You should always steal from the best. So to paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the death of big name touring jazz in Buffalo are greatly exaggerated.
It is, in fact, alive and flourishing.
Jazz radio isn't, heaven knows. In one of the more disgraceful abdications of recent local radio history, WBFO-FM ended most of its already mediocre jazz programming in favor of carrying NPR (thereby duplicating a lot of WNED-AM needlessly), leaving Toronto's CJRT-FM (91.1) to provide jazz on the air in Buffalo. None of this surprised a living soul who had followed the career of the station's longtime program director, even if it left Western New York criminally deprived of the one crucial place people used to be exposed to the music (and often the interviews) of great jazz musicians coming to town.
But understand -- last Friday's well-attended Herbie Hancock concert at the Erie Canal Harbor is only the beginning of stellar jazz news for the next month. For instance:
Aug. 21: Superb alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett comes to the Tralf Music Hall and plays his first show at 8 p.m. As with everyone else who ever played with Miles Davis, that truly magic jazz name is usually invoked to lend glitter to Garrett for those who don't know his music, but it's utterly unnecessary. Yes, it's true that at the end of Miles' life, Garrett was one of his saxophonists, but he was already considered one of the most powerful younger players in jazz.
I'm afraid the word "younger" has to be replaced with the word "veteran" now (he'll be 50 in October), but everything else stands. The Tralf gig is much awaited.
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