Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jazz Fest announces last two headliners

Bruce Hornsby and Gregg Allman join the 2016 festival

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The Rochester International Jazz Festival announced today the last two headliner acts for the 2016 festival. Bandleader and pianist Bruce Hornsby and Southern rocker Gregg Allman have joined the 15th edition of the festival, which will take place June 24 through July 2.

Hornsby -- who will perform with his band, The Noisemakers, on Wednesday, June 29 -- and Allman, who will perform on Friday, July 1, round out the headliner lineup that was announced in January. Grace Potter, Erykah Badu, Chris Botti, and Chick Corea will all perform in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Tickets for Hornsby and Allman go on sale Friday, February 26, 10 a.m. at rochesterjazz.com, or by phone at 454-2060. Tickets for Hornsby are $55-$95, and prices for Allman are $65-$105.

Tickets to performances by the other headliners are already on sale.

The full Rochester International Jazz Festival lineup, including the Club Pass Series and free shows, will be announced on Tuesday, March 22.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Mellencamp to play Eastman Theatre

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 11:19 AM

If you’re a lover that won’t drive him crazy or dug him since he was just a cougar, here’s your chance to see Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy winner John Mellencamp who returns to Rochester with his “Plain Spoken Tour" on Friday, April 22, at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Mellencamp has history here after all: he starred in the movie “After Image” which was filmed in Rochester in 2001.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $27.50 -$113.00 and go on sale at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, through the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main Street, EastmanTheatre.org, or by calling 454-2100. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jazz Fest announces four headliners

Festival's 15th edition will start June 24

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival this morning announced four headliners for its 15th edition. The 2016 festival will take place across nine days, June 24 to July 2.

Singer-songwriter and Nocturnals frontperson Grace Potter will headline the festival's opening night. Neo-soul icon Erykah Badu will perform Saturday, June 25. Jazz pianist and 22-time Grammy winner Chick Corea will perform Tuesday, June 28, with his "Trilogy" trio and special guest Joey Alexander -- the 12-year-old pianist who appeared at the 2015 festival. And trumpeter Chris Botti will return to the festival on Thursday, June 30.

All above headliner performances will take place at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs Street. Tickets for these performances will go on sale Friday, January 29, at 10 a.m. Online at rochesterjazz.com, or by calling 454-2060.

Tickets for Grace Potter are $55-$95; Erykah Badu is $70-$105; Corea's performance with Alexander is $40-$75; and tickets for Chris Botti are $55-$105.

Club Passes -- both the new 3-day passes (for $154) and traditional 9-day passes (for $204) -- are now on sale.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jazz Festival 2016 Club Passes go on sale Friday

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 4:28 PM

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival announced today that Club Passes for its 2016 festival will go on sale Friday, October 23, at 10 a.m. New to this year, the festival's 15th edition, will be two Club Pass options: the traditional 9-day pass and a new 3-day pass.

As in past years, the Club Pass offers free admission to any events at Club Pass venues during the festival, but there’s no reserved seating or guaranteed entry. The new 3-day Club Pass will offer patrons the opportunity to use the pass for unlimited access to shows on any three days of their choice during the festival.

The 9-day Club Pass early-bird price remains the same as last year, at $174 plus $6 service charge ($8 if mailed). This 9-day early-bird pass rate is good until midnight, December 31. Prices will increase to $204 plus service charge on January 1, 2016.

The new 3-day Club Pass early-bird price is $134 plus $6 service charge ($8 if mailed), until midnight, December 31. The pass increases to $154 plus $6 service charge on January 1, 2016. Only a limited number of 3-day Club Passes will be sold.

Also, admission to Club Pass shows will increase. Single entry without a 3-day or 9-day Club Pass will now be $30 cash at the door for all venues, and $35 at Kilbourn Hall. This is the first increase in admission prices at the door in eight years.

The festival is testing out a new wristband system at Kilbourn Hall and Max, too. Rather than having to wait in line -- a growing problem in recent years -- concert attendees at those venues will be given a wristband. More details are expected as the festival approaches.

