Jazz Fest

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Jazz Fest 2017, Day 3: Frank catches Bill Kirchen and reviews Jack Broadbent and John Paul White

Posted By on Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 4:00 AM

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Master blaster of the Telecaster Bill Kirchen literally blew the roof off the joint at Abilene. Okay, it was a tent out back, but we did have liftoff. To show what a beautiful talent this man is: while the gusts of inclemency threatened to jettison the tent again, Kirchen held things down with his left hand while picking an old George Jones number with his right. It was just the man himself, spanking the plank alone, which really made for some interesting rhythm picking to fill in the gaps and trills that went up the neck (and down my spine) like Lonnie Johnson used to do. And though this wasn't a Jazz Festival show, it was part of the energy in the air that ignited the periphery -- and that's here year round, donchya know.

English guitarist Jack Broadbent played Montage on Sunday as part of the 2017 XRIJF. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • English guitarist Jack Broadbent played Montage on Sunday as part of the 2017 XRIJF.

You know, the other day, I read somewhere that the sales of the electric guitar have dropped significantly. I got together a few musician pals to speculate why: ch-ch-changes in musical tastes, rock radio with shallow rotation of the same 30 songs (with 20 of them by Led Zeppelin), idiots trying and failing to play like Bill Kirchen, and so on.

But I know, and a couple hundred folks that greased their way into Montage Music Hall last night also know, there is one man that is killing the electric guitar, and that man is English slide guitarist Jack Broadbent. One listen to him and you get a case of the "holy shits" and promptly give up the guitar. It's like skinny dipping with John Holmes.

Jack Broadbent ... goddamn ... I just knew I was gonna love this guy live after I'd first caught him on YouTube. He played the slide guitar on his lap with a flask (I initially thought it was a stapler) in his left hand for a slide. This added a beefier, meaner tone, not to mention his attack, which when he tore into it roared like King Kong with a hangnail. Broadbent played with his father on bass and his sweet mother making sure the beer was cold. The music was rooted in blues but left some room for jazz and a few covers from Little Feat, Steely Dan, and Ray Charles. This cat's show was explosive.

Johnny Mercer's "I Remember You"took on a whole new meaning for me after it accompanied a scene in one of my favorite flicks, Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects." Well now, John Paul White (formerly half of The Civil Wars) opened his set at Anthology with a beautiful rendition of this song to a crowd I can't see necessarily digging blood and guts on highway done Rob Zombie-style.

It was a mellow show, which got drowned out by the philistines in the back. White seemed unphased, and he told the members of the audience that were actually paying attention that he wasn't there to cheer us up. But if you like stark, rocking, lyrically insightful music -- like a less overwrought Wilco -- played over the din of the khaki crowd ... well then, he did cheer us up.

John Paul White played Anthology Sunday. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • John Paul White played Anthology Sunday.

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Jazz Fest 2017, Day 2: Frank reviews The Quebe Sisters and Adam Wakefield

Posted By on Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 4:00 AM

The Quebe Sisters performed in Harro East Ballroom on Saturday as part of the 2017 XRIJF. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • The Quebe Sisters performed in Harro East Ballroom on Saturday as part of the 2017 XRIJF.

Other than the meteorological mind games the clouds played with our heads, it turned out to be a beautiful day as we traipsed the jazz fandango well into the night. Ron Netsky knows what I like and immediately insisted I check out Grace, Sophia, and Hulda, The Quebe Sisters.

These three fiddle-wielding young women from Dallas sang like absolute angels -- or more accurately, The Andrews Sisters ... or maybe The Del Rubio Triplets. Their music had that cozy yesteryear feel of those wartime-era three-part harmonies, harvested, picked, and re-planted in Western swing dirt. The songs were plaintive and refined, allowing the sisters' vocals to haunt and wreak heartache, lyrically and melodically. They pulled out a handsome take of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart," Johnny Cash's "Wayfaring Stranger," and a killer stab with the sweet sawing of their bows on Les Paul and Mary Ford's "How High the Moon."

So I've decided I'm going to have The Quebe Sisters play my funeral. (I had initially had Popeye booked for the ceremony, where he and Olive would do a little interpretive dance to Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk.") The sisters were enchanting and even a bit shy with funny anecdotes about the songs or the latest haps in their young career, like recording with Willie Nelson or hangin' with Asleep at the Wheel.

