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

Jun 30, 2019
Originally published on June 30, 2019 3:12 am

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.

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