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2019 FESTIVAL GUIDE


THE 2019 CGI ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL

FESTIVAL TICKETS & VENUES KODAK HALL AT EASTMAN THEATRE SERIES Headliner shows are held in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs Street). These are ticketed shows; a Club Pass doesn’t work here. Tickets, which range from $34 to $161 (plus service charges), are available through the Jazz Festival website (rochesterjazz.com) or by calling 585-454-2060.

CLUB PASS SERIES

A Club Pass is your ticket to the Club Series: you can go to as many concerts as you’d like at 12 smaller clubs and venues (listed below). The Jazz Festival has two Club Pass options: a threeday pass, which allows access to concerts on any three days of your choice during the festival, and the traditional nine-day pass. And new this year, the festival created “shareable” and “personal” three-day and nine-day passes for various prices. The “personal” passes are sold out (but hey, that means if you now buy a Club Pass, you can share it). Three-day passes are $194, plus service charges. The full nine-day Club Pass costs $254, plus service charges, and almost always sells out in advance of the festival. If you don’t have one, you can still buy tickets ($30-$35) to the individual Club Pass concerts at the door, if space is available. Cash only. Be advised that Club Pass shows tend to sell out on a first-come, first-served basis; even if you have a Pass, you should get there early. The Jazz Festival is again using a wristband system at Kilbourn Hall and Max 2 CITY

JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 — SATURDAY, JUNE 29 of Eastman Place. Starting two hours before Kilbourn Hall’s 6 p.m. show and Max of Eastman Place’s 6:15 p.m. performance, Club Pass holders and those paying in cash at the door can line up for color-coded wristbands that will specify return times for their show. Patrons can then leave, wander the festival, and come back at their designated time to enter the venue. You must be present in line to receive a wristband. And seating is still first-come, first-served.

CLUB PASS VENUES Christ Church Made in the UK Series (141 East Avenue) Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage (75 Woodbury Boulevard) Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage (75 Woodbury Boulevard) Hatch Recital Hall at Eastman School of Music (433 East Main Street) Kilbourn Hall at Eastman School of Music (26 Gibbs Street) Lutheran Church of the Reformation Nordic & Euro Jazz Now Series (111 North Chestnut Street) Max of Eastman Place (25 Gibbs Street) The Montage Music Hall (50 Chestnut Street) M&T Pavilion - Squeezers Stage (Parcel 5 on East Main Street, between Cortland Street and Andrew Langston Way) Rochester Regional Health Big Tent (corner of East Main and Gibbs streets) Temple Building Theater (50 Liberty Pole Way) The Wilder Room (120 East Avenue)


FREE VENUES

Avangrid Foundation / RG&E / Barclay Damon Fusion Stage (corner of East Avenue & Chestnut Street) Free shows June 24-28 Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County (115 South Avenue) Free shows June 24-28 City of Rochester East Avenue & Chestnut Street Stage Free shows June 21-22 City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage (Gibbs Street at East Avenue) Free music daily City of Rochester Midtown Stage (Parcel 5 on East Main Street, between Cortland Street and Andrew Langston Way) Free show June 28-29 Eastman School of Music – Ray Wright Room (26 Gibbs Street) Free workshops June 24-28 M&T Pavilion - Squeezers Stage Parcel 5 on East Main Street, between Cortland Street and Andrew Langston Way Free shows daily at 4:30 p.m. Rochester Regional Health Big Tent (corner of Main Street and Gibbs) Free shows daily at 6 p.m. The Street Craft Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt (125 East Main Street) Free jam sessions every night, hosted by Karl Stabnau and Bob Sneider. All jam sessions start at 10:30 p.m.

PARKING

Parking for all East End venues can be found in the East End parking garage at the corner of Scio Street and East Avenue. Additional parking can be found in the Washington Square Garage (111 Woodbury Boulevard) and the NYSUT lot (30 North Union Street). Daily parking at the East End and Washington Square Garages costs $7 per car; the NYSUT lot is free. Also be on the lookout for street parking or spots in surface lots throughout the neighborhood. You can also find parking at the Sister Cities Garage (28 North Fitzhugh Street), Midtown Garage (270 East Broad Street, entrance on Clinton Avenue or Broad Street), and the South Avenue Garage (39 Stone Street). Those garages are $2 per hour, up to $10 max. For further details and specific street closings, visit WRIJF’s website (rochesterjazz.com).

INSIDE: FRIDAY, JUNE 21 FEATURE: Sasha Berliner Quintet

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SATURDAY, JUNE 22 PROFILE: Dawn Thomas

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SUNDAY, JUNE 23 12 INTERVIEW: The Honey Smugglers MONDAY, JUNE 24 INTERVIEW: The Willows

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TUESDAY, JUNE 25 PROFILE: Harold Mabern

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26 FEATURE: Jeff Goldblum

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THURSDAY, JUNE 27 FEATURE: George Coleman

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FRIDAY, JUNE 28 PROFILE: Bill Charlap

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SATURDAY, JUNE 29 INTERVIEW: Cha Wa

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VENUE GRID

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LINER NOTES (FD) = Frank De Blase, Music writer

This is Frank's 17th year covering the Jazz Festival. His wheelhouse is rock and Americana bands, jazzy vocalists,and everything in between. (RN) = Ron Netsky, Music writer

This is Ron's 17th year covering the Jazz Festival. His focus is mainly on straight-ahead and progressive jazz. (DK) = Daniel J. Kushner, Music editor

ADDITIONAL INFO

The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival’s official website is rochesterjazz.com. You can also visit the Jazz Ticket Shop and Info Center on the corner of East Avenue and Gibbs Street, open daily during the festival, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Jazz Fest also has a mobile app for both Apple and Android phones. It includes a full schedule, venue and artist lists, maps, and an option to buy tickets online. Find the download button on the Jazz Fest website’s homepage or through the app store. For additional Jazz Fest info, check out rochestercitynewspaper.com to get the online version of this guide, plus our daily Jazz Blog. CITY’s critics will offer up their reviews of the previous night’s concerts, and you can post your own thoughts in the comments section. We’ll also be posting photos, videos, and more. New blogs will be up by 8 a.m. each morning of the festival. We’ll also post updates on our Facebook page (facebook. com/CityNewspaper) and on Twitter and Instagram (@roccitynews).

This is Daniel's 5th year covering the Jazz Festival, and his first year as editor. His ear leans toward avant-garde artists and genre bending bands.

CITY NEWSPAPER 250 N. Goodman Street Rochester, NY 14607 585-244-3329 Publishers: Rochester Area Media Partners, Norm Silverstein, chairman. William and Mary Anna Towler, founders Editorial department themail@rochester-citynews.com Music editor: Daniel J. Kushner Contributing writers: Frank De Blase, Ron Netsky Editorial interns: Efua Agyare-Kumi, Jessica Pavia Art department artdept@rochester-citynews.com Art director/production manager: Ryan Williamson Designers: Renée Heininger, Jacob Walsh Advertising department ads@rochester-citynews.com New sales development: Betsy Matthews Sales representatives: Tracey Mykins, David White, William Towler Operations/Circulation kstathis@rochester-citynews.com Business manager: Angela Scardinale Circulation manager: Katherine Stathis Jazz Festival Guide 2019 is published by Rochester Area Media Partners, a subsidiary of WXXI Public Broadcasting. 2019 - all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system without permission of the copyright owner. PRODUCED BY CITY NEWSPAPER Read this publication online at: ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM or download a PDF of it to your tablet or mobile device at: ISSUU.COM/ROCCITYNEWS PHOTOS COURTESY CGI ROCHESTER

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#JAZZCITY ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM

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F E AT U R E | B Y R O N N E T S K Y

SASHA BERLINER QUINTET MAX OF EASTMAN PLACE, 6:15 P.M. & 10 P.M. hen 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. “It seemed too good to be true. I thought, I hope I’m not being scammed. But it was real and it’s another incentive for me to work harder. I just want to make the most of all of it.” Berliner had good reason to be shocked. The contest drew entries from 230 aspiring jazz musicians. After narrowing the field to 20, the judges — a record producer, a jazz journalist, the director of the Montreal Jazz Festival, and vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater — selected her. The prize includes a sevencity North American tour, including the Rochester and Montreal jazz festivals, and a year of career promotion. Before winning the award, Berliner was already turning heads. After hearing her play, one of the most acclaimed multiinstrumentalists in jazz, Tyshawn Sorey, asked her to join his sextet. “I’ve learned so much from being in his band,” Berliner says. “He’s a hero to me.” Growing up in San Francisco, Berliner began on the drums. But when she

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JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

auditioned for Oakland School of the Arts, there were better drummers. She was offered admission on the condition that she study vibraphone. Her first major influence was Gary Burton, whose grip and style were introduced to her by her teacher. “I loved all of his stuff,” says Berliner. “He was one of the first people to do what he did on the vibraphone.” Practicing several hours a day has given her a command of the instrument, but there are still challenges. “It’s definitely one of the most difficult instruments in terms of moving around it,” Berliner says. “It’s more specific than drums because you’re hitting specific notes. And it’s a big instrument. One thing I’m always jealous of with Joe Locke or Gary Burton: they’re really tall. They can see the whole keyboard, no problem.” Adding to the challenges are pedals: “You have a foot on the sustain pedal ready to go, and you need to figure out how to navigate your other foot,” Berliner says. If that’s not enough, there’s the fourmallet technique. “Four mallets is definitely more difficult because it’s harder to control dynamics, especially loud dynamics,” she explains. “You

can get blisters. It requires an additional level of awareness and multitasking.” That does not deter her from using four mallets on her composition “Mallards and Sea Turtles: For Neel Foon.” Written for a classmate who died, “It really creates an atmosphere verses just musical notes,” she says. Another original piece demonstrates Berliner’s need to express her ideas through music. “Between the World and Me” was written after she read the book of the same name by Ta-Nehisi Coates. “I was having a lot of thoughts about what it means in today’s world to be a white person playing black American music and approaching these issues of discrimination that exist now: racial discrimination, sexual discrimination,” Berliner says. “It’s not in explicit forms anymore,” she says. “There’s a lot of nuance and intersectional factors. It’s very complicated and it’s not stressed enough. The book really touched on that. The reality of what’s happening in America — gun violence, police brutality — I wanted to communicate my emotions about that in a piece.”