The Quebe Sisters will perform again Sunday, June 25, at the Xerox Auditorium (100 South Clinton Avenue). 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. $30, or you can use your Club Pass. quebesisters.com.

This just in: Frank De Blase defines the word "show" as something you're missing while you live stream the event with your goddamn cell phone. Holster that smoke wagon, and enjoy the show like the rest of us.

Adam Wakefield shocked and awed the crowd, opening the show with a piece on the grand piano all by his lonesome. It's not that the Anthology crowd didn't think he could play piano, we were just expecting some loud, bordering-on-outlaw country -- which we got when the rest of his band took to the bandstand. With a penchant for 1970's, Waylon-style flanger, Wakefield plays that kind of country that wraps the cliché in the honesty of a song well-written and ultimately well-played. The crowd ate it up. But don't sweat the redneck appearance; he hails from New Hampshire.

Oh, and speaking of eating it up: Wakefield first came to national attention on a talent show where country singers are thrown in a pit of alligators as celebrities judge their performance. Winners are spared and given a recording contract. Now, Wakefield didn't win, but I couldn't help but notice his slick alligator boots.

Adam Wakefield won't perform again during this year's XRIJF, but check him out at adamwakefieldmusic.com.

Tomorrow, me and my alligator shoes will be checking out English slide wizard Jack Broadbent at Montage and John Paul White of the Civil Wars at Anthology.

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Jazz Fest 2017, Day 2: Daniel reviews Neil Cowley Trio and Durham County Poets

Posted By on Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 4:00 AM

The Neil Cowley Trio performed at Christ Church on Saturday. - PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER
  • The Neil Cowley Trio performed at Christ Church on Saturday.

The Neil Cowley Trio doesn't really play jazz. Yes, all the tell-tale instrumentation is there -- piano, upright bass, and drums. But the music itself is more accurately post-jazz: spacious minimalism meets percussive pop piano and driving rock rhythms, resulting in a sound that is alternately introspective and punchy. The British trio delivered on that sound Saturday in a spirited set at Christ Church, the first of two shows the group performed as part of the "Made in the UK" series.

Neil Cowley is decidedly not an ostentatious pianist, eschewing overt virtuosity in favor of contemplative atmospheres and crowded textures. He frequently made way for his rhythm section -- upright bassist Rex Horan and drummer Evan Jenkins -- to carry the music forward with insistent plucking of the bass or the soft propulsion of brushes on drums. Cowley's economical melodies made the music all the more poignant.

On "Governance," big, block piano chords punctuated the air before giving way to sumptuous counterpoint in a quasi-classical style. The piece was a prime example of what seemed to be a cherished value of the trio: space -- the silence between notes. One of the most impressive things about Cowley and company was how comfortable they were in letting the compositions speak for themselves, without resorting to superfluous improvisations or solos that might be forgotten immediately after they were played.

PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER

As the set progressed, Cowley gradually revealed more of his piano chops. His melodies became more active and adventurous, and yet they were always perfectly nestled within the pocket provided by Horan and Jenkins. Compositionally, Cowley was frequently closer to minimalist legend Steve Reich and piano rock master Ben Folds -- with the repeated phrases and raucous, drum-heavy grooves, respectively -- than the likes of a Brad Mehldau. "The City and the Stars" was unapologetic and anthemic pop. Anyone in search of "traditional" jazz, by any standard, would likely have gone away disappointed.

I always gravitate to music that hits my ears with an immediacy that is both sweet and unexpected. I definitely felt the pull from the music of Neil Cowley Trio -- hard-hitting and atmospheric, subtle and unrelenting.

Neil Cowley Trio won't be performing again at XRIJF this year, but you can find the band at neilcowleytrio.com.

For a band hailing from Quebec, Durham County Poets can certainly evoke the Deep South, which is exactly what they did during the late set at The Little Theatre. "Grimshaw Road" was a kind of Mississippi blues by way of Canada. Elsewhere, the Poets imbued its song "Monday Morning" with bluesy charm, and "Chasing a Feeling" was a smooth blend of folk and jazz.

