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The Players: Friday, June 28 

Kansas Smitty's House Band |

5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage | (Straight-ahead jazz)

This band is the houseband for a club they own. Jazz justice, huh? According to John Nugent, the group's so popular you'll have a hard time getting a seat. The band bops steady with the vigor of the best this new generation has to offer. But it's the House Band's ability to play with a soulful stroll or in a frantic frenzy that makes all the difference. It'll make you flip your lid. (FD)

Bill Charlap |

5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall | (Straight-ahead jazz)

The son of legendary Broadway composer Moose Charlap and pop singer Sandy Stewart, Grammy-winning pianist Bill Charlap specializes in interpreting the Great American Songbook. Over the last two decades Charlap has used his formidable talent to pay homage to songwriters like Hoagy Carmichael, Jerome Kern, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin. (RN)

Spaga |

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (Progressive, piano-driven jazz)

This majestic, keys-centric outfit is the brainchild of Disco Biscuits main man Aron Magner. Spaga shifts gently, but the musicianship hits hard. The composition is inventive and endlessly melodic. There's plenty of pop smoothness to hold things together. It's big. (FD)

Matthew Whitaker |

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Montage Music Hall | (Straight-ahead jazz)

There is one common reaction to hearing the stunning technique and style of pianist Matthew Whitaker: Wow. And that's before you know that he's still a teenager. Born in 2001, Whitaker began playing a Yamaha keyboard at three. By nine he was learning the B-3 organ. Earlier this year, he won The Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award. (RN)

Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley |;

6 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Straight-ahead jazz)

With hits like "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," the great alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley led one of the top jazz groups of the 1950's and 1960's. Some of the best players on the scene today — trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, saxophonist Jim Snidero, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Billy Drummond — are celebrating his legacy, four decades after his death. (RN)

Greece Jazz Band |

6 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Big band jazz)

Since 1997, the Greece Jazz Band has been on the scene playing holiday concerts, summer festivals and a host of other community gigs. The all-volunteer group plays a variety of jazz orchestra charts and hosts workshops for students and the community at-large. (RN)

Bob Sneider's ECMS Jazz Performance Workshops |

6 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage | (Straight-ahead jazz)

The Eastman School of Music is a leading producer of graduates who go on to flourish in the jazz world. Rochester's own guitar giant Bob Sneider is leading these workshops. He toured with Chuck Mangione early in his career, and has played with almost every jazz luminary who has passed through town since then. (RN)

Sullivan Fortner Trio |

6:15 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Max of Eastman Place | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Sullivan Fortner emerged from New Orleans to become one of the most heralded pianists of recent years. Soon after winning the Cole Porter Fellowship in 2015, he won the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists. When not leading his own trio, he has lent his talents to Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis and Paul Simon, Roy Hargrove, and many others. (RN)

Durham County Poets |

6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (Folk, jazz-tinged roots music)

This Canadian band is all about maintaining an airtight blend. Stylistically, there are dashes of everything in its folk-blues-swing batter. The Poets return to Rochester yet again with subtle songcraft. But they know their way around a cover tune, too. I mean, I haven't heard a band wring more desperate sadness out of "St. James Infirmary" than these guys do. (FD)

Itamar Borochov Quartet |

6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Born in Jaffa, Israel, trumpeter Itamar Borochov grew up with a variety of Middle Eastern and North African musical influences. He plays in the tradition of the jazz masters he went on to study: Clark Terry, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, and others. But the music also resides at the fascinating intersection between traditional ethnic strains and modern jazz. (RN)

Catherine Russell |

7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater (Jazz vocals)

Catherine Russell is a Rochester jazz festival favorite. She's got a velvet voice, and she's shared it with such luminaries as David Bowie, Steely Dan, and Cyndi Lauper. She has appeared on over 200 recordings. If you haven't heard her live yet, you owe it to yourself to get to the gig. (FD)

Jimmie Highsmith Jr. |

7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid/RG&E/Barclay Damon Fusion Stage | (Smooth Jazz)

If smooth jazz is your cup of tea, no one plays it better than Grammy-nominated saxophonist Jimmie Highsmith Jr. After emerging from Rochester's Hochstein School of Music and School of the Arts, Highsmith enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and formed a jazz band to play USO events. Since then he's recorded nine albums as a leader. (RN)

The Suitcase Junket |

7 p.m.: City of Rochester Midtown Stage | (Folk, roots rock and blues)

This is a lo-fi, low-tuned, low-down blast of folk-blues for the end times. The Suitcase Junket — one-man-band Matt Lorenz — incants and intones like a cross between Hound Dog Taylor and a Tuvan throat singer who has swallowed a bird. Take the singer-songwriter idiom, give it a low-grade fever and a guitar, and this is what you get. Captivating, mesmerizing, and gone...real gone. (FD)

Nubya Garcia |

7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage | (Afro-jazz)

Nubya Garcia grew up in London playing a variety of instruments. After trying out the violin, piano and clarinet, she settled on the saxophone and has flourished ever since. With Caribbean parents, she absorbed a host of influences on the British jazz scene before coming up with her own distinctive style of Afro-infused, groove-oriented jazz. (RN)

Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet |

7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: Lutheran Church of the Reformation| (Straight-ahead jazz)