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THE PLAYERS FRIDAY, JUNE 21 Teagan and the Tweeds | teaganandthetweeds.com

4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion - Squeezers Stage (Bluesy rock ‘n’ roll)

These Rochester jazz fest veterans deliver straight-up barroom-brawlin,’ beer-and-a-shot rock music at its finest Teagan Ward sings soulful, salty, and salacious as her band occupies that coveted in-the-pocket groove and tone. It’s gonna be good. (FD)

is a specialty of the Canadian song stylist. Barlow also sings jazz standards and interprets them with style and an occasional venture into vocalese. (RN) Laura Dubin Trio plays ‘West Side Story’ |

lauradubin.com 6 p.m.& 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Rochester’s own Laura Dubin is a fine composer, but when she sits down at the piano, she often explores themes and interprets the compositions of others. At this year’s festival, Leonard Bernstein’s brilliant “West Side Story” score is bound to provide a rich harmonic palette for Dubin’s soaring keyboard flights. She’ll be joined by drummer Antonio Guerrero and double bassist Danny Ziemann. (RN) Jennifer Hartswick & Nicholas Cassarino |

jenniferhartswick.com; nicholascassarino.com | 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Montage Music Hall | (Soul-jazz) Jake Shimabukuro | jakeshimabukuro.com

5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center Wilson Stage (Ukulele virtuoso)

Here is a living breathing music box. Jake Shimabukuro takes you on skyward journey with the trills and thrills of his otherwise demure instrument. It’ll be raining jaws as they hit the floor. Just magical. (FD) Janice Friedman | janicefriedman.com

5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music| (Straight-ahead jazz)

Whether she’s playing a jazz standard by Gershwin or a pop classic by Lennon and McCartney, pianist Janice Friedman makes it her own. Her pianist mother raised her on the music of keyboard greats. After earning a degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University, and a stint on the road with the Woody Herman Orchestra, Friedman launched her own keyboard career. (RN) Emilie-Claire Barlow | emilieclairebarlow.com

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

Two-time Juno Award-winner Emilie-Claire Barlow is such a strong jazz singer, she can transform Sonny & Cher’s “The Beat Goes On” into a jazz classic. Taking just about any pop song you can think of and making it swing 6 CITY

JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

An original member of the Trey Anastasio Band, trumpeter and vocalist Jennifer Hartswick has stunning depth. Her voice rides above Nicholas Cassarino’s nouveau jazz guitar as it floats around and within the overall strain. The result is both funky and smooth. (FD) All In Brass Band | allinmusic.org

6 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (New Orleans/ marching band)

With Big Easy splendor and ease, paired with big band flexible portability, All in Brass Band is all in your face. It features students and mentors creating its brassy blast. (FD) Sasha Berliner Quintet | sashaberlinermusic.com 6:15 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Max of Eastman Place | (Straight-ahead jazz)

See page 4 for more information. Western Centuries | westerncenturies.com 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center Fielding Stage | (Country)

With a big bang and an even bigger twang, Western Centuries plays country right. The quintet draws from diverse southern influences like Appalachian folk and cajun tunes, with a honky-tonk drive and some renegade spirit tossed in, à la The Flying Burrito Brothers. Though the members are spread across the nation, coast to coast, the quintet comes Scootin’-on-a-sawdust floor kinda stuff. (FD)


Leo Richardson Quartet |

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

After graduating from London’s prestigious Trinity College of Music, saxophonist Leo Richardson joined the top ranks of British jazz musicians. With a style reminiscent of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, Richardson has played with a variety of artists in recent years, including Gregory Porter, TLC, The Temptations, and Maxi Priest. (RN) Bonerama | boneramabrass.com 7 p.m.: City of Rochester East Avenue & Chestnut Street Stage | (Trombone-driven funk)

Crushing like a Panzer used as a paperweight, Bonerama’s music is heavy, but the band’s stage show is fun and light-hearted. The band’s new album is a collection of Zeppelin tunes that grooves as hard as it rocks. Bonerama is for listeners who like it brassy and sassy. (FD) SNJO plays ‘Peter and the Wolf’ | snjo.co.uk 7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater | (Classical-jazz fusion)

What would it sound like if top jazz players in a great big band played a swinging rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”? You can find out when the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra takes on the classic composition. Conductor Tommy Smith — a long-time jazz festival favorite on saxophone — reinterprets Prokofiev in an arrangement worthy of Duke Ellington. (RN) Richie Goods | richiegoods.com 7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: M&T Pavilion - Squeezers Stage | (Jazz fusion bass)

It’s commonly called an electric bass, but Richie Goods will remind you in no uncertain terms that it’s a bass guitar. In other words, this guy plays the bass like Eric Clapton plays the guitar. It’s no wonder he’s been tapped by stars ranging from Milt Jackson to Alicia Keys. Popping and slapping and picking out funky riffs, Goods is as good as it gets. (RN)

also goes right to the brink of the cutting edge. It’s avant-garde and you can dance to it. Fronted by two excellent saxophonists, Girls in Airports has taken its unique, dream-like blend of music to stages around the world. (RN)

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Jazz Ambassadors | armyfieldband.com/about/

ensembles/jazz-ambassadors 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage | (Straight-ahead jazz)

They may be in uniform, but there is nothing uniform about the Jazz Ambassadors. Part of the United States Army Field Band, the sextet consists of musicians who would be soloing beautifully on stage, whether they enlisted or not. Formed in the spirit of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, the group focuses on established jazz tunes and originals by band members. (RN) Steve Gadd Band | drstevegadd.com 8 p.m.: Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre | (Jazz fusion)

He’s legendary and he’s one of our own. Drummer Steve Gadd made his name as a studio star on hits by Paul Simon, Steely Dan, and Chick Corea, and as go-to timekeeper on tour for artists such as Eric Clapton. Gadd is a must-see artist in his prime. (FD)

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Scott Sharrard | scottsharrard.com

8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Rock and blues guitar)

When Scott Sharrard played here last as the late Greg Allman’s lead guitarist and band leader, it was hard to keep eyes and ears off of Sharrard. He mixed in deftly with the master without crowding him. This time he’s gonna do it sans Allman. First-rate guitar hero stuff. (FD) Downchild Blues Band feat. Dan Aykroyd | downchild.com 9 p.m.: City of Rochester East Avenue & Chestnut Street Stage (Blues)

Celebrating 50 years of the big and beautiful blues with big-band sis boom bah and jukejoint vibes, Donnie “Mr. “Downchild” Walsh and the rest of the band are the reason we have the Blues Brothers. They’re one of the reasons I like the blues. Elwood is gonna be there, too. (FD) Jam sessions led by Karl Stabnau & Bob Sneider

Every night at 10:30 p.m.: The Street Craft Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Rochester | (Jam) Girls in Airports | girlsinairports.net 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: Lutheran Church of the Reformation | (Progressive jazz)

The five-man group Girls in Airports has an uncanny ability to play infectious music that

These nightly jazz fest jam sessions are a tradition around here. But nothing’s rote or scripted here. Expect impromptu performances from featured festival artists and plenty of intriguing collaborations. (DK) rochestercitynewspaper.com

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SATURDAY JUNE 22

PROFILE | BY FRANK DE BLASE

DAWN THOMSON’S IMAGINE THAT THE WILDER ROOM 6 P.M. & 10 P.M.