Stylistically, the quintet was impossible to box in. What was certain was the warm, "easy listening" vibe of the show. Frontman Kevin Harvey had the crowd in his palm from the outset, peppering in light-hearted stories and silly banter between songs. Harvey's voice had a homey, James Taylor-esque quality, but with a bit of an edge.

Admittedly, while the concert was entirely pleasant, I doubt I'll come away remembering any of Durham County Poets' original tunes. What I will remember, though, is a faithful, heartfelt rendition of The Band's classic song "The Weight."

Durham County Poets are done playing at this year's XRIJF. durhamcountypoets.com.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Jazz Fest 2017, Day 1: Frank reviews Barbra Lica, Joss Stone, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Posted By on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Barbra Lica played Max of Eastman Place on Friday night. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Barbra Lica played Max of Eastman Place on Friday night.

Well, the 16th edition of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival took off its clothes and did a cannonball. The energy in the thick arid air was surprisingly electric; a vibe this strong at Jazz Fests past usually didn't get this feverish so quickly. It must have been the battle for souls raging on two different stages last night ... but first let's take a look at the show I knew we'd all enjoy: a confection of a swingin' band and a swingin' ma'am, Barbra Lica.

It starts and ends with Lica's voice. It's a bright, vibrant contralto one minute, laconic and syrupy the next when she lets a phrase die on the vine and trail off. Lica's songs are little, self-deprecating vignettes about drunken first dates and finding an ex-lover on social media. She peppered her originals with some Duke Ellington ("Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'"), some Cole Porter ("Just One of Those Things"), and a version of "A Spoonful of Sugar" -- however, the way Lica pulled it off, light and airy and delivered at hyper speed, earns it the new title of "A Spoonful of Trucker Speed." Her band was tight and a vision of precision. Lica was charming through and through. Her voice was beautiful ... heart-breaking, really.

Barbra Lica will play again Saturday, June 24, at Montage Music Hall. 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $30, or you can use a Club Pass. barbralicamusic.com.

I'm convinced now more than ever that soul wants your soul. Soul music isn't for the betterment of your soul or to lift your spirits high; it wants you to feel it deep in the fissures of your fevered brain all the way down to your naughty parts. Me? Hell, I'm down with it and will go along willingly. I'm the devil in Miss Jones after all. And I witnessed the devil in Miss Stone with 1800 other lost souls in Kodak Hall to see Joss Stone.

Joss Stone headlined the first night of the 2017 XRIJF at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Joss Stone headlined the first night of the 2017 XRIJF at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Stone was a lot better than I'd heard in the past. Her voice tends to get a tad brassy when going for those notes way up high in the penthouse suite, but how many singers do you know can hum -- just hum -- a melody? Well, Stone did it early in her set, and she totally unglued me. The barefoot chanteuse had 'em all on their feet by the fourth song. The Burt Bacharach send up was excellent.

While Stone was stealin' our souls gently, St. Paul and The Broken Bones were doing it with heretical splendor and volume on the free East and Chestnut stage. Front man Paul Janeway intoned the opening lines in a chasuble before slinging it aside to reveal a red suit. The band was like a blast furnace with the horns punching and kicking dangerously to counter the non-stop wail of Janeway's howling pipes.

So there you have it, suckers; two ways to sell your soul. God damn us all. See you tomorrow night when I'll be digging on The Quebe Sisters at Harro East and Adam Wakefield at Anthology.

Paul Janeway led St. Paul and the Broken Bones during a free East Ave. and Chestnut St. stage show. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • Paul Janeway led St. Paul and the Broken Bones during a free East Ave. and Chestnut St. stage show.

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Jazz Fest 2017, Day 1: Daniel reviews Jacob Collier and Gwilym Simcock

Posted By on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Jacob Collier played Anthology Friday as part of the first night of XRIJF 2017. - PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER
  • Jacob Collier played Anthology Friday as part of the first night of XRIJF 2017.

English phenomenon Jacob Collier may be the most immensely talented musician I have ever seen live. As hyperbolic as that may sound, the proof was in the first of his two performances at Anthology on Friday.

