Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rochester Music Hall of Fame announces 2015 inductees

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 4:00 AM

The Rochester Music Hall Of Fame today announced its class of 2015 inductees, which will be celebrated at the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony at Eastman Theatre on Sunday, April 26.

This year’s inductees are jazz bassist Ron Carter; Gibson Guitar CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz; jazz pianist Gap Mangione; vocalist William Warfield; and 1960's soul sensations, Wilmer & the Dukes. There will also be the unveiling of a new award for graduating high school seniors named after former Eastman School of Music dean, the late Douglas Lowry

The induction ceremony will include performances to commemorate each inductee. With Carter in attendance, guest artists will perform one of his original works. A Gibson All-Star Band is currently being put together to honor Juszkiewicz, but one of the already confirmed musicians is Chris Daughtry, Garmmy-nominated vocalist, guitarist, and frontman for the band Daughtry. Gap Mangione and His New Big Band will perform with guests to be announced. Warfield's nephew, Thomas Warfield, will perform an interpretive dance, and vocalist Jamal Moore will perform "Ol' Man River." And the three surviving members of Wilmer & The Dukes will be in attendance.

Tickets for the fourth annual induction ceremony are on sale now at the Eastman Theatre box office (454-2100) or rpo.org, as well as at Wegmans. Tickets range from $20 to $50. More information can be found at rochestermusic.org.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Last call for Chopsie

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Rochester institution and at one-time, the city's longest running bartender Angelo “Chops” Speranza has died. Speranza, a veteran of D-Day, was also a veteran of the live music scene where shows at the Water Street Music Hall -- when it was known as the Country Warehouse and later as the Horizontal Boogie Bar -- went well with a cocktail or a beer from Chops.

Click here to see what I had to say about Chops back in 2002 when, thanks to Chops, I wasn’t the oldest cat in the room. RIP, pal.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

XRIJF adds three more headliners to 2015 festival

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 4:00 AM

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival today announced three more headliners to its 2015 festival. Trumpeter Herb Alpert will be joined by vocalist Lani Hall for an 8 p.m. performance on Saturday, June 20. Tedeschi Trucks Band with soulsters Sharon Jones & the Dap-kings will perform Thursday, June 25, at 7 p.m. And The Steep Canyon Rangers -- who have sold out four XRIJF shows with Steve Martin -- will return on Saturday, June 27, for a 4 p.m. matinee show.

All performances are at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

The festival previously announced headlining shows from Diana Krall, Jennifer Hudson, and Gary Clark Jr. The 14th edition of the XRIJF takes place June 19 through June 27.

The full 2015 XRIJF Club Pass Series lineup, free outdoor stage shows, and a final headliner will be announced on March 24.

Tickets for the recently added shows go on sale Friday, February 27, at 10 a.m. online at rochesterjazz.com. To order by phone call 454-2060.



Herb Alpert and Lani Hall. - PHOTO BY GERRY WERSH
  • PHOTO BY GERRY WERSH
  • Herb Alpert and Lani Hall.

The term "legendary" is appropriate for Herb Alpert. The trumpeter has won nine Grammy Awards -- the latest for his 2013 album, "Steppin' Out" -- and has sold more than 72 million records. He will be joined by his wife, Lani Hall -- herself a Grammy winner -- for the Kodak Hall performance. Tickets range from $33 to $63.



The Tedeschi Trucks Band. - PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • The Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Eleven-piece blues rock act Tedeschi Trucks Band, led by husband and wife, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, came out swinging with its 2012 debut, "Revelator," which won both a Grammy for Best Blues Album and a Blues Music Award for Album of the Year. The Kodak Hall show will be part of the band's "Wheels of Soul" summer tour with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who belt out a fiery brand of 1960's and 70's funk and soul revival. Capping it off, blues guitarist and vocalist Doyle Bramhall II will also perform. Tickets range from $70 to $125.



The Steep Canyon Rangers. - PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • The Steep Canyon Rangers.

The Steep Canyon Rangers should be familiar to Jazz Fest patrons. The group has appeared in Rochester numerous times backing comedian and banjoist Steve Martin. The Asheville, North Carolina, bluegrass group won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013 for its eighth record, "Nobody Knows You." Tickets for this show range from $20 to $45.



