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Thursday, June 30 - Musician Bios 

Thursday, June 30

Calle Uno (Afro-Cuban jazz) If you like your Salsa hot and your Merengue sizzling, or you simply love to dance to an Afro-Cuban beat, Calle Uno is the band for you. With pungent horns riffs, polyrhythmic percussion, and dynamic singer Robert Navarro, Calle Uno is irresistible. (RN)

Chris Botti (Pop jazz) No matter who stands on stage with him, Chris Botti stands out and stands alone. The man has plugged a lot of talent on his Grammy Award-winning "Impressions," including Herbie Hancock, Andrea Bocelli, and Mark Knopfler in a celebration of classic balladry. Born in Portland, the young Botti was hooked on the horn after hearing Miles Davis play "My Funny Valentine." And he has received multiple Grammy nominations and awards including making "People" magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" list in 2004. (FD)

The Claudia Quintet (Progressive jazz) Since moving to New York in the early 1990's, drummer John Hollenbeck has gained a reputation for his composing and arranging. His group, The Claudia Quintet, plays Hollenbeck's avant-garde-leaning tunes and features top players such as Drew Gress on bass; Matt Moran on vibraphone; (Rochesterian) Red Wierenga, accordion; and Chris Speed, clarinet and saxophone. (RN)

Cortex (Norwegian jazz) From the sour to the sublime, Cortex serves up dissonance and harmony with the same fork. The music seduces you into a sense of comfort before driving the whole affair over the cliff. It's not free jazz per se, but the quartet flutters and swings with enough convention that the crazy parts are more palatable when they come around. Hold tight. (FD)

Dave Rivello Ensemble (Big Band jazz) Arranger-composer-director Dave Rivello brings the big band into the 21st century with unceasingly innovative, original music. Grammy-winning jazz orchestra director Maria Schneider has declared his writing "compelling and beautiful." Rivello's musical palette overflows with adventurous harmonies, recalling composers from Charles Mingus to Igor Stravinsky. And the group boasts some of Rochester's finest players. (RN)

Emefe (Avant cool) Have you ever heard a psychedelic Gregorian chant? Add a big 80's synthetic punch under the fab vocals and you've got a party with Emefe as the house band. It's the genius pop-o-plenty as done by artists like Devo or Oingo Boingo with the classic in-your-face irreverence of artists like MK Groove Orchestra. And brother, you gotta hear when this band lays on the horns. Weird, funky, and fun. They sound like New York. (FD)

Hannah Walpole (Jazz vocalist) They all list influences, but Miami-by-way-of-Rochester jazz singer Hannah Walpole mentioned one of my all-time faves, Julie London. I was hooked. And that would have sufficed, but then I heard her sing... Wow. (FD)

Harold Danko (Jazz) He's now professor of jazz studies & contemporary media at the Eastman School of Music, but Harold Danko spent years on the road with Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Lee Konitz, and was a featured player in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. "Tidal Breeze," a Danko original, has been recorded by both Baker and Konitz. (RN)

Jacky Terrasson (Jazz) Jacky Terrasson's compositional style may remind you more of Debussy than Monk. Terrasson grew up in Paris and came to the US to study at the Berklee College of Music. He won the Thelonious Monk piano competition in 1993. Betty Carter was so impressed, she asked him to join her road band immediately. (RN)

Jam sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Jazz) Every night, XRIJF musicians come off the stage fired up. They let off steam when they get back to the Holiday Inn, where the Bob Sneider Trio is deep into the nightly jam session. Sneider is a world-class jazz guitarist with top-notch support from Mike Melito on drums and Phil Flanigan on bass. Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, Chris Potter, and Eric Alexander are a tiny fraction of the stars who have sat in with the band. (RN)

Jamison Ross (Vocal jazz) Jamison Ross has a big voice that may remind you of Stevie Wonder. Making matters more interesting, Ross sings his songs of aspiration from behind the drum kit. In 2012, he won the Thelonious Monk Drum Competition and has gone on to play with Wynton Marsalis, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Snarky Puppy, and others. (RN)

Jeff Johnston and Friends (Cinematic composition) Juno Award nominee and composer Jeff Johnston is known in Canada for his documentary scores, including the cinematically dark work he scored on "When Women Kill." His innovative approach to texture and melody can be attributed to his beginnings as a jazz pianist. His work is moving and evocative and beautifully cinematic. (FD)

Lauren Sevian Quartet (Hard bop jazz) At the age of 16, baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian won the Count Basie Invitational soloing competition and began playing with the Count Basie Band. Since then she's taken her muscular sound to the stage with Christian McBride, Greg Osby, the Mingus Big Band, and many others. (RN)

Lenny White's Present Tense (Jazz fusion) Lenny White played on "Bitches Brew." Lenny White played on "Red Clay." You want more? As a member of Return to Forever, White is one of the architects of fusion. And he's won a Grammy ... twice. There. (FD)

Lleuwen Steffan (Singer-songwriter) This young lady hails from Wales with an angelic yet earthy voice over a bed of beautiful simplicity. And at times, a Gaelic complexity washes over when Steffan intones in the language Breton. Her songs sound like prayers. (FD)

Rai Thistlethwayte (Pop) Known in his adopted home, Los Angeles, as Sun Rai and in Australia as a key member of Thirsty Merc, Rai Thistlethwayte puts the stomp and boogie in contemporary pop. Smart, stylish sugary pop not unlike Prince or that Timberlake kid who brought sexy back. (FD)

Soul Stew (You name it) Though this Toronto powerhouse masterfully lays claim to virtually every genre there is, funky seems to rise to the top. A staple at the XRIJF, Soul Stew is the band to see if you wanna really get down. (FD)

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