The first thing I noticed about the live performance of the London-based multi-instrumentalist was his irrepressible energy. The 22-year-old literally jumped from keyboards to upright bass to drum set and back again, ingeniously utilizing looping techniques: the least gimmicky, most legitimate one-man band there could be.

Collier opened the set with two exquisite covers -- Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" and "Close To You" by Burt Bacharach -- establishing his soul and funk credentials early on. He then settled into one of his more popular original tunes, "Hideaway," which stripped away his typically virtuosic, if grandiose, instrumentation in favor of subtle fingerpicking on an acoustic guitar and the kind of sexy vocal acrobatics one heard from the late, legendary Jeff Buckley. Collier's reedy yet sensual baritone frequently leapt into a gorgeous, crystalline falsetto.

PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN FULLER

I also got the sense that this young prodigy could have excelled in virtually every conceivable genre. As they are, his compositions sound rather like the work of a jazzy Brian Wilson (indeed, Collier has an excellent version of The Beach Boys' "In My Room" in his repertoire).

But ultimately, it's clear that Collier is most interested in being himself, even when interpreting songs like George Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm," with which he closed the show. The Collier cover was sped up, highly kinetic, and infused with beat boxing that sounded entirely organic to the piece.

If you didn't get a chance to hear Jacob Collier, you should stop whatever it is you're doing right now and listen to his music. Seriously. I wouldn't at all be surprised if his performance turns out to be the highlight of the entire festival.

Jacob Collier won't perform again during this year's XRIJF. Check him out at jacobcollier.co.uk.

After Collier's spellbinding set, I made my way over to Christ Church, where a very different English jazz musician was performing. Pianist Gwilym Simcock played music that has a similarly undeniable groove, but here, there was something deeply and intangibly bluesy at work. Simcock dug into dense but accessible chords, laying beautifully vertiginous melodic lines on top of the rich harmonic framework.

An incredibly fluid piano player, Simcock immersed the listener in delectable phrases that seemed to have no beginning or end. As a composer, he was overflowing with ideas, and melodies bubbled over without ceasing. His music was easy to listen to without being simplistic. The result was jazz that was somehow both introspective and effervescent, which made for a highly enjoyable listening experience, especially amidst the acoustics of Christ Church.

Gwilym Simcock won't be playing again during this year's XRIJF. gwilymsimcock.com.

If the first day of this year's Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival was any indication, there are plenty of awe-inspiring performances to come.

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Jazz Fest 2017, Day 1: Ron reviews Roberta Picket, Yggdrasil, and Tierney Sutton

Posted By on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Roberta Piket began her set at Hatch Hall, Friday night, with a kind of call and response between her right hand and her left on the Steinway grand piano. The dialog ranged from sparse melodies answered by blunt chords to lush clusters answered by pounding bass. Eventually all of this morphed into "Monk's Dream," the first of many Thelonious Monk tunes to be played at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. It appeared to be a kind of warming up, getting those fingers -- and her sensibility -- ready for the marathon to come.

When the tune ended, Piket peeked into the piano to confirm what she'd suspected: "This is a first; I broke a string," she said. "It's the jazz version of Pete Townshend." Despite her phenomenal talent, Piket had a refreshingly down-to-earth rapport with the audience when she introduced compositions. Among them were a beautiful rendition of "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise"; lesser-known tunes by Marian McPartland; and works by her father, a (mostly) classical composer, and her husband, a jazz drummer. Every one was a tour-de-force.

Roberta Piket will not perform again during this year's XRIJF. robertajazz.com

Yggdrasil performed in the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Friday night. - PHOTO BY JOSH SAUNDERS
  • PHOTO BY JOSH SAUNDERS
  • Yggdrasil performed in the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Friday night.

The most unique attributes of the Nordic group Yggdrasil are the ethereal voice of the band's singer, Eivør, and the compositions of its leader, Kristian Blak. The highlight of the group's set at the Lutheran Church, Friday night, was Eivør's gorgeous vocals on Blak's musical interpretation of a Shakespearian sonnet.

Eivør's voice soared with effortless acrobatics reminiscent of Kate Bush, and on other tunes her vocal vocabulary extended to bird-like sounds and Björk-like gyrations. Dressed in black, topped with a red and white floor-length cape-like garment, Eivør had the presence of a blonde goddess, witch-like in the most positive way.