Other changes coming to the 2016 Jazz Festival will include:

-- The Squeezers Stage, which was in the Sibley Building in 2015, will relocate to the Anthology space at 336 East Avenue. There will be sets at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

-- A new "Oh, Canada" series will present emerging Canadian musicians at the Rochester Club at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

-- Kilbourn Hall show times will be at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The 2016 festival will be held from June 24 to July 2. The full lineup will be announced in late March 2016. Club Passes can be purchased online at rochesterjazz.com, or by phone at 454-2060. For complete details on the Club Pass and other Jazz Festival news, see rochesterjazz.com/php/ticket_info.php.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

I Scene It: John Hammond at Geva Theatre Center

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 4:00 AM

So this Son House "festivus for the rest of us" had the whole town invigorated. It ain’t a secret this is a blues town; our winters are cold and our women are warm. But this four day affair was something else.

I went and saw John Hammond play Thursday night. I’ve always dug this cat and his story-telling take on the one-man blues. Hammond is one of those artists that floats easily in and out of time and rhythm (like Willie Nelson) and still successfully lands on his feet. Each song was preceded by a story or an anecdote centered around the artist who wrote or had finger prints on each song.

The love and respect for House, collectively from the crowd (packed house every night, donchyaknow) and the artists, was amazing. This is a red blooded town, this Rochester, but it bleeds blue ... just ask Roger Kuhn.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Scene It: Barrence Whitfield and the Savages at Abilene

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 4:00 AM

It’s gratifying to hear rock 'n' roll fans say my article on an artist swayed them to go to the show. So I was pleased to the max my words managed to get a few lonely souls off the couch and onto the Abilene dance floor where Barrence Whitfield fans beat on it like a red headed trampoline.

Whitfield and his band of motley Bean Town boys busted up the joint and shook the goddamn walls with a solid set of garage, R&B, and savage soul. It was a good-natured bloodbath. This cat easily has the best voice in rock 'n' roll, ladies and gentlemen.

I found myself fantasizing various classic rock voices replaced by Whitfield and those bands sounded better for it. Journey, Judas Priest, The Cult, Willie Nelson, along with anything by these plastic, contemporary clowns that call what they do R&B (pull-eeeeze), could all use a Whitfield re-working. C’mon, his voice is like catsup; it’s good on everything.

Anyhow, the show was great and the place was packed. “Bloody Mary" is still one of the wildest songs I know. It was loud, too, baby; I could have listened from my back yard, three miles away. I went home with my balls ringing and a grin in my guts.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I Scene It: Santana at CMAC

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 4:00 AM

August is arguably the best month for an outdoor concert in the Finger Lakes region, particularly if the event is situated at a beautiful venue like CMAC. My friend and I agreed that we should attend the Santana show on Saturday, but also catch a lecture, “Seven Candles: Science for a Deeper Spirituality,” before the performance. Carlos Santana has always struck me as a spiritual kind of guy, so we figured a visit to Gossamer Wood, a healing retreat center in Canandaigua for the “Seven Candles” presentation would be a good opening act.

We drove into the woods and parked in the driveway of the healing house. Upon entering, our host JD greeted us warmly. Once he got down to business, that was when things started to get a little hippy. Nearly all of the presentation was over my head but there were some cool photos of the Milky Way among other things displayed on the television. I forgot to ask the question: How does our own galaxy take its own selfie? Anyway, here is a fun fact: humans share 50 percent of our DNA with bananas. The lecture was over before we knew it and left us illuminated. We made our cosmic connection when at the end JD told us that he shared the stage with Santana at a peace concert in the former U.S.S.R.

It was a skip and jump over to CMAC. After a wait we got inside the almost sold-out venue; it was the largest crowd I had ever seen under the shell. The show drew a diverse group age-wise and my friend mentioned that he never thought he would see old folks in walkers at a rock concert. Either way, we were positively stoked for the Corazón Tour.