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hen 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 music soars. It positively floats. But a coupla clicks north and you’ll hear her voice. Now, it’s not the bop or rebop you’d expect to come out. It’s more of a songwriter’s take on melody, in which the words carry their own weight equally. Thomson’s voice seems devoid of any overt influence. It’s as beautiful and impactful as it is thoughtful. Thomson cites songwriters such as Joni Mitchell as inspiration, but has also been attracted to older jazz. “I loved Billie Holiday -— she kind of drew me in,” Thomson says. “And then when I started getting more serious with guitar at college, I started getting serious about all the guitar players, and listening to the whole history and lineage of jazz guitar.” Amid all this guitar infatuation, Thomson was singing, too. Since her early teens, singing has been key to her self-expression. The Rochester-based musician was born in Nebraska and grew up in Montreal. Her parents weren’t musicians, but they had an avid appreciation, frequently listening to music at home. The musical torch was really lit by Thomson’s older sister, who was a jazz musician and composer, concentrating on piano and flute. It wasn’t long before Thomson acquired a taste for the stage and, as a teenager, began performing with her sister in cities like Toronto and Montreal. Thomson and her husband, saxophonist and Jazz Fest capo dei capi John Nugent, moved to NYC in 1993 where she started playing more gigs, meeting other musicians, and touring extensively. She says taking the stage with Nugent is something that shines bright despite their disparate modes of operation. Thomson explains why it works. “Well, we have a lot of respect between us,” she says. “We have always enjoyed playing with each other actually. But we are different in the way we approach music. I’m kind of at it all the time. John is a very gifted musician, he practices in his head a lot of the time.” Thomson has six albums to her credit. She is currently touring as a supporting band member for drummer Matt Wilson’s “Honey and Salt.” And though Thomson loves the challenges and freedom this outfit affords, she’s got her eyes fixed on the horizon, honing her band leader licks and chops. “It just feels so great to play with that band,” she says. “It feels like you can take chances, walk that edge, and still be comfortable. I like playing with other musicians, but I also like the idea of just me and the guitar.”

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THE PLAYERS SATURDAY, JUNE 22 Ambassadors Jazztet | armyfieldband.com/

about/ensembles/jazz-ambassadors 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Straight-ahead jazz)

This small ensemble features members of the Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band. See the Jazz Ambassadors bio on page 7 for more details. (DK) Brecker plays Rovatti | randybrecker.com 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Randy Brecker has been one of the top trumpeters on the scene ever since The Brecker Brothers burned up the jazz charts in the 1970’s. On a recent album, he and his band explored the tunes of saxophonist and composer Ada Rovatti. Brecker did not have to go too far to find the tunes — he’s married to Rovatti. (RN)

Curtis Fuller, Jackie McLean, Chuck Mangione, Wynton Marsalis and dozens more, all of whom were mentored by Blakey. The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra Sextet, operating under a similar mentorship principle, pays homage to Blakey. (RN) 78 RPM Big Band | 78rpmband.com 6 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Big band, straight-ahead jazz)

The roots of this 16-member ensemble from Dansville began in 1973 as an Oktoberfest band. Since then, the group has evolved, honing in on classic jazz and pop tunes. Performing frequently throughout upstate New York, 78 RPM adds to their repertoire with vocal tunes as well as instrumentals. (DK)

Peter Johnstone & Tommy Smith |

jazzfromscotland.com/artists/peter-johnstone; tommysmith.scot | 5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music| (Straightahead jazz)

Peter Johnstone studied classical piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before winning the BBC Young Scottish Musician of the Year in 2012. Founder and saxophonist Tommy Smith leads the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and has shared the stage with Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette and others. After working together in a variety of groups, their musical relationship is nothing less than symbiotic. (RN) Jake Shimabukuro | jakeshimabukuro.com

6 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Ukulele virtuoso)

See page 6 for more details. Dawn Thomson’s Imagine That

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (Jazzy singer-songwriter)

See page 8 for more details. Celebrating Art Blakey with the SNJO Sextet

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

Starting in the early 1950’s and lasting into the 1980’s, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers were one of the great doorways to jazz stardom. The band’s alumni include 10 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

Steven Taetz | steventaetz.com 6:15 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Max of Eastman Place | (Cabaret vocals)

Steven Taetz is an anachronism, and I mean that in the most positive way. He’s not only a smooth jazz singer in the tradition of Bing Crosby, Bobby Short and Mel Tormé, he’s also a composer who writes in the style of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. Taetz’s Toronto-based band is comprised of musicians equally immersed in the genre. (RN) Kevin Gordon | kevingordon.net

6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (Americana, roots rock)

When Kevin Gordon isn’t wailing on his guitar with its thick sonic sauce, he’s grinding out savvy, poetic songs for others, such as Keith Richards and Lucinda Williams. Gordon is a master lyricist, and his voice has a backwoods-burnished charm to it. Don’t just listen to what he’s playing, listen to what he’s saying. (FD)


Empirical | empiricalmusic.com 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Modern jazz)

Don’t let the buttoned down look of Empirical fool you: These guys can get down with the best of them. Starting humbly with a “Pop-up Jazz Lounge” in the London Underground, Empirical has proceeded to garner awards and take that “lounge” across Europe. The line-up features Nathaniel Facey on alto sax, double bassist Tom Farmer, Lewis Wright on vibraphone, and drummer Shaney Forbes. (RN) Bill Frisell Trio | billfrisell.com 7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Over the past four decades, seemingly no guitarist has explored more genres indepth than Bill Frisell. He’s a top, go-to player for straight-ahead jazz, he’s known for his gorgeous reinvention of Americana tunes, and he always seems on the edge of the avant-garde. Whatever style he’s playing, Frisell brings his ability to integrate electronics as if loops were as timeless as the guitar itself. (RN) The Subdudes | subdudes.com 7 p.m.: City of Rochester East Avenue & Chestnut Street Stage | (New Orleans roots rock)

The Subdudes ain’t got a drummer. Instead the quartet has a tambourine to tenaciously beat on. The band’s still dangerous, but the funk isn’t so spine-bendingly deep. I swear I’ve heard cowbell in there, too. More please. (FD) Scott Sharrard | scottsharrard.com 7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Rock and blues guitar)

Find more information on page 7. Bonerama | boneramabrass.com

7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage | (Trombone-driven funk)

See the bio on page 7. Gilad Hekselman | giladhekselman.com 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: Lutheran Church of the Reformation | (Modern jazz)

There is a new breed of post-Pat Metheny guitarists who create gorgeous textures to go with beautiful melodies. Gilad Hekselman — who has collaborated with Christian McBride, Anat Cohen and Danilo Perez — is one of the best. Since arriving in New York from Israel in 2004, Hekselman has created a sound all his own, masterfully constructing wondrous sonic dreamscapes with his guitar. (RN)

Patti LaBelle | pattilabelle.com 8 p.m.: Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre | (R&B)

In this world of self-appointed divas drowning in auto-tune, Patti LaBelle still endures. It’s nice to know someone’s out there keeping it honest. With an engaging blend of pop and R&B, LaBelle is a crossover artist of sorts. In addition to releasing seemingly countless albums, she’s also written several cookbooks. Bring your appetite. (FD) Empire Strikes Brass | empirestrikesbrass.com

8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Brass-driven funk rock)

This Asheville, North Carolina band’s music is colorful and controlled chaos. But the group doesn’t dig too deep, allowing for big gulps of air between the beats. Empire Strikes Brass plays party music with plenty of groove and a touch of jazz. The force is strong in this one. (FD) Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes |

southsidejohnny.com 9 p.m.: City of Rochester East Avenue & Chestnut Street | (Blue-eyed soul)

This is what happens when mom and dad have T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner blastin’ on the hi-fi. Since 1975 and for most of his 70 years strollin’ on the planet, Jersey’s Southside Johnny has slugged it out in juke joints around the world. Though not as famous as New Jersey’s other favorite son, Southside Johnny is the better singer. He’s boss. (FD)

rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 11


SUNDAY JUNE 23

INTERVIEW | BY FRANK DE BLASE

THE HONEY SMUGGLERS AVANGRID FOUNDATION / RG&E / BARCLAY DAMON FUSION STAGE 7 P.M. & 9 P.M.

B TUNE IN EVERY WEEKDAY AT 8:45 A.M., TUNE IN TO WXXI AM1370 AND FM 88.5 TO GET A PREVIEW OF WHAT’S HAPPENING THAT DAY WITH BETH ADAMS, JULIA FIGUERAS AND DANIEL KUSHNER.

12 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

lame it on love. Rochester’s The Honey Smugglers is here because it’s frontman, Brian MacDonald, fell in love. He fell in love with the mandolin; he fell in love with bluegrass. He put those two loves together and started writing songs. These songs had an unpolished beauty, a tangible warmth that most bands in and around this genre don’t possess. But when MacDonald, on mandolin and vocals, put these compositions in the capable hands of The Honey Smugglers - violinist Zak Lijewski, Joe Dellaria on guitar and vocals, bassist Stephen Burke,

mandolinist-guitarist Scott Calpin, and drummer Dylan Niver - it rounded out the edges and gave it a less-jittery jump. MacDonald and Lijewski popped in to CITY Newspaper HQ to discuss honey smuggling. An edited transcript follows.

CITY: But you didn’t play an instrument?

Brian MacDonald: I started writing music in 2012. I picked up a mandolin in a little music store when I was in the Appalachian Mountain region. Then I saw a band called Cabinet, a jamgrass type of band from Pennsylvania, and I really just fell in love with the style. I hadn’t heard too much of it beforehand.

So you were unfettered by previous knowledge?

No. I’d never played a stringed instrument before. With mandolin, I could pick out the chords. It was a lot easier on my hands to make chords and it just stuck with me. So I started writing these songs.