When she left the stage, the band was considerably less mystical, although the guitarist made interesting sounds with pedals and electronics, not to mention occasionally bowing his guitar.

Yggdrasil won't perform again during this year's XRIJF, but Eivør appears Saturday, June 24, with her own band at the Lutheran Church (7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.); and Blak performs on piano at Hatch Hall on Sunday, June 25 (5:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.). Those shows are $30, or you can use your Club Pass.

Early in her set at Kilbourn Hall, Tierney Sutton mentioned that her band had been together for 25 years. This is highly unusual in today's jazz world, and Sutton's band certainly had an unusually high level of simpatico as a result. Sutton herself is more than a singer; almost half of her contribution showcased the instrument that is her voice in seemingly effortless, wordless scat-singing.

Having recently recorded an album of songs associated with Sting, it was no surprise to hear her rendition of "Fields of Gold" and "Every Breath You Take." She introduced the latter as "the ultimate stalker song" but said she preferred to think of it as a song dealing with empty nesters who are happy that their kids are out on their own and are still concerned about them.

Sutton's set went far beyond Sting to the Miles Davis catalog, with Bill Evans' "Blue in Green" and three tunes from George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward's "Porgy and Bess." She also displayed her vocal dexterity on the impossibly complicated lyrics of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" and on her wonderfully creative rendition of Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg's "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead."

Tierney Sutton will not perform again during this year's XRIJF. tierneysutton.com.

Saturday night, I'm looking forward to hearing pianist Billy Childs at Kilbourn Hall, the Scandinavian singer Eivør at the Lutheran Church, and Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet at Xerox Auditorium.

Check out the slideshow below for shots of Yggdrasil's Friday night performance in the Lutheran Church.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Jazz Fest 2017: Music around the fest

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 4:00 AM

If the XRIJF's more than 320 shows isn't enough to quench your jazzy thirst, several other Rochester venues not affiliated with festival will host their own performances Friday, June 23, through Saturday, July 1. If you need a break from the Jazz Fest crowds, or want to catch one more show late night, keep an eye on Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Way), Joe Bean Coffee Roasters (1344 University Avenue), The Little Cafe (240 East Avenue), Downstairs Cabaret (20 Windsor Street), and Victoire (120 East Avenue).

Downstairs Cabaret will be extending its weekly Grove Place Jazz Project nights (usually every Tuesday) to both Fridays and Saturdays of the festival. 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.; tickets are $10. And Victoire doesn't have official schedule, but you can stop by the restaurant to see who's playing what.

Abilene Bar and Lounge

Friday, June 23

Grand Canyon Rescue Episode; 9:30 p.m.; free

Saturday, June 24

Tobey Village House Band with special guests The Crawdiddes; 8:30 p.m.; $15

(This performance will be "on the road" at The Penthouse at 1 East Avenue)

Dirty Blanket; 9:30 p.m.; free

Sunday, June 25

Bill Kirchen; 4 p.m.; $20-25

Ruckus Juice Jug Stompers; 8:30 p.m.; free

Monday, June 26

Folkfaces; 8:30 p.m.; Free

Tuesday, June 27

Marshall Crenshaw y Los Straitjackets; 9:30 p.m.; $25-30

(This performance will be "on the road" at The Penthouse at 1 East Avenue)

Miller & The Other Sinners; 9:30 p.m.; free

Wednesday, June 28

The Lustre Kings; 9:30 p.m.; Free

Thursday, June 29

The Fox Sisters; 9:30 p.m.; Free

Friday, June 30

The Genesee Revelers; 6 p.m.; Free

The Buffalo Brass Machine; 10 p.m.; free

Saturday, July 1

Meg Gehman & The Influence; 9:30 p.m.; Free



Joe Bean Roastery

Friday, June 23

Mark Kellogg; 8 p.m.; free

Saturday, June 24

Dave Kluge; 5 p.m.; free

Moses Rockwell; 9 p.m.; free

Sunday, June 25

Jon Seiger and the All-Stars; 5 p.m.; free

Monday, June 26

The Melissa Gardiner Jazz Trio; 5 p.m.; Free

Tuesday, June 27

Neighbor's Cat; 5 p.m.; free

(This performance will be "on the road" at The Penthouse at 1 East Avenue)