The concert opened with vintage footage of Woodstock displayed on the enormous video panel behind the players. At 67 years old, Carlos Santana walked onstage wearing a black fedora, black vest, white shirt and launched into instrumental “Soul Sacrifice” with a purple guitar. Everything about his band was big; in fact it was double sized by including two percussionists, dual guitars, trumpet and trombone, and two lead vocalists. At one point Carlos Santana mentioned it was the band’s deepest desire to give the audience a memorable night, which was what I experienced. The entire show was damn near flawless. The crisp clean sound, the lights, the backing band and the man himself made me feel like I was at the Grammys.

The well-behaved crowd sat mostly in their seats but stood up for hits, “Maria Maria,” and “Smooth.” Carlos Santana was also a collector of songs as he took a few familiar licks and blended those into his own. It was like playing a game of name that tune: “Paint It Black” led into “Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen”; Coltrane’s “Blue Train” morphed into “A Place with No Name” which contained elements of America’s “A Horse With No Name”; and The Champs’ “Tequila” turned into The Temptations’ “Get Ready” before coming back around.

The band rocked on for more than an hour before Carlos Santana introduced his son, Salvatore, for a three-song mini-set that created a change of direction as the younger Santana dabbled in hip-hop. Once the normal set list resumed it turned into a percussion feast with “Jingo,” a tune he first performed at The Fillmore in 1967. The sweaty, charged up conga solo by percussionist Paoli Mejías proved to be a mind-blowing highlight. The show concluded with a three-song encore that ended with “Ominous.” By this time fans were standing several deep at the front of the stage. Carlos Santana crouched down and even let a couple of lucky fans strum his guitar.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Scene It: Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick at CMAC

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 3:51 PM

Cheap Trick performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 11. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Cheap Trick performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 11.

The rain juked me, goddammit, and I missed the P-Funk show at MLK Jr. Park on Thursday. I did manage to catch The Goods at the aftershow at the Dinosaur BBQ, though. I walked in as the quartet was taking a stab at Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne.” Known for its sky-scraping jams and polyrhythm, the Goods were a little bluesier, but rockin’ nonetheless, especially when Miss Teressa Wilcox brought joy to the boys by joining them on a spirited take of Lucinda’s Williams' tumultuous tune “Joy.”

The best stage at The Corn Hill Arts Festival has to be the one at the gazebo with its cool canopy of trees, short skirts display, and terrific sound. Every year I track down this stage by following my ears. This Saturday, was no different as me and Mr. T shuffled toward the gazebo to the sound of Steve Grills and the Roadmasters. The band was locked in tight like a pugilist clinch as Grills flexed his huge vocabulary through Fender tube and tweed.

Tyler Pearce followed. It was my first time hearing this young singer-songwriter: her acoustically-rooted folk rock got excellent rock band treatment as she intoned with casual intent. She sounded just fine, but I’d like to see a little more of the drama that her pretty and thoughtful songs demand.

I thumbed my way onto a limo ride with some members of the lunatic fringe and barreled down the 90 to CMAC for Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton Saturday night. Now I’ve loved Cheap Trick since I was a kid (I was CT guitarist Rick Nielsen -- complete with spinning bow tie -- for Halloween in 6th grade) and have seen them a ton of times. And what I usually found tres cool at past shows actually distracted me a bit this time around. Nielsen is the source of the band’s chordal bliss and hooks, and live he noodles and stretches and augments, slithering around Robin Zander’s unbelievable (I think it’s actually gotten better) voice. And though it’s amazing to hear the guitar in the moment, it was a bit much in spots. The show highlight, besides hearing “Surrender” was bassist Tom Petersson’s version of the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting For My Man.”

Peter Frampton rose to the challenge of following Cheap Trick with a positively exquisite mix. If you bring in too much artillery into CMAC it winds up sounding like shit; loud and confusing shit. Frampton was loud, no sweat, it just made sense even when he stepped way, way out of the box to tackle an instrumental version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” I went in skeptical, but Frampton showed me the way.

