Jazz Session
Love the interview and have heard Karrin here in Rochester several times (including twice at the Rochester International Jazz Festival) and have some of her albums. However, I wanted to echo Jason's points on the RIJF (and thank him for his kind words for my blog that covers live jazz in and around Rochester, NY).
Out of the hundreds of artists and groups at each year's RIJF, something like 70-80% are "jazz artists" in any sense of the word. Even many of the "non-jazz" groups/artists are pushing the envelope of what is known as jazz but embrace the improvisation and "democracy" that are its hallmarks. While RIJF doesn't push many envelopes within the jazz idiom (not too much in the "out" category), I have consistently heard wonderful jazz in each the years I have attended since moving to Rochester from Chicago and starting the Jazz@Rochester blog. If the RIJF and other festivals with the same type of programming (and there are many, including one might say Montreal...) didn't bring in non-jazz acts, there wouldn't have been 120,000 people roaming around downtown Rochester for nine days--more like 5,000 (a wonderful thing in a city that needs some good news). If some of the folks who came to hear Susan Tedeschi and Taj Mahal this year also caught Pat Martino, Arve Henriksen or Norma Winstone (or Karrin Allyson in past years....) and perhaps said "hey I really enjoyed that... maybe I'll get a pass and check out some more of it next year" then jazz is the better for it, don't you think?
There's no dishonesty and there are few jazz artists who come that don't see the enthusiasm with which their performances are met.
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