Tyrone Allen Electric Mind Traveler; 8 p.m.; free

Wednesday, June 28

Gibbs Street Quartet and Tyrone Allen II; 5 p.m.; Free

Thursday, June 29

Ryan Johnson; 8 p.m.; Free

Friday, June 30

Giganotosaurus Rex; 8 p.m.; Free

Saturday, July 1

The Saplings; 8 p.m.; Free



The Little Cafe

Tuesday, June 27

Sam Nitsch; 7 p.m.; free

Wednesday, June 28

Kinloch Nelson; 7 p.m.; free

Thursday, June 29

Big Blue House; 7 p.m.; Free

Friday, June 30

Trio East; 8 p.m.; Free

Saturday, July 1

Susana Rose and John Delmonico; 8 p.m.; Free

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jazz Fest 2017: What's FREE at the fest

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:00 AM

If you want to see live jazz but don't want to shell out the extra cash for a Club Pass, the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest will feature around 100 shows across the nine-day event that are free of charge. Everyone likes free stuff, though, so be sure to get there early -- good vibes are boundless, but space gets crowded.

To stay updated on all things relating to the Jazz Festival, visit rochesterjazz.com for the latest information. Also, check us out on Twitter @roccitynews as we make our way through the renowned Rochester summer highlight.

Venues

Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County (115 South Avenue)

City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage (Gibbs Street at East Avenue)

City of Rochester East Avenue & Chestnut Street Stage

Rochester Regional Health Big Tent (corner of Main Street and Gibbs)

City of Rochester Midtown Stage (corner of East Main Street and Andrew Langston Way)

Avangrid Foundation / RG&E Fusion Stage (corner of East Avenue & Chestnut Street)

Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside (120 East Main Street)

Friday, June 23

4:30 p.m. Harley School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. Hilton High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. ECMS Latin Jazz & Junior Jazz (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. Prime Time Brass (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7 p.m. The Steppin' Stones (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

7:30 p.m. Tim Woodson and The Heirs of Harmony (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. St. Paul and The Broken Bones (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

9:30 p.m. Tim Woodson and The Heirs of Harmony (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Soul'd Out with Karl Stabnau Quartet (Legends Sports Bar at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Saturday, June 24

3:45 p.m. Webster Thomas High School JazzBand (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m. Pittsford Sutherland High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. Honeoye Falls-Lima High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. 78RPM Big Band (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6 p.m. ECMS Jazz Combo with Bob Sneider & Mike Kaupa (Jazz Street Stage)

7 p.m. Early James (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

7:30 p.m. Al Chez and The Brothers of Funk (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. The Jerry Douglas Band (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

9:30 p.m. Al Chez and The Brothers of Funk (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Soul'd Out with Karl Stabnau Quartet (Legends Sports Bar at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Sunday, June 25

3:45 p.m. ECMS Vintage Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

4:30 p.m. Glenelg (Maryland) High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. Glenelg (Maryland) High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. ESM Jazz Honors Performance Unit 1 (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. Penfield Rotary BigBand (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7 p.m. Jimmie Highsmith Jr. (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m. Fred Costello (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. Jimmie Highsmith Jr. (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m. Fred Costello (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Monday, June 26

12 p.m. Katy Wright (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

4:30 p.m. Bloomfield High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. Canandaigua High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. Brockport Big Band (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6 p.m. ESM Jazz Honors Performance Unit 2 (Jazz Street Stage)

7 p.m. The Red Hot and Blue Band (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m. ESM-XRIJF Scholarships Concert with Jeff Campbell (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. The Red Hot and Blue Band (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m. ESM-XRIJF Scholarships Concert with Jeff Campbell (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Tuesday, June 27

12 p.m. Christian Crawford (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

4:30 p.m. Greece Athena High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. School of the Arts Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. New Horizons Big Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7 p.m. Vanishing Sun Band (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m. Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. Vanishing Sun Band (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m. Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Wednesday, June 28

12 p.m. Melissa Gardiner (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

4:30 p.m. Fairport High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. Eastridge High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. EYJO (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6 p.m. ESM-XRIJF Scholarships Alumni (Jazz Street Stage)

