5Head Rochester madcap ska skanksters 5Head are full of pants-optional hi-jinx and contagious back beat that starts at your feet and ends with you attempting dance moves that would have put Fred Astaire in traction. This band features lighthearted fun played by some of the best musicians this town has. (FD) facebook.com/5HEADMUSIC
Bertoncini/Jenkins/Sturm From the orchestras of The Merv Griffin Show and the Metropolitan Opera House to the bands of Paul Desmond, Wayne Shorter, Bette Midler, and Tony Bennett, guitar virtuoso Gene Bertoncini has done it all. He's formed a powerful trio with trumpeter Clay Jenkins — who's played with Buddy Rich and the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra — and bassist Ike Sturm, who has lent his talents to Bobby McFerrin and Maria Schneider. (RN) genebertoncini.com; clayjenkins.net; ikesturm.com
Brian Kellock & Tommy Smith At the age of 16, saxophonist Tommy Smith already had his first album under his belt. By the time he was 18, he was touring with vibraphonist Gary Burton. Since then he's worked with Joe Locke, John Scofield, Joe Lovano, and others. One of the finest pianists in the United Kingdom, Brian Kellock has collaborated with Stanley Turrentine, Scott Hamilton, and Art Farmer, among others. (RN) tommy-smith.co.uk
Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez Jazz Fest 2010, and the crowd was packed in for Ohlman's first set in the steamy Abilene tent. Dressed entirely in leopard print (swoon) and high heels (swoon, swoon), with a sky-high beehive — if this lady's hair was a clock, it was high noon — Ohlman wowed the screaming crowd not by ripping it up or serving up a good ol' trademark throwdown in 4/4 time for her opening number. No, she opened with Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is." She sang smoky and cool, and dished out some of the best barroom rock 'n' roll we'd ever heard. She's gonna do it again. (FD) christineohlman.net
Cyndi Cain It doesn't matter on what stage you catch Halifax's honeybee of soul singer Cyndi Cain. Wherever she's performing, it's her stage, her audience, her night. Cain owns it, and she's been owning it since she was 3. Hers is a mix of neo soul, classic and contemporary R&B, and a dash of hip hop. (FD) cyndicain.com
David's Angels Fantastic Swedish foursome David's Angels is dragging its new album "What It Seems" along for the ride. David's Angels describes its strain as dark sounds and pure melodies — some have called it death jazz. Honestly, it's not as ominous as you might think. It's sonically dark but somehow uplifting with a syncopated get up and go. Stark and beautiful. (FD) facebook.com/davidsangels.se
Diane Schurr See feature on page X. dianeschuur.com
Ivan Jansen Aruba Jazz Project Guitarist is what you might call a world music innovator. By blending contemporary harmonic jazz concepts with traditional Aruban and Antillean rhythms like tumba, danza, and mazurka, Jansen forges through uncharted yet smooth territory. (FD) ivanjansen.com
Jamey Haddad Group To call Jamey Haddad a drummer would be like calling a computer a typewriter. In his Oberlin, Ohio, home he's got a collection of over 1,000 percussion instruments from around the world. He uses them to teach in his classes at Oberlin Conservatory and takes some of them on the road when he plays with artists like Paul Simon. Haddad has also lent his vast knowledge and technique to Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano, Paul Winter, and many others. (RN)
Jonathan Gee Trio In 1991, pianist Jonathan Gee won the Guardian/Wire British Jazz Award for "Most Promising Newcomer" and never looked back. Aside from playing his own challenging compositions, he founded the Monk Liberation Front in England, dedicated to the study and interpretation of the work of Thelonious Monk. Gee's New York trio boasts Joseph Lepore on bass and Rob Garcia, drums. (RN) jonathangeetrio.co.uk
Lucky Peterson See listing for Tuesday, June 24.
Mel Henderson and Paradigm Shift Mel Henderson and his creative partner Gerry Youngman grew up when jazz had grit, danger, and edge to it — the kind of music played in dark, smoky bars. The two veterans co-founded Paradigm Shift in the early 90's wanting to pump the heat back into jazz. Paradigm Shift is Henderson on organ, Youngman on guitar, and drummer Sean Jefferson. (JC) psjazz.com
Michael McDonald Michael McDonald joined The Doobie Brothers as a pianist in 1975, but it wasn't long before his gravelly vocals become the group's trademark sound. McDonald also came up with a syncopated style of songwriting that spawned hits like "What a Fool Believes" and "Minute by Minute." The hits kept coming in his post-Doobies career, along with interpretations of the Motown songbook. (RN) michaelmcdonald.com
Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band featuring Steve Smith and Tom Kennedy Guitarist Mike Stern and saxophonist Bill Evans were both recruited by the great Miles Davis. A languid guitarist, Stern has also played with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Billy Cobham, and Jaco Pastorius. Evans did a stint in John McLaughlin's experimental Mahavishnu Orchestra. Drummer Steve Smith has propelled artists ranging from George Garzone to the rock group Montrose, and bassist Tom Kennedy has played with Sonny Stitt, Freddie Hubbard, and others. (RN) mikestern.org; billevanssax.com/wordpress; vitalinformation.com; tomkennedymusic.com
The Brain Cloud This NYC ensemble plays some of the sweetest Western swing you'll ever hear. By definition, this beautiful Americana is comprised of many sub-genres. The Brain Cloud expertly blends jazz, country, Tin Pan Alley, bluegrass, swing, etc., and with vocalist Tamar Korn singing like she's inside an old Gramophone, you'd swear the band was from another time. (FD) braincloudwesternswing.com
Warren Wolf & The Wolfpack If you heard Warren Wolf when he toured as a pianist with the Rachael Price Group, you may have been surprised to see him behind a drum set with Tia Fuller. If you think that's impressive, when he visits the XRIJF, he'll be playing perhaps his foremost instrument: vibraphone. Barely 30 years old, Wolf earned his reputation playing with Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Jeremy Pelt, and many others. (RN) warrenwolfmusic.com
XRIJF Nightly Jazz Session with The Bob Sneider Trio See listing for Friday, June 20.
City Newspaper's guide to Rochester's biggest music festival. The 2016 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival runs Friday, June 24, through Saturday, July 2. For more reviews, blogs, photos, and the latest news, check our website every day of the festival.
The 2016 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival runs Friday, June 24, through Saturday, July 2, and City Newspaper will be out every night of the festival, covering multiple shows.