Exactly. How did the band come about?

I moved back to Rochester - I’m originally from Penfield.I saw through Facebook that my friend Joe Dellaria, from Funknut, was working with Herb Heinz and Matt Ramerman. They were doing their Pro Jam and Joe was part of


that. I showed him my songs and it just sort of took off from there. We slowly started building it up. We didn’t push it. We wanted to find the right people for these songs. I think there was some worth behind the songs, and at that point it was just a matter of finding the right people who wanted to be a part of it.

yourself in a town full of amazing musicians is to have your own original music, your own words.

That way we feel like we’re making an impact together

How long was it until the band was solidified?

Zak Lijewski: It’s always been a struggle to

It happened rather quickly. I’d say within the first year together, we decided to record our first album. The band came together as a six-piece. What do you do and how do you do it?

All original, too. Covers don’t work for you?

I never really saw myself as a musician being out there. Playing other people’s music wouldn’t resonate with anybody. The way to present

There never has been a specific approach. It’s always been diplomatic. We want to showcase what we all bring to the table and serve the songs the best way we can.

Gonna hit the road? MacDonald: The goal has never been to be

a full-time touring band with The Honey Smugglers. It’s not what we set out to do. More importantly, our goal is to just connect with people, the music, the energy, the atmosphere. That’s our goal, and if it stays in Rochester, we’re happy with that. We’re not trying to blow people’s minds, we want to bring people together.

explain what our music is, what genre is it under. Our instrumentation puts us in the folkAmericana genre, but we haven’t pushed it to sound like this or sound like that. We may look like a bluegrass band but one of us comes from a classical background; our guitar player comes from a funk background; our bass player is more into indie rock stuff; I’ve been a jam band and classic rock fan for most of my life.

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Zion Hill Mass Choir

Penfield Rotary Big Band

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

6 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Big band, straight-ahead jazz)

Under the joyous swagger and baton of choir director Paul Boutte, the Zion Hill Mass Choir is the gospel equivalent to a Sherman Tank with salvation on it’s mind. Soulful and powerful to the max. Get saved, get down. (FD)

The Penfield Rotary Big Band,also known as “The Starlight Orchestra,” boasts a swingin’ sense of nostalgia. This local group of pros and semi-pros revisits the sound of a bygone era in jazz, and it does so with great precision and blend. (DK)

Over the Rhine | overtherhine.com 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage | (Folk)

Ohio’s Over The Rhine will give your chills the chills. It’ll make your tears cry. OTR singer Karin Bergquist and her soulful chanteuse vibe are to be thanked - or blamed - for this. The sound is sweet, and the musicianship from Bergquist and fellow multi-instrumentalist Linford Detweiler is on point. This band will change you. (FD) Bill Dobbins | esm.rochester.edu/faculty/dobbins_bill

Your Art Coming Soon

Where does

live?

5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Over the decades, Eastman School of Music professor Bill Dobbins has earned a reputation as a top big-band director. In Europe, he conducted the WDR Big Band and Metropole Orchestra before returning to Rochester to direct the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Eastman Studio Orchestra. But Dobbins is also a superb pianist who has collaborated with Clark Terry, Phil Woods and others. (RN) Jared Schonig & Friends | jaredschonig.com 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (Straight-ahead jazz)

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14 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

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Drummer Jared Schonig is a co-leader of the highly-acclaimed group, The Wee Trio, but that’s just the tip of the musical iceberg. Since graduating from the Eastman School of Music in 2005, Schonig has enhanced the music of Nicholas Payton, Fred Hersch, Cynthia Erivo, Joe Locke, Kurt Elling and many more. (RN) Steven Taetz | steventaetz.com

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.:The Montage Music Hall | (Cabaret vocals)

Go to page 10 for more information.

Stefon Harris and Blackout | stefonharris.com

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

When it comes to playing the vibraphone, Stefon Harris has been at or near the top of the DownBeat Critics Poll for two decades. Last year, he won the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award. Before breaking out as a leader, Harris was enlisted by the biggest names in jazz, playing or recording with Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Diana Krall, and many more. (RN) Scott Robinson Quartet |

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

Not many players can pick up a trumpet and a saxophone in quick succession and play gorgeous solos on each. Did I mention the mellophone? Scott Robinson plays instruments you never knew existed. Over the years, his unique talents have taken him to the stage with artists as diverse as Lionel Hampton. Joe Lovano, Anthony Braxton, Sting, and Elton John. (RN)


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6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (Progressive bluegrass)

Straight outta Tennessee, Circus No. 9 gives conventional bluegrass a swift kick in the pants. The band employs bluegrass weaponry, but not its picking patterns and whir. It’s modern music, acoustically rendered. Its fresh, it’s new. (FD) Kit Downes | kitdownes.com

6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Progressive jazz)

One of the leading keyboard players on the British scene, Kit Downes began his career as a church organics. Now a recording artist from the prestigious ECM label, Downes takes the organ and other keyboards on wild rides, ranging from ambient soundscapes to more spritely compositions. (RN) Campbell Brothers | campbellbrothers.us

based in New York City since 2001. But don’t listen for Norwegian strains in his playing. Impossible to classify, Gulbrandsen is a great rock fusion player when he’s not playing country or squeezing the most out of a ballad. (RN) Russell Scarbrough Soul Jazz Big Band |

facebook.com/russellscarbroughbigband 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., Jazz Street Stage | (Big band jazz)

Big bands are not just for jazz standards when the baton is in the hands of Russell Scarbrough. You might hear tunes by Ray Charles, Van Morrison, and other composers from a variety of genres. Scarbrough’s innovative arrangements use all of the big band’s colors in a refreshing way. Adding to the attraction, this 12-piece jazz orchestra boasts some of Rochester’s finest musicians. (RN)

7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Pedal-steel gospel)

Michael Winograd & the Honorable Mentshn | michaelwinograd.net

Their souls may belong to Jesus, but their hearts belong to the good people of Rochester. Pedal steel guitar player Chuck Campbell was raised in the House of God church, where the “sacred steel” phenomenon was born. Backed up by his family, Campbell truly makes his instrument talk with high-octane riffs. (FD)

8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional health Big Tent | (Klezmer)

The Honey Smugglers | facebook.com/

honeysmugglers 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid foundation / RG&E / Barclay Damon Fusion Stage | (Jamgrass)

Check out page 12 for an interview with the band. Jostein Gulbrandsen | jostein-g.com

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

If there is a faster, more dexterous guitarist than Jostein Gulbrandsen, I haven’t heard him. Originally from Norway, he has been

Michael Winograd and his band will have you knock you out with their spirited brand of klezmer music. Giving jazz a decidedly Eastern European feel, Winograd is haunting on the clarinet. The sound is like a dreamscape of vowels, like the human voice without consonants. You can practically hear the sentences form in your mind. He’s talking to you. (FD)

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MONDAY JUNE 24

THE WILLOWS INTERVIEW | BY FRANK DE BLASE

T

MONDAY, JUNE 24 MAX OF EASTMAN PLACE 6:15 P.M. & 10 P.M. TUESDAY, JUNE 25 THE MONTAGE MUSIC HALL 6 P.M. & 10 P.M.

he 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. It’s simply beautiful as the group goes at its classic jazz with mucho swing. We tracked down the band on the road to ask a few questions. Krista Deady fielded the inquiry. An edited transcript follows. CITY: Give me a little history of the group. Krista Deady: The three of us met

around the age of six in our hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. We were all enrolled at the same ballet school, where we studied rigorously for more than 10 years. The three of us moved to Toronto in 2008 to pursue our dance studies at Ryerson University, and the rest as they say, is history.

How long have you been singing together?

We started singing together in 2009 when the three of us were roommates in university. The catalyst for us was a musical theatre class we were all enrolled in, where we discovered our ability to harmonize with each other and perform songs as a group. Perfectly arranged and choreographed, too. 16 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

How do you make three-part harmony sound like four- part harmony?

We write our songs and arrange our voices to weave around one another, making it seem like there may be a tricky little fourth voice in there. Our musicians always add so much color to our harmonies as well, giving our sound a sense of depth and dimension.

Who are some obvious influences?

The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beach Boys, Billie Holiday. Who are some not-so-obvious influences?

James Taylor, Queen, Jamie Cullum, The Eagles. What’s something you haven’t done yet, but want to?

We would love to perform with a full orchestra.

What do you call what you do?

Jazzy-pop with a nostalgic charm.

What part of your act do fans particularly identify with?

Do you still dance?

We find that our fans really appreciate witnessing our deeply rooted friendship shine through in our live show. It’s hard to explain in words how it affects our music, but we really do feel at home together on stage, and having years of friendship seems to give us a sense of sincerity and comfort while performing. Our listeners seem to enjoy the intricate harmonies, and like to feel like they are stepping into an old world through new eyes.

We still include lots of movement in our performances, as it’s woven into our roots and into everything we do. Movement and music, for us, can’t live without one another. Is the vintage tinge in your overall sound intentional, or something that manifests naturally?