7 p.m. Chris Northington C-Note (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m. Music Educators Big Band (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. Chris Northington C-Note (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m. Music Educators Big Band (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Thursday, June 29

12 p.m. Ben Tiberio (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

1 p.m. Manuel Valera Jazz Workshop (Eastman School of Music Ray Wright Room)

4:30 p.m. Brockport High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. Spencerport High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. ECMS Saxology 1&2 Jazz Bones (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7 p.m. Noble Vibes (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

7:30 p.m. Soul Stew (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. Noble Vibes (Avangrid Foundation/RG&E Fusion Stage)

9:30 p.m. Soul Stew (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Friday, June 30

12 p.m. Jacob Dupre (Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

4:30 p.m. Greece Olympia High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. Gates-Chili High School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. Greece Jazz Band (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

6 p.m. ECMS Jazz Combo with Bob Sneider & Paul Hoffmann (Jazz Street Stage)

7 p.m. Toronto Community Soul Project (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

7:30 p.m. Down North (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. Caravan Palace (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

9:30 p.m. Down North (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Soul'd Out with Karl Stabnau Quartet (Legends Sports Bar at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

Saturday, July 1

4:30 p.m. Charles Finney School Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

5:15 p.m. MCC Jazz Band (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. ESM Jazz HonorsPerformance Unit 3 (Jazz Street Stage)

6 p.m. New Energy Jazz Orchestra (Rochester Regional Health Big Tent)

7 p.m. Danielle Ponder and The Tomorrow People (Midtown Stage)

7 p.m. Balkun Brothers (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

7:30 p.m. Toronto Community Soul Project (Jazz Street Stage)

9 p.m. The Hooligans: The Musicians of Bruno Mars (Midtown Stage)

9 p.m. Colin James (East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage)

9:30 p.m. Toronto Community Soul Project (Jazz Street Stage)

10:30 p.m. Jam Sessions -- Bob Sneider Trio (Ballroom at Radisson Rochester Riverside)

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Jazz Fest 2017: Meet the writers covering the XRIJF

Get to know Ron, Frank, and Daniel

Posted on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Ron Netsky

My real job is Chairman of the Art Department at Nazareth College and my main work is in the field of printmaking, but I love music and I've been writing about jazz for CITY since the 1990's. Late-June is one of my favorite times of the year, a chance to indulge in great jazz and much more for nine overflowing days at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

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My love of music can be traced to the people I grew up around. My uncle, Harold Karr, was a Broadway composer who wrote "Happy Hunting" for Ethel Merman. My younger brother, Hankus, is a jazz and Klezmer musician, and my twin brother, Steve, is a songwriter. Both of my brothers have had long careers in music and I have dabbled in it from time to time. In the late-1970's my brother Steve and I wrote the song "Love Don't Hurt People" for the great soul singer Cissy Houston.

I love all kinds of music, but while meandering around the many XRIJF venues, I tend to gravitate toward the sounds of hard-bop jazz. I'm especially looking forward to artists like saxophonist Miguel Zenon and his all-star group. I can't wait to hear pianists like Kenny Barron and George Cables playing Thelonious Monk tunes (4 by Monk by 4). But I also love hearing some of the more ethereal acts who play at the Lutheran Church, so Yggdrasil and Eivor are on my list. And there are some extraordinary singers returning to the festival, so I am looking forward to once again hearing Tessa Souter and Youn Sun Nah.

Frank De Blase

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For 15 years now, I have been writing, debating, analyzing, critiquing, and generally trying to put into words all the music that comes to Rochester for nine days every early summer. It's been 15 of the 18 years I've spent at CITY. I love turning readers on to something new -- hell, I enjoy turning myself on to something new. I love inciting debate, and rubbing elbows with those I can learn from is as tantamount as the smell, touch, and taste of the music.

There are artists I know you want to see, but there are a handful of must-sees, like new jazz iconoclasts Binker and Moses. Caravan Palace from Paris will be the first band to mix techno elements as part of its sound at the fest (so far as I can remember). Pianist Marcia Ball will polish the elephant teeth New Orleans-style. And you gotta dig when Jack Broadbent plays guitar on his lap with a flask as a slide. Oh, and did I mention the legendary Mavis Staples at Kodak Hall? That show will undoubtedly be the closest I'll get to being in a church.Can I get an Amen?