Peter Frampton performed with Cheap Trick at CMAC on Saturday, July 11. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Peter Frampton performed with Cheap Trick at CMAC on Saturday, July 11.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I Scene It: The Tragically Hip at CMAC

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 4:00 AM

The Tragically Hip performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 4. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • The Tragically Hip performed at CMAC on Saturday, July 4.

The last time I saw The Tragically Hip in concert, the Canadian band didn't yet have its own postage stamp, and Bill Clinton was the president. That was 15 long years ago, so when Gord Downie and company announced an area gig, I filed it under "must see." The Hip did not disappoint as it rocked the enthusiastic house at CMAC on the Fourth of July working in a pre-fireworks celebration that was made even better by a complete performance of classic album, "Fully Completely."

The Hip did not slow down a bit during a nearly 2-hour set. Charismatic and eccentric front man Gord Downie's voice was vigorous while the rest of the band was at the top of its game. Downie still can't dance though; he twisted and twitched and possibly twerked -- moving like an erratic marionette at times but owning the stage regardless. You could almost imagine him grabbing your arm and miming his own life story on a train trip through the Canadian Rockies.

Downie walked onstage in a white suit, black shoes and fedora as the band members picked up their instruments, then it was off with "Grace, Too." There is no better opening line to get things started than "He said I'm Tragically Hip." The band's second tune "My Music at Work" whipped the crowd into action. A fan favorite, "New Orleans is Sinking," slipped through the cracks of American radio but the heavy, bluesy groove got the audience swaying like an old time revival.

After a quick changeover, five video panels descended for the "Fully Completely" portion of the show. The Hip ripped through its greatest album as Canadian imagery was projected including grainy film of a snow storm. Two of the album's strongest numbers, "At the Hundredth Meridian" and "Fifty Mission Cap" produced some of the night's cooler moments: both tunes demonstrated the cohesive energy of this extraordinary rock band.

The only stage banter all evening was the farewell, "Thank you music lovers." It led to an encore that ended too quickly with "Blow at High Dough." Downie who had been shedding souvenirs into the audience all night was handed a bouquet of flowers at the end, lovingly bestowed by a fan.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

City of Rochester announces ROC the Park lineup

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 4:00 AM

This town certainly loves its music festivals. And there is no shortage of places to throw one. And now with Martin Luther King Jr park back in the mix, the mayor just announced a three concert series aptly named ROC the Park. This will be the series' second year.

For three separate days -- Saturday, July 5; Friday, August 7; and Saturday, September 5 -- ROC the Park will present a handful (a large handful) of neo-soul, R&B, and Motown featuring headlining artists Drea D’Nur, Team Powell, and Carlton Wilcox.

The complete lineup is as follows:

5 p.m., Saturday, July 25: "A Night of Neo-Soul" featuring Drea D'Nur with supporting acts Tamra; Will Houghton; Shondra Floyd; Monique Perry; Maisha and Jasma.

6 p.m., Friday, August. 7: "Rhythm and Groove R&B Tribute" featuring Team Powell with supporting acts Brown Skin; Renee and Nate Anderson; Brothers 4 Life; and Anthony Donte.

5 p.m., Saturday, September 5: "A Tribute to Motown," featuring Carlton Wilcox Live with supporting act Divine Nature.

Local food and beverages will be available for purchase. Patrons may bring one sealed bottle of water into ROC the Park. To accommodate more attendees, lawn chairs will not be allowed. Picnic baskets, bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and pets are also not permitted at the event.

Parking is available at nearby parking garages including the Washington Square Garage, 111 Woodbury Boulevard, Court Street Garage, 194 Court Street. and at the East End Garage, 475 East. Main St., as well as on-street in the area.

Tickets are $5 (VIP for $25, children under 12 are free) and available at tickemaster.com or the Blue Cross Arena box office.

For more information, visit www.cityofrochester.gov/ROCthepark or call 311 (428-5990 outside city limits).

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