Right from the early days of The Willows, we were really drawn to the tight harmonies of various musicians of the past. It’s been a natural manifestation in our music, and it’s something that now defines our sound as a group. All of our original music has elements of that vintage sound. However, we aim to keep things fresh and current with our own take on melodies, harmonies, and instrumentation.


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CONCERT TIMES & VENUES

FRIDAY - JUNE 21

SATURDAY - JUNE 22

KODAK HALL AT EASTMAN THEATER 60 GIBBS ST. | SHOWS @ 8PM

STEVE GADD BAND

PATTI LABELLE

KILBOURN HALL 26 GIBBS ST. | SHOWS @ 6PM & 9PM

EMILIE-CLAIRE BARLOW

JAKE SHIMABUKURO

STEFON HARRIS & BLACKOUT

MAX OF EASTMAN PLACE

SASHA BERLINER QUINTET

STEVEN TAETZ

SCOTT ROBINSON QUARTET

LEO RICHARDSON QUARTET

EMPIRICAL

KIT DOWNES

ENEM

CELEBRATING ART BLAKEY WITH THE

STEVEN TAETZ

PAA KO

25 GIBBS ST. | SHOWS @ 6:15PM & 10PM

CHRIST CHURCH

141 EAST AVE. | SHOWS @ 6:45PM & 8:45PM

THE MONTAGE MUSIC HALL

50 CHESTNUT ST. | SHOWS @ 6PM & 10PM

JENNIFER HARTSWICK & NICK CASSARINO

SNJO SEXTET

SUNDAY - JUNE 23

MONDAY - JU

RIJF - E SCHOLAR NIGH

BRIA SKONBE

THE WILL

GREG HUMPHR ELECTRIC

GEVA THEATRE - FIELDING STAGE

WESTERN CENTURIES

KEVIN GORDON TRIO

HATCH RECITAL HALL

JANICE FRIEDMAN

PETER JOHNSTONE & TOMMY SMITH

BILL DOBBINS

LUTHERAN CHURCH

GIRLS IN AIRPORTS

GILAD HEKSELMAN

JOSTEIN GULDBRANSON

KARI IKO TRIO

GEVA THEATRE - WILSON STAGE

JAKE SHIMABUKURO

BRECKER PLAYS ROVATTI

OVER THE RHINE

CYRO BAPTISTA

THE WILDER ROOM

LAURA DUBIN TRIO

DAWN THOMPSON’S IMAGINE THAT

JARED SCHONIG

ANDREA K & BILL BRE

THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL JAZZ ORCHESTRA

BILL FRISELL TRIO

75 WOODBURY BLVD. | SHOWS @ 6:30PM & 8:30PM

433 E. MAIN ST. | SHOWS @ 5:45PM & 7:45PM

111 N. CHESTNUT ST. | SHOWS @ 7:30PM & 9:30PM

75 WOODBURY BLVD. | SHOWS @ 5:30PM & 7:30PM

120 EAST AVE. | SHOWS @ 6PM & 10PM

TEMPLE BUILDING THEATER

50 LIBERTY POLE WAY | SHOWS @ 7PM & 9:15PM

PLAYS WEST SIDE STORY

CIRCUS NO. 9

ADAM B EZRA

THE YELLOWJA

SQUEEZERS STAGE @ M&T PAVILION PARCEL 5

4:30 PM

TEAGAN & THE TWEEDS

AMBASSADORS JAZZTET

ZION HILL GOSPEL CHOIR

7:00 PM & 8:45 PM

RICHIE GOODS

SCOTT SHARRARD

THE CAMPBELL BROTHERS

ROCHESTER REGIONAL BIG TENT MAIN ST. & GIBBS

4:30 PM

ALL IN BRASS BAND

78 RPM BIG BAND

PENFIELD ROTARY BIG BAND

BROCKPORT BI

8:30 PM & 10:00 PM

SCOTT SHARRARD

EMPIRE STRIKES MICHAEL WINOGRAD & THE HONORABLE MENTSHN BRASS

DJAB

18 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

FRED COST

DELVON LA ORGAN T


UNE 24

ESM RSHIP HT

TUESDAY - JUNE 25

WEDNESDAY - JUNE 26

THURSDAY - JUNE 27

FRIDAY - JUNE 28

MARC COHN

JEFF GOLDBLUM

GEORGE BENSON

+ SPECIAL GEUSTS MARTY STUART & THE FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES

& THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA

& THE MILDRED SNITZER ORCHESTRA

NAT KING COLE AT 100 WITH

A ERG

LIONEL LOUEKE PAUL MARINARO & RAUL MIDON

LOWS

AUDREY OCHOA

HAROLD MABERN TRIO

GEORGE COLEMAN QUARTET

SATURDAY - JUNE 29

STEVE MILLER

JUBILATION!

CELEBRATING CANNONBALL ADDERLEY

KANSAS SMITTY’S HOUSE BAND ANDREA BRANCHFELD & INSIGHT

JOHN FEDCHOCK NY SEXTET

SULLIVAN FORTNER TRIO

CHRISTINE TOBIN

TRISH CLOWES MY IRIS

IAN SHAW

ELDA TRIO

ITAMAR BOROCHOV QUARTET

THE WILLOWS

TAMAR KORN & KORNUCOPIA

VERONICA SWIFT

MATTHEW WHITAKER

SISTERS EUCLID

ADAM BEN EZRA

VILRAY

DURHAM COUNTY POETS

JON STICKLEY TRIO

HAROLD MABERN

HAROLD DANKO

AMANDA ANNE PLATT & THE HONEYCUTTERS GARY VERSACE & SCOTT ROBINSON

BILL CHARLAP

SULLIVAN FORTNER

ONEN O

MIKKEL PLOUG TRIO

THOMAS BACKMAN

DH’S RANDOM CONTROL

YURI HONING QUARTET

TUOMO UUSITALO QUARTET

O A TRIO

VICKIKRISTINABARCELONA

VINCENT PEIRANI

JOHN PIZZARELLI TRIO

KANSAS SMITY’S HOUSE BAND

ACOUSTIC ALCHEMY

KOZIOL ENNAN

DAVE GLASSER QUARTET

UNDER ONE SUN

HEATHER BAMBRICK

SPAGA

GENE PERLA QUARTET

E ACKETS

OZMOSYS

KANDACE SPRINGS

PAUL MCCANDLESS

CATHERINE RUSSELL

JOEY DEFRANCESCO TRIO

TELLO

SOUL PASSENGERS

HERB SMITH FREEDOM TRIO

THE BUDDAHOOD

AMARR TRIO

ROOSEVELT COLLIER

SHAMARR ALLEN & THE UNDERDAWGS

RON ARTIS II & THE TRUTH

ROC METRO JAZZ ORCHESTRA

PRIME TIME BRASS BAND

SYNDICATE JAZZ BAND

GREECE JAZZ BAND

NEW ENERGY JAZZ ORCHESTRA

ROB TARDIK

ROOSEVELT COLLIER

PARIS_MONSTER

RON ARTIS II & THE TRUTH

THE KLICK

MY

OW

G REY’S TRIO

BEN A

IG BAND

BE

& CHARGED PARTICLES

rochestercitynewspaper.com City 19


THE PLAYERS

CYRO BAPTISTA

MONDAY, JUNE 24 Fred Costello | fredcostello.com

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

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Fred Costello may be best known as a sports organiStreet And indeed, he is so sought after in that role that he has turned down the Yankees, the Mets and several other major league teams. But when he’s not in the stadium, the man can also swing. Over the decades, he’s played with Slide Hampton, Doc Severinsen, Bobby Darrin and many, many more. (RN) Cyro Baptista | cyrobaptista.com

5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage | (World percussion)

You don’t know percussion until you’ve seen Cyro Baptista. He plays an array of Brazilian instruments that are beyond imagination — things like metal pipes that sing. And when he puts down the instruments, he plays his hands and his mouth while electronics build layers behind his singing. He’s brought his magic to the work of Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma, Herbie Hancock and many others. (RN) Adam Ben Ezra | adambenezra.com

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5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall | (World music, double bass)

You’ve no doubt heard of Flamenco guitar, but have you ever heard of Flamenco bass? Meet Adam Ben Ezra. His combination of tapping percussion, strumming, sliding, harmonics and virtuosic playing transform his upright bass into an orchestra. A YouTube sensation, Ben Ezra has been enlisted by stars like Victor Wooten, Richard Bona and Pat Metheny. (RN) Bria Skonberg | briaskonberg.com

6 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Jazz trumpet and vocals)

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joints. Vocalist Andrea Koziol and pianist Bill Brennan make a big sound full of quieter moments throughout, with balladry that is sensitive and sultry. They call it sweet and salty jazz. So will you. (FD) Paa Kow | paakowmusic.com 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Montage Music Hall (Drum-centric jazz, world music)

Like a lot of drummers before him, Ghanaian drummer Paa Kow used to build things to beat on: in this case, metal cans covered with fertilizer bags and a drum pedal fashioned out of an old hinge. He’s had several equipment upgrades since then, though his drumming is still free-flowing, in the spirit of those Rube Goldberg days. Articulated by a pinpoint band, Paa Kow’s music is joyful, with plenty of brassy panache. He calls it Afro-Fusion. (FD) The Willows | thewillowstrio.com 6:15 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Max of Eastman Place (Vocal jazz)

