Boulder Coffee on Alexander Street was the place to be for jazz enthusiasts and music fans of all kinds last Sunday.
The Recall, the experimental, unique, and totally fun jazz group made up of five first-year students performed their first show.
The moment I walked into the coffee shop, everything about the place felt right. The band was just getting started, and the tune of their upbeat rendition of Maurice Brown’s “Merry Go Round” was already beginning to fill the place with their distinctive style of experimental jazz: unconventional, catchy, with a decidedly modern edge. Everything from the art on the walls to the spot’s location was just cool, and my coffee was, of course, excellent. Boulder set the bar high, as far as venue was concerned, and got me more than ready for a show that did the opposite of disappoint.
The Recall provided more than just a contemporary twist to jazz already being performed by highly talented experimentalists — their music was decidedly Rochester, as well. Most of the set was student-written, and standout songs like bandmate Jeff Pinsker-Smith own “Mr. JCW” — named, of course, for Joseph C. Wilson Boulevard on the River Campus — made me feel like what I was listening to wasn’t just fantastic jazz, but fantastic jazz I could only hear right here. Every member of the band was stellar, providing something different and indispensable to the overall feel of the music — it felt like every last bandmate stole the show.
Band member Alexa Silverman, on the keys and also a member of the phenomenal Root Seven, another student jazz group made up of UR undergrads, contributed diverse but always lively piano to the mix, at times taking center stage with melodies and hooks and at others playing a subtle role. She split the composition for all but two of the songs in the band’s set with Pinsker-Smith, a talented trumpetist responsible for much of what made the music feel decidedly jazzy and foot-tappingly relaxing. Aaron Hamilton was impressive on the drums, providing not just steady beats and fills but also up-tempo drum solos and riffs that lent the music much of its experimental edge. Beau Hanson stood out on guitar, electrifying an already striking performance. The band wouldn’t have felt complete, though, without Tessa Nojaim, whose never-faltering and always-invigorating bassline tied the music together and made it shine, especially in songs like Alexa’s “Please Don’t Go.”
The Recall made quite an impression on me in their first show. Far from ordinary, they were exciting and new, distinctly Rochester, and hold a promising future; the band represented a lot all at once, and I’m eager to hear what they come up with next. Catch them at Friday Night Live on April 13. I know I’ll be there.