Dutch saxophonist Yuri Honing has a sonorous tone that he employs gorgeously in his melodic improvisations. Over the years he has covered tunes by unlikely artists like Björk and showcased his own compositions. Honing's excellent band mates — Wolfert Brederode on piano; Gulli Gudmundsson, bass and Joost Lijbaart, drums — are as cohesive a group of musicians as you will find. (RN)

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives |

8 p.m.: Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (country)

Part of Johnny Cash's posse, Marty Stuart is one of the last of the honky-tonk crooners. It's in his band's blood, too. The Fabulous Superlatives includes Earl Scruggs' grandson Chris on the upright bass. (FD)

Steve Miller Band |

8 p.m.: Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre | (Vintage, bluesy rock-pop)

You can call him Maurice, or the Gangster of Love, but just know that  Steve Miller grew up on the influence of family friends Les Paul and Mary Ford, as well as T-Bone Walker. Not to mention, he got a crash course in the blues when he moved to Chicago. As the source of hit songs such as "The Joker," "Rock'n Me," and "Fly Like an Eagle," Miller and his Strat are instantly recognizable. (FD)

Ron Artis II and The Truth |

8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Blues rock guitar, R&B)

Go to page for the band bio.

Allman Betts Band |

9 p.m.: City of Rochester Midtown Stage | (Southern rock)

I tell ya, it's in the blood with these guys, if their surnames are any indication. The sons of Dickey Betts and the Gregg Allman are joining forces and keeping their dads' legacy alive. Though there's something undeniably nostalgic about this pairing, the energy is fresh and the rock 'n' roll musicianship is polished. (FD)

Jam sessions led by Karl Stabnau & Bob Sneider

10:30 p.m.: The Street Craft Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Rochester (Jam )

See page for more information.

In This Guide...

  • Jazz Fest Guide: Three thoughts for the 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival

    The 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is here, and with it, a whirlwind of concerts by national, international, and local musicians. It can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned jazz fest fan.

  • Festival Information

    Everything you need to know about tickets, venues, parking, and how to connect with us to make the most of your Jazz Festival experience.

  • Feature: Sasha Berliner Quintet

    When 20-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner received the call, letting her know that she'd won the 2019 LetterOne RISING STARS Jazz Award, she couldn't believe it. "It was a surreal moment," Berliner says.

  • The Players: Friday, June 21

    Teagan and the Tweeds | 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion - Squeezers Stage (Bluesy rock 'n' roll)

  • Profile: Dawn Thomson's Imagine That

    When digging on an artist of two or more disciplines, you have to wonder which one dominates in that artist's heart and head. Dawn Thomson plays it slick and sweet on the guitar.

  • The Players: Saturday, June 22

    Ambassadors Jazztet | 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Straight-ahead jazz)

  • Interview: The Honey Smugglers

    Blame it on love. Rochester's The Honey Smugglers is here because it's frontman, Brian MacDonald, fell in love.

  • The Players: Sunday, June 23

    Zion Hill Mass Choir 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Gospel)

  • Interview: The Willows

    The voices of Krista Deady, Andrea Gregario and Lauren Pedersen are spun gold, blended so well that they come across as one three-tiered voice. The trio known as The Willows makes other vocalists sound like Edith Bunker.

  • The Players: Tuesday, June 25

    Soul Passenger | 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Rock)

  • The Players: Monday, June 24

    Fred Costello | 4:30 p.m.| M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (B-3 organ jazz)

  • Profile: Harold Mabern

    When Harold Mabern was growing up in Memphis, he had no ambition to become a jazz pianist. "I didn't choose it; it chose me," says Mabern, a self-taught musician.

  • Feature: Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra

    When you're known for being chased by dinosaurs and being turning into a giant fly, it's inevitable that you'll have to do the rounds: going on press junkets, shaking babies, kissing hands, and hocking your latest wares -- in this case, a jazz recording. Jeff Goldblum, the actor and Hollywood bon vivant found himself on the Graham Norton Show about a year ago, doing the standard media song-and-dance for the movie "Thor Ragnarok."

  • The Players: Wednesday, June 26

    Herb Smith Freedom Trio | 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Straight-ahead jazz)

  • Feature: George Coleman Quartet

    In the early 1960's, after saxophonist George Coleman had earned his way to the top of the jazz world playing with Booker Little, Max Roach and Slide Hampton, he was tapped by Miles Davis to play in one of the greatest quintets in the history of jazz. Coleman recorded four seminal albums with Davis: "Seven Steps to Heaven," "My Funny Valentine, "Four," and "Miles Davis In Europe."

  • The Players: Thursday, June 27

    The Buddhahood | 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Jam-band, world music)

  • Profile: Bill Charlap

    You might say pianist Bill Charlap was born to play standards. His father, Moose Charlap, was a Broadway composer best known for his iconic musical "Peter Pan."

  • Interview: Cha Wa

    The music of New Orleans band Cha Wa is a party in itself, a joyful collision of brass band music, funk, soul, and Mardi Gras Indian music and culture. The group is led by singer J'Wan Boudreaux and drummer Joe Gelini, both of whom learned from the preeminent musician Monk Boudreaux, Big Chief of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe Golden Eagles and J'Wan's grandfather.

  • The Players: Saturday, June 29

    Acoustic Alchemy | 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage | (Smooth jazz)

  • Jazz Fest 2019: CITY's Daily Jazz Blogs

    The 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival runs from Friday, June 21, through Saturday, June 29, and CITY Newspaper will be out every night of the festival, covering multiple shows. Check back each day for reviews, photos and video of each nights festivities.

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