Go to page 16 for an interview with the trio’s Krista Deady. Greg Humphreys Electric Trio |

greghumphreys.com 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (Rockin’ funk and soul)

Led by Dillon Fence frontman Greg Humphreys, this trio applies some eclectic electric guitar as an underpinning to Humpherys’ blue-eyed soul. In one big swirl of energy, the band jams a bit but the classic angle keeps it rooted. (FD) Enemy | enemytrio.bandcamp.com 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Progressive jazz)

Here comes the new generation of jazz, with its eyes on the horizon.Originally from British Columbia, the New York City-based musician Bria Skonberg has been quoted as saying, “I play jazz because it’s the closest I can get to flying.” The blend between her precise voice and the clarion call of her horn is extraordinary. (FD)

Bass, piano and drums are three instruments totally distinct from each other. But when bassist Frans Petter Eldh, pianist Kit Downes, and drummer James Maddren play, it’s as if they are all parts of the same swinging organism. After creating a stir in England, Enemy is spreading it’s brand of musical simpatico to distant shores. (RN)

Andrea Koziol and Bill Brennan |

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio |

andreaandbill.com 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room (Vocal jazz)

delvonlamarrorgantrio.com 7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage (Heavy jazz organ)

This duo is known around the Toronto jazz

In-your-face never sounded so good. Seattle’s Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio is on a mission to break the shackles of conventional organ jazz. Their search has turned up some pure rockin’ drive, groove, and roll here. (FD) Yellowjackets | yellowjackets.com

7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater | (Smooth jazz)

With saxophonist Bob Mintzer, keyboard wizard Russell Ferrante, drummer William Kennedy and bassist Dane Alderson, Yellowjackets has been one of the premier acts in the smooth jazz firmament for four decades. While the term “smooth” sometimes connotes easy listening, these guys are the real thing — excellent musicians who attract a wide swath of listeners. (RN) Sonidos Unidos | facebook.com/ SonidosUnidosMusic 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid foundation/ RG&E / Barclay Damon Fusion Stage | (Latin, jazz fusion)

This nine-piece ensemble from right here in Rochester will have you dancing in no time, with their particular brand of Latin-infused jazz. Adept at numerous dance music styles, from salsa and merengue to bachata and kizomba, this group has a suave, fun flow. (DK) Kari Ikonen | karikonen.com

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

In 2013, keyboardist Kari Ikonen won the Yrjö award — Finnish Jazz Musician of the Year — for his extraordinary mastery and imaginative use of piano, Fender Rhodes and Moog


synthesizer. Ikonen has toured the world, playing with greats like Lee Konitz and Ra Kalam Bob Moses. Ikonen’s adventurous trio features Finnish jazz artists Olli Rantala on bass and Markku Ounaskari on drums. (RN) The Aquaducks | theaquaducks.com

7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage (Jam band)

Nashville is home to these funky jamsters, but the music is so much more than just that Nashvegas twang. Featuring the vocals of Cavanaugh Mims, this is the perfect band for outside venues and bare feet. (FD) Djabe | djabe.hu/en

8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Big Tent | (World music)

In the African Ashanti language, the word “djabe” means freedom, and Djabe is the leading jazz fusion band of Hungary. If that seems like a non sequitur, consider it an indication of the true spirit of world music. Filled with lush textures and appealing melodies, Djabe’s music combines elements of jazz and Hungarian folk tunes. (RN)

rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 21


TUESDAY JUNE 25

HAROLD MABERN

TUNE IN AROUND 10:30 A.M. WEEKDAYS ON WRUR-FM 88.5, JEFF SPEVAK AND OPEN TUNINGS HOST SCOTT REGAN MAKE SLEEP-DEPRIVED OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE PREVIOUS NIGHT AND WHAT'S COMING UP NEXT.

P R O F I L E | BY R O N N E T S KY

hen 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. “I don’t know anything about Chopin. I never studied piano. It’s a God-given talent.” Many of the homes in his neighborhood had pianos, and one day he heard a young girl playing a song on the black keys called “I Stuck My Dolly in the Mud.” Mabern learned it, and soon moved well beyond those black keys. Those humble beginnings led to one of the greatest careers as a sideman in jazz history. Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Lee Morgan - Mabern worked with all of them, and many more. After playing on the Memphis scene as a teenager, Mabern left to attend a conservatory in Chicago, where his TUESDAY, JUNE 25 sister lived. “But when I got there the money HATCH RECITAL HALL AT was tight,” Mabern EASTMAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC says. “My sister said, 5:45 P.M. & 7:45 P.M. ‘You might as well stay here and see what you WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26 can do,’ and that’s the HAROLD MABERN TRIO best thing that ever happened ’cause this MAX OF EASTMAN PLACE music comes from the 6:15 P.M. & 10 P.M. university of the street.”

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22 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

In Chicago, the music was happening 24/7 and the musicians were supportive of the young pianist. He credits Bill Lee, filmmaker Spike Lee’s father, as a mentor. “He was one of the greatest all-round geniuses ever,” Mabern says. “I hung out with him and picked his brain, and that’s how I was able to understand the music world. When I left Memphis, I knew maybe 10 songs; when I left Chicago, I knew 500.” Chicago players revered the Great American Songbook, so Mabern studied orchestrations like Nelson Riddle’s arrangements on Frank Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours.” Mabern taught himself to read music and write arrangements. Over the next several decades, Mabern played with a who’s who of the jazz world: among them, saxophonists Hank Mobley, George Coleman and Jackie McLean; trumpeters Davis, Morgan, Blue Mitchell, and Freddie Hubbard; and guitarists Montgomery, George Benson and Pat Martino. “No offense to Herbie Hancock, Chick and Keith, but I came up with the greatest musicians of all time,” Mabern says. He also took part in some of the greatest jazz recording sessions in history. Even at the time, he knew it. “I felt it was history,” Mabern says. “There was so much camaraderie among the musicians even though, unfortunately, some of them were strung out on drugs. But it didn’t affect their musicianship.”

One of his favorite albums from that time is Lee Morgan’s “The Gigolo,” because it’s the only documentation of Mabern playing with Wayne Shorter. “Lee Morgan was so supportive of me,” says Mabern. “He treated me like a brother. Lee was a true trumpet genius. That’s why Miles loved him. They were the most charismatic trumpet players - hip without trying to be hip.” Mabern made albums as a leader in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but for long periods of time he was strictly a sideman. “I’m not interested in being a leader,” Mabern says. “I like to be a sideman and shine through from the background.” But in recent years, Mabern has recorded as a leader, and he has expanded the songbook to include tunes like Norah Jones’s “Don’t Know Why” and Steely Dan’s “Do It Again.” “I always like to have something on the record for the people,” Mabern says. “A lot of guys, especially the young piano players, they go out with these charts that they can’t figure out, the folks can’t figure out. You’ve got to entertain like Cannonball did: ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.’ ”


THE PLAYERS

music ranges from jazz to Latin, with traces of rock, punk and ska, and Ochoa can make that modern-day sackbut swing. (RN)

TUESDAY, JUNE 25 Soul Passenger | soulpassenger.com

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

The Aquaducks | theaquaducks.com

7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid foundation/ RG&E / Barclay Damon Fusion Stage (Jam band)

For more details, go to the bio on page 21.

VICKIKRISTINABARCELONA

Yeah, I know it says soul in its moniker, but the band is more of a rock passenger. This quartet brings considerable heat with its mixed set of originals and covers. And it’s what it draws out of its own compositions that makes the band truly shines. (FD)

Bill Tiberio Band | billtiberioband.com

7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage | (Smooth jazz, funk)

With decades of teaching and leading various ensembles at Fairport High School, Bill Tiberio is highly respected for his work in music education. But he’s also a first-call saxophone player with a funky, honking sound reminiscent of Maceo Parker. Over the years, Tiberio has shared the stage with Fred Wesley, Lou Gramm, The Temptations, The Four Tops and more. (RN)

VickiKristinaBarcelona |

vickikristinabarcelonaband.com 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage | (Jazz-lounge)

These three harmonious gals play the music of Tom Waits exclusively. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: covering Waits is like wrestling an alligator. If you win, you’ve got some cool new shoes. If you lose, you’re dead. (FD) Harold Mabern | haroldmabern.jazzgiants.net 5:45 p.m. &7:45 p.m., Hatch Recital Hall | (Straight-ahead jazz)

A profile on Harold Mabern can be found on page 22. ‘Nat King Cole at 100’ with Paul Marinaro | paulmarinaro.com 6 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music (Vocal jazz)

I know what you’re thinkin’. You’re saying to yourself, “Sure he’s got a lot of press, but Chicago-based singer Paul Marinaro can’t be that good.” But the debonair Marinaro’s proof is in the material he selects, and his charismatic croon goes a long way. This time around, he interprets the music of Nat King Cole, who would have been 100 this year. (FD) Dave Glasser Quartet | daveglasser.com

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (Straightahead jazz)

Alto saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Glasser has performed with some of the greatest players in jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, and Barry Harris. He’s also worked extensively with jazz legend Clark Terry. As a leader, Glasser keeps the bebop tradition alive with a sound that recalls the melodic shaping of Paul Desmond and the gorgeous tone of Stan Getz. (RN)

need to be religious to pick up what the man is putting down. His intense and fiery steel-playing is tempered by his band’s innate sense of jam, creating a rockin’ and righteous groove. (FD)

Mikkel Ploug Trio | mikkelploug.com

7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: Lutheran Church of the Reformation | (Modern jazz) The Willows | thewillowstrio.com

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Montage Music Hall | (Vocal jazz)

Adam Ben Ezra | adambenezra.com

6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (World music, double bass)

Go to page 16 for an interview with the trio’s Krista Deady.