Guitarist Bill Frisell lets the music play him for a change; he's wildly unpredictable yet charming in his attack and worth the wait in line. He doesn't play a particular sound -- he harnesses tangible soundscapes. And I have a feeling, the last night's performance of The Hooligans, Bruno Mars' band, as well as show-opener Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People will be a rhythm and blues blow out.

And do you know who my favorite act is? I don't either. So stay tuned in and find out with me. I'll be soaking it up like a sponge with two ears and a camera and will be blogging about it here. Come on up and say hi or to start an argument. Just make sure you leave room for dessert.

Daniel J. Kushner

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I started listening to jazz early on -- and by early, I mean the womb. I'm told that Dave Brubeck was a staple for me in utero, and I'd like to think that this pre-birth musical experience helped prepare me for a lifetime of listening to the kinds of creative, intrepid artists I'll encounter at the 2017 XRIJF.

Having studied music at Roberts Wesleyan College and then arts journalism at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, I've long sought out music that delights and challenges me; sounds that satisfy my curiosity and defy my expectations. My sense is that this year's Jazz Festival will not disappoint in that regard.

I'll be spending most of my time at Christ Church and Lutheran Church of the Reformation for the "Made In The UK" and "Nordic Jazz Now" series, respectively. Both venues have consistently hosted Jazz Fest musicians who actively defy genre conventions while playing to their greatest compositional strengths.

The atmospheric Neil Cowley Trio; the smooth experimentalism of trumpeter Laura Jurd's project Dinosaur; Ole Mathisen's enigmatic, freewheeling tenor sax; and the synth-soaked avant-garde melange of Klabbes Bank; all promise the kind of forward-thinking approach to sound that gets me excited about the future of music.

Other festival highlights include opening night at Anthology, where English wunderkind Jacob Collier will perform. Collier filters his poppy, vocal-centric jazz through genius-level, groove-based orchestration. The hyper-talented 22-year-old may just prove himself to be the jazz savior of the YouTube generation.

I'm also looking forward to the return of Austrian trumpet player Mario Rom to XRIJF, who will bring his trio Interzone to the Little Theatre on Tuesday, June 27. Rom distills his virtuosic skill through an attitude of high-energy cool, and is sure to delight audiences much like he did in 2015.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

[Updated] Jazz Fest announces 2017 lineup

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 4:00 AM

With the headlining acts already announced, the Xerox Rochester International Festival’s bigwigs filled in the remaining blanks with the what’s what of who’s coming to town for the festival’s 16th edition. The 2017 XRIJF takes place Friday, June 23, through Saturday, July 1, in and around Rochester’s downtown.

There are a few past Jazz Fest favorites returning this year, like the lovely vocalist Tierney Sutton, this time interpreting the music of Sting; pianist Monty Alexander; stars of the Nordic Stage Yggdrasil; and the trombone-driven party gone out of bounds known as Bonerama.

Headlining shows at Kodak Hall include Joss Stone, Maceo Parker with the Ray Charles Orchestra, Postmodern Jukebox, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, and King Crimson. The Club Pass series this year offers more than 230 shows, and there are 95 free shows over the 9-day festival.

Like last year, you can save time in line for the early shows at Kilbourn Hall and Max of Eastman Place with the festival's wristband system. The shuttle bus will make its return (route will be announced in June). And here for at least one more year: Parcel 5 will again be the site for the City of Rochester Midtown stage, with two free shows on the festival's last night.

A few changes were announced as well: 2017 marks the return of The Lyric Theatre as a venue, and the nightly jam session will move to the Riverview Ballroom at the Radisson.

The 9-day Club Pass is available for $204, and a 3-day Club Pass is $154. Club Pass shows are $30-$35 cash at the door without the pass. New this year, Club Passes will also have a photo of the holder printed on them.

Headliner tickets, Club Passes, and the complete list of performers can be found at rochesterjazz.com.

Look for CITY’s annual Jazz Festival preview guide on stands June 14.


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