What a salacious spec-tackle it was this past Sunday night at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The crowd piled into the joint to dig the Rochester Music Hall of Fame’s 2022 induction ceremony. We were there to celebrate our own. And this was the ninth installment of recognizing Rochester talent on the stage and behind the scenes. There was a lot to see and discuss.
All nominees were in attendance, including Irish folksters the Dady Brothers—with the notable absence of Joe Dady, who passed away in 2019 after his long fight with leukemia.
John Dady worked through the tears and carried on with some help from friends and family including former Dady student Ben Proctor, longtime friends and fellow musicians Steve Piper, Gary Holt, Connor Dady, and Joe’s daughter the Lady Dady, who all kept the late Dady’s spirit alive throughout their set.
In addition, there was hot jazz belter Nancy Kelly, who dished out Frank Sinatra with her longtime pianist, Dino Losito. She was generous with goosebumps and took us along for a ride to the stars.
Douglas Lowry Award recipient Emma Grace Wade’s voice shimmered and sparkled just like her dress.
Representing brick and mortar amid all the flesh and blood was the Eastman Theatre and the Eastman School of Music therein. Wow, the place is 100 years old.
Whirlwind’s innovative Michael Laiccona told a story of his dad smashing all his guitars and electronic odds and ends, which made him work even harder. I thought I was the only one.
Sound engineer extraordinaire Mick Guzauski got the royal funk treatment from Prime Time Funk and a quartet of singers who did a medley of hits that Guzauski had been involved with in one way or another like Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?” sung by Rob Smith with a swell rendition, and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
And you could hear the cannonball drummer Roy McCurdy’s loose galloping swing as he went around beneath his hips and very own Bob Sneider Quintet.
Prime Time Funk rose to the challenge as house band for the entire event and blew the doors off the place all night. The talent on this night was staggering and for the most part made sense. RMHOF has pretty much won me over with its slick production and ease in which they pull the show off.
But there’s one thing—I’m over it at this point, but I feel I should vent.
It goes like this…
The opening and closing selections of the evening: NYC’s Steve Stevens and L.A.’s Fishbone. Their portions of the show were outtasite but made little sense for something called the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. Look, I know they’ve gotta get asses in the seats, there are still remnants of COVID lurking about and everyone has their eyeballs glued to Netflix. It’s a tough job.
That being said, Atomic Playboys guitarist Steve Stevens thundered and rumbled through a coupla Billy Idol goodies “Rebel Yell,” the “Top Gun,” soundtrack and “White Wedding.” It sounded great with the Eastman’s classic 100 year acoustics and all.
Putting Fishbone up as the show closer was a smart move. It took frontman Angelo Moore about 10 seconds to fly off of the stage and into the crowd. The band was on the edge, out of control.
One unsuspecting member of the crowd got hit in the head by a flying trombone its player had launched into the audience. It was three songs and done for the band that vanished as quickly as they appeared.
It wasn’t all Rochester, but it was 100 percent cool. See ya next year. Let’s keep it all tied to Rochester—well, maybe slip Fishbone in there… Yeah, Fishbone, Fishbone yeah.
We’ve got dynasties here and those dynasties are royal, to say the least. I’m talkin’ about and have talked about the Lake Brothers. But this week I’m really about to go off on the Bradley Brothers and specifically Todd Bradley. Bradley isn’t a jazz artist per se, but with this album he’s tapped into the memory and the influence and has really gotten down with some cool tracks.
On “Cerulean Dreams,” there’s Monk and Coltrane in there; there’s Blakey, Tyner and Silver, and so on, and so on.
This week, Bradley’s version of Wayne Shorter’s “Mahjong” made it to YouTube’s Jazz Hotlist. It sounds like a tres cool music box at a cocktail party.
Consider the cat’s pedigree as bassist along with Bootsy Collins on the King All-Star sessions. He was a founding member of the NRBQ-tinged the Essentials, who later turned into the Salamanders before getting up with the roots rock in the Hi-Risers, before going lounge exotica with the Bossa Nova Bradley Brothers. Just drop the needle in the groove and luxuriate now. You deserve it.
“This Quiet World”
It’s hard to be a quiet band in this quiet world. Just ask Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Just ask the fine folks in Tedeschi Trucks. Or better yet, why not run it by Rochester’s Moving Mountains. Ask them how they get the quiet and the big to cooperate together on their newest release, “This Quiet World,” a slice of both big and quiet shoe-horned into eight swingin’ cuts.
Formerly known as the Good around these parts—Rochester, and the Finger Lakes region—a lot of the size of the band’s sound can be attributed to the size of guitarist Miles McHugh’s pedal board. The thing rivals the cockpit on Air Force One. Perhaps we should call them the Bigs. Joining McHugh on this classic ode to beauty is drummer Jeff “Woody“ Woodruff, bassist Chris Meeker, and Lou Chitty on keyboards. All share in the harmonious vocals.
They do exert the jovial mood and lightheartedness of a sleeping giant. I do not have a favorite on this album. If I had to choose, it would be all eight or better yet, “The Day Breakers,” which the band lets fly away only to return to “This Quiet World.” I’ve always loved that tune. Hammer Down.
Here’s a comprehensive list of live shows in and around Rochester: Get Your Gig On