For an artist bio, go to page 20.

New Horizons Big Band directed by Priscilla Todd Brown

Trish Clowes My Iris | trishclowes.com/my-iris 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Modern jazz)

esm.rochester.edu/community/course/newhorizons-big-band 6 p.m.: Jazz Street Stage | (Big band jazz)

Rochester Metro | rocjazz.com

Trish Clowes doesn’t just play the saxophone, she reinvents it. Every composition has a distinct mood, fully exploiting the instrument’s possibilities. Clowes has won awards for her compositions, including one from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors. Her superb band — guitarist Chris Montague, keyboardist Ross Stanley and drummer James Maddren — is right out there with her on that gorgeous wavelength. (RN)

6 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Big band, straight-ahead jazz)

Ozmosys | ozmosysband.com

Using the Count Basie Orchestra as a model, the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra got its start just over 20 years ago and hasn’t looked back. Led by trumpeter BJ Comer, the orchestra is predominantly an amateur ensemble, performing both vocal and instrumental numbers in an effort to foster a love of music within the community. (DK)

If you just look at this quartet’s collective pedigree, it’s clear that Ozmosys is nothing short of a supergroup. The band’s members have played with a truly impressive slate of musicians, including Miles Davis, Sting, David Bowie, Wayne Shorter, and Kate Bush. Told ya. (FD)

Directed by oboist Priscilla Todd Brown — who has toured and recorded with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops — the New Horizons Big Band is a small ensemble consisting of seasoned musicians. The group specializes in music from the halcyon years of the Big Band Era. (RN)

Audrey Ochoa | audreyochoa.com

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

Trombone doesn’t always get a lot of attention, even in jazz. But rest assured, Audrey Ochoa gives it plenty of play. Her

7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater | (Modern jazz)

Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug has an expansive musical vocabulary, incorporating blues, jazz and rock along with other world-wide influences. Over the years Ploug has lent his talents to a variety of artists, including Mark Turner, Loren Stillman, Bill McHenry and Theo Bleckmann. It’s not surprising to find he’s been a featured soloist with The Royal Ballet in Copenhagen. (RN) Marc Cohn with The Blind Boys of Alabama |

marccohnmusic.com; blindboys.com 8 p.m.: Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre | (Singer-songwriter, soul)

Possessing a smoky baritone, Marc Cohn has always struck me as a soul singer without the stock soul trappings that cloud the message for some artists. He’s ramped up the soul for this tour by having The Blind Boys of Alabama by his side. (FD) Rob Tardik | robtardik.com 8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent (Smooth jazz)

Indeed, the music is smooth, welcoming, and accessible. Canadian guitarist Rob Tardik leads his electrified outfit in relaxed grooves and precise hooks. With subtle world music influences, this is jazz fusion to put you at ease. (DK)

Roosevelt Collier | rooseveltcollier.com 7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – queezers Stage | (Lap steel, blues)

Though Roosevelt Collier came to the lap steel via the House of God church, one doesn’t rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 23


JEFF GOLDBLUM

WEDNESDAY JUNE 26

& THE MILDRED SNITZER ORCHESTRA hen 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.” This is how it all started. “The wonderful people at Decca saw me on the Graham Norton Show playing piano with Gregory Porter, and they thought it would be a good idea if I did a whole album.” As an astute pianist with an equally astute band known as The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, Goldblum has recently released  “The Capitol Studios Sessions” - a salacious swan dive into 1950’s Blue Note jazz, and classic standards of that era and ilk. The music on “The Capitol Studio Sessions” detours around vintage camp without sacrificing the fun. The singers Imelda May and Haley Reinhart sing, the band swings, and Goldblum, well, goldblums - punctuating the proceedings with humor, a sort of faux disbelief, and syncopated, Thelonious stabs of color. Goldblum digs the comparison. “I’m no Thelonious Monk,” he says. “Who is? I listen to him a lot. He’s angular and muscular and surprising and pioneering and unexpected. I think he’s just great.” Goldblum has been wild about the piano since he was a kid. Decca didn’t have to ask twice. “Piano has just been that thing that I’ve always been crazy about,” Goldblum says. “I found myself playing in cocktail lounges when I was 15 in Pittsburgh, and always had the piano with me.” Goldblum incorporated his musical skills sporadically while performing in plays and shooting movies, until about 30 years ago, when he began playing with a band in Los Angeles. So clearly it didn’t happen overnight. It’s just that he was pushing the acting stuff, with the music poking its head in to clarify and clear up any doubts. That Jeff Goldblum? Yes, that Jeff Goldblum. And though that Jeff Goldblum is jazzed about this project, he’s still a celluloid hero. “Now I’m at a fertile and interesting period of my acting career, as it happens,” he says. “I’m kind

W F E AT U R E | B Y F R A N K D E B L A S E

KODAK HALL AT EASTMAN THEATRE 8 P.M.

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24 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

of a humbled student and I’m a late bloomer, and I think I’m on the threshold of my best stuff, acting-wise. But the whole piano thing came together very quickly and we did it.” Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra are about to make a follow-up album, and they’ve increased touring, in addition to their weekly residency at Rockwell in Los Angeles. “It’s a mix wherever we go,” he says when pressed about his audience. “But

people seem to be interested in what I’ve done in movies in certain ways. Sometimes we have the privilege and responsibility of introducing them to classic jazz writing and our rendition of it.” But whether or not it could spearhead another swing-lounge-exotica movement remains to be seen. “I wonder," Goldblum says. “I’m no historian. I don’t know. But I know people show up for what we do.”


THE PLAYERS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26 Herb Smith Freedom Trio | herbtrumpet.com

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

The fact that Herb Smith occupies the third trumpet chair in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra tells you a lot about his musical prowess. But when he’s not buttoned down, he’s a blistering jazz player in his own Freedom Trio. The versatile trumpeter has played with jazz, soul and pop artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Natalie Cole, The O’Jays, and Yes (RN) Vincent Peirani | vincent-peirani.com/en

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

If you believe the least likely instrument to surface at a jazz festival is the accordion, let me introduce you to Vincent Peirani. One of the top jazz players to emerge from the French scene, Peirani does not hesitate to venture far from the standard jazz repertoire. Be prepared to hear some Led Zeppelin like you’ve never heard it before. (RN) Harold Danko | esm.rochester.edu/faculty/danko_harold

5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Harold Danko is Professor Emeritus at the Eastman School of Music, but before settling down in Rochester, he had a long career playing with jazz greats Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Lee Konitz. He was also a featured performer in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Danko is a prolific composer whose classic tune “Tidal Breeze” has been recorded by Baker, Konitz and others. (RN) Lionel Loueke & Raul Midon | ionelloueke.com; raulmidon.com 6 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Jazz-world fusion)

Extraordinary guitarist Lionel Loueke started out on vocals and percussion growing up in the Ivory Coast. He didn’t pick up the guitar until age 17, but he went on to study at Berklee and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Raul Midon sings and plays like no other singer and player, through various percussive beats on his guitar and trumpet-like vocals. This show will amaze and thrill. (FD) New Horizons Vintage Jazz Band directed by Don Sherman

esm.rochester.edu/ 6 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage | (Traditional big band jazz)

There is a constant desire in the contemporary

jazz world to move the music into the future. But wait a minute: There’s an awful lot of good music from the past. That’s why the New Horizons Vintage Jazz Band specializes in Dixieland, Swing, Latin and other genres, right up to contempory pop. (RN) Under One Sun | jameyhaddad.com

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (World music)

Founded by percussionist Jamey Haddad, Under One Sun features an international array of superb players performing music with diverse roots. Along with Haddad — who has worked extensively with Paul Simon — the group features: Ali Amr on qanun, a Middle Eastern zither); Salar Nader on tabla; Michael Ward-Bergeman on accordion; saxophonist Billy Drewes; pianist Leo Blanco; percussionist Luisito Quintero, percussion; and Roberto Occhipinti on double bass. (RN) Tamar Korn & A Kornucopia |

tamarkornvoice.wordpress.com 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Montage Music Hall | (Jazz Age throwback, vocal jazz)

New York City’s Tamar Korn sings in something like 200 bands. But there is a constant running through them all: it’s Korn’s sing-song tone and Helen Kane-as-Betty Boop sass, with Tin Pan Alley vibes and class. Charming as all get-out. (FD) Prime Time Brass | primetimebrass.com