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Monday, February 16, 2015

Concert Review: Breaking Benjamin at Main Street Armory

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 4:00 AM

There was a snowstorm warning issued for Rochester on Valentine's Day, but don't tell that to the large crowd gathered inside the Main Street Armory to get a first glimpse at the new Breaking Benjamin. The hard rock band had been on hiatus for the last five years, and after settling a certain amount of drama, the new line-up had chosen Rochester as one of only four cities to play its first electric tour since 2010.

The crowd was ready for a good time as the lights blacked out and a deafening roar arose from the sea of people. After opening with "So Cold," one of Breaking Benjamin's biggest hits, singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley informed the crowd that he was sick, but that the audience could help by singing the songs with him -- which was met with great approval.

For a while, the band delved into older material from its first album, "Saturate," and the crowd noise died down slightly. However, as soon as Burnley thanked the crowd gave his gratitude, the band exploded with a fan favorite, "Shallow Bay," and the crowd finally let loose and never let up.

The performance was something to behold: Burnley remains one of the most talented and consistent vocalists in alternative metal and hard rock. With his new five-piece band, the music sounded like it came straight off their catalog -- sick vocalist or not. The other band members all played their hearts out and made for solid backing vocalists. One of the shining parts of the band's performance was its harmonies, especially in songs like "You," which was the first song of its encore.

During the end of the first set, Burnley addressed the crowd with minor details about a new album in the works. "We're hoping to bring some rock back with our new album. Keep an eye out," he said, which drew a massive cheer of approval from the masses. Burnley keeps a good sense of honesty in his lyricism, which obviously resonated with the crowd judging by the massive back and forth between him and the crowd. Not only that, he just comes off as a genuinely kind and caring person, which added to the tight-knit feel despite the large crowds.

The night really ended on a peak: During the last song of the encore, "Rain," all of the lights were turned up and the audience started the loudest sing-along of the night. "I want you to sing so loud they can hear it in the neighboring states," Burnley yelled. And it was loud and glorious. From where I was sitting, water had begun leaking through the roof and onto the crowd below. But nobody cared; it was quite fitting to have rain anyway.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Jennifer Hudson and Gary Clark Jr. added as XRIJF headliners

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Soul vocalist Jennifer Hudson and blues rocker Gary Clark Jr. have been added as headliners to the 2015 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, organizers of the festival announced this morning.

Jennifer Hudson - PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • Jennifer Hudson

Hudson, a Grammy Award-winning singer and Academy Award-winning actress, will perform on Wednesday, June 24. Clark, who is also a Grammy winner, will perform with guest singer Beth Hart on Tuesday, June 23. Both concerts are in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 12, at rochesterjazz.com, or by phone at 454-2060. Tickets for Hudson are $55-$120 plus service charges; and tickets for Clark and Hart are $33-$63.

The festival announced its first headliner, Diana Krall, in November. Krall will perform two shows on the festival's opening night, Friday June 19, and tickets fro the 4 p.m. matinee show are still available.

The 14th edition of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival will take place June 19 through June 27. Club Passes are now on sale for $194 plus service charges.

Hudson gained notoriety in 2004 as a finalist on "American Idol," and has gone on to have a prominent R&B and acting career, winning a Grammy for her 2008 debut self-titled album. Her sophomore album, "I Remember Me," entered the Billboard Top 200 at No. 2, and her most recent album, 2014's "JHUD," debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard chart. In 2007, Hudson won an Academy Award for her performance in "Dreamgirls."





Gary Clark Jr. - PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • PHOTO COURTESY XRIJF
  • Gary Clark Jr.

With fuzzed out guitars and soul dripping from his voice, Clark won a Grammy in 2014 for his song "Please Come Home." The Austin-based musician isn't contained in just blues and rock, but his music stretches into R&B, soul, pop, and a little bit of hip-hop on his debut studio album "Blak and Blu." Clark will be joined by singer-songwriter Beth Hart, who is preparing to release her 8th studio album, "Better Than Home," in April.





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