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

Rochester’s Prime Time Brass is a parade gone out of bounds. There’s no denying the power and the majesty. They’ll knock you out, like a sledgehammer at a pillow fight. (FD) Harold Mabern Trio | haroldmabern.jazzgiants.net

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

For more information, a profile on Harold Mabern can be found on page 22. Vilray | vilray.com

6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (Retro-jazz crooner and guitarist)

He’s got a duo with Lake Street Dive’s Rachel Price and command of a Piedmont-esque guitar playing style. And the Brooklyn man they call Vilray records straight to acetate. What more can I say? Oh, and he whistles. (FD) Ian Shaw | ianshaw.biz 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Jazz vocals)

is extraordinarily gentle. The list of his awards and accolades is too long to fit in the space allotted. Wanna shortcut to Shaw’s cool? Check for his version of “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.” (FD) Kandace Springs | kandacesprings.com

7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater | (Vocalcentric R&B-jazz)

The music of Nashville-based Kandace Springs is a study in deceptive simplicity. In other words, her voice makes it sound easy. Simmering R&B with sophisticated jazz progressions. Dig as the steam starts coming out of your collar. You can’t escape. Why would you ever want to? (FD) Shamarr Allen & the Underdawgs |

hamarrallen.com 7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Jazzy hip-hop horn)

The jazz idiom is conducive to endless fusion, capable of myriad genre mash-ups. Trumpet player Shamarr Allen leads the Underdawgs through the New Orleans underground and out the other side, with catchy hip-hop beats, rhymes with easy flow, and concise jazz licks. (DK) Funknut | tonygandfunknut.bandcamp.com 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid foundation/ RG&E / Barclay Damon Fusion Stage | (Funk)

When keys-tease Tony Gallicchio has his band going in a full-blown, funkified giddy-up. People have to sneak a peek toward the bandstand to confirm the cat doesn’t have 88 fingers. Come join the hundreds of feet that Funknut ignites like a tap-dancing caterpillar. (FD) Music Educators’ Jazz Ensemble

esm.rochester.edu 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: Jazz Street Stage | (Big band jazz)

Led by top music educator and superb saxophonist Bill Tiberio, the Music Educators’ Jazz Ensemble is exactly what it sounds like: an ensemble composed of area music teachers and related musicians. The repertoire ranges from traditional to contemporary. (RN) Thomas Backman | thomasbackman.com 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: Lutheran Church of the Reformation | (Avant-garde jazz)

It is somewhat ironic that Scandinavian jazz musicians as a group are often more cuttingedge in their approach to the music than Americans. Swedish saxophonist Thomas Backman is no exception. He has assembled a group of like-minded Swedish musicians, resulting in some of the most progressive jazz you are likely to hear. (RN) Roosevelt Collier | rooseveltcollier.com 8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Lap steel, blues)

Roosevelt Collier’s bio can be found on page 23.

Britain’s Ian Shaw handles the songs he performs as if they were eggs. His phrasing rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 25


THURSDAY JUNE 27

F E AT U R E | B Y R O N N E T S K Y

GEORGE COLEMAN QUARTET KILBOURN HALL AT EASTMAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC 6 P.M. & 9 P.M.

TUNE IN AROUND 5:45 P.M. WEEKDAYS ON AM1370 AND FM 88.5, SPEVAK AND OTHERS INTERVIEW PERFORMERS, SHARE UPDATES AND LOOK AHEAD TO THAT NIGHT'S SHOWS.

26 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

I

n 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.” But, while Coleman was at the pinnacle of his career, jazz was at the crossroads between

bebop and the avant-garde. That tension would prove to be a turning point for Coleman. His career began in the early 1950’s in Memphis when his brother bought a saxophone and they both started playing it. George progressed quickly, inspired by jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, but he started his career in rhythm & blues. Enlisted by B.B. King while still a teenager, Coleman learned from older musicians. By 18, he was writing arrangements for Ray Charles.

One hallmark of Coleman’s playing, especially his spectacular solos, is circular breathing, which allows him to play more notes than seem possible. “It’s simple but you have to learn how to execute it,” Coleman says. “You store the air in your checks and it works like bellows, like a balloon. As you expel the air from your mouth, blowing into the horn, you simultaneously inhale through your nose.” Coleman is modest about the quintet he played in with Davis. He prefers an earlier incarnation of Miles’s band — with Coltrane


on sax, drummer Philly Joe Jones, pianist Red Garland, and Paul Chambers on bass. But many aficionados prefer the 1963-64 band with Coleman and a new generation of players. Behind the scenes, there was turmoil. “Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, and Tony Williams didn’t like my approach to music,” Coleman says. The legendary bassist, pianist and drummer thought Coleman was oldfashioned, playing bebop. “They would turn

up their noses at me. They knew I could play, but these were the young lions. They wanted to play some avant-garde, so-called hip stuff at that time. One night at The Jazz Workshop, a San Francisco club, Coleman had had enough. “I said to myself, I’m tired of these guys turning their noses up and trying to be so hip,” Coleman says. “I’ll show these idiots that I can play this bullshit”. Even Davis was surprised.

“I played around the harmony a little bit, some different stuff. Man, it shocked them. They turned around — all three of them. Miles rushed up to the bandstand: ‘What the eff was that?’ That night, I proved my point. Then I went right back to my stuff. I did it to get them off my back.” Another cause of tension was that some fans actually mistook him for Davis, even though they did not look alike.

“When we played the [Village] Vanguard, Miles would play one set and leave,” Coleman says. “He’d put his trumpet on the piano and leave it there till the next night. So I was there with those guys. They resented me, and I was out front. I was forced to be the leader because there was nobody to kick off the tunes but me. People ask, ‘Why’d you leave Miles?’ That’s why — it was stressful.”

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rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 27


RON ARTIS II AND THE TRUTH

THE PLAYERS THURSDAY, JUNE 27 The Buddhahood | thebuddhahood.com 4:30 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Jam-band, world music)

George Coleman Quartet | georgecoleman.com

This Rochester legend has gone through a pantload of personnel changes. But with all the chaos and uncertainty that goes with it, The Buddhahood endures. It all melts away once this drum-heavy onslaught begins like a thousand heartbeats set to music. Reggae meets funk meets everything in between. (FD)

Saxophonist George Coleman is a member of the greatest generation of jazz musicians, and he’s played with most of the greats: Ray Charles, Johnny Griffin, Max Roach, Jimmy Smith, and Lee Morgan. Stints with the aforementioned artists came before he joined Miles Davis for some seminal, early-1960’s albums. Coleman is a legend. When you hear his mastery of the sax, you’ll know why. (RN)

John Pizzarelli Trio | johnpizzarelli.com 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Wilson Stage | (Guitar and vocal jazz)

An old-school jazz guitarist who can play a bebop legato solo with the best of them, John Pizzarelli is also a stylish vocalist specializing in the Great American Songbook. In recent years, his repertoire has grown to include the music of Brazillian composer António Carlos Jobim and more recent songwriters like Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Tom Waits. (RN) Gary Versace with Scott Robinson |

6 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Kilbourn Hall | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Heather Bambrick |heatherbambrick.ca

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (Vocal-centric jazz)

Whereas some jazz vocalists can complicate their patter, Canadian singer Heather Bambrick’s straightforward approach is complemented by her solid roots in whatever she sings. It’s a loose but effective tether. And her band sa-wings, daddy-o. (FD)

garyversace.com 5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Veronica Swift | veronicaswift.com 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Montage Music Hall | (Vocal jazz)

Maria Schneider, John Scofield and John Abercrombie are some of the dozens of musicians who have enlisted the talents of organist, pianist, and accordionist Gary Versace. Piano icon Marian McPartland called him “endlessly inventive.” Multiinstrumentalist Scott Robinson has worked with everyone from Lionel Hampton to Elton John. On over 200 albums, he has played saxophone, trumpet, flute and a host of obscure instruments. (RN)

Having taken second place in the 2015 Thelonious Monk Competition, Veronica Swift has earned her place among the best contemporary vocalists. The daughter of a jazz pianist and jazz singer, she began singing at the age of nine. Now 24, Swift can scat sing like a soaring saxophone. She specializes in standards, but with a brilliant voice and style to spare, she reinvents them. (RN)

Syndicate Jazz Band | syndicatejazz.com 6 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Big band, straight-ahead jazz)

Once called the Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra, Syndicate continues to pay homage to the music of big bands past, as it has for the last two-plus decades. Led by its music director Tom Pesciotta, the group is also interested in supporting the creation and performance of new jazz works by contemporary composers, evidenced by its Jazz Composers Syndicate. (DK) John Fedchock NY Sextet | johnfedchock.com/

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

Some of the finest arrangers in jazz are also trombonists, and John Fedchock has been among them for four decades. He’s toured with many groups, from the Woody Herman Orchestra to the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Fedchock is also a two-time Grammy Award nominee for his own arrangements. His New

York Sextet boasts some of the Big Apple’s top musicians. (RN) Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters | honeycutters.com 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (Country)

It’s the kind of country you find yourself pining for on lonely nights when not even whiskey will wash the heartache down. Asheville, North Carolina’s Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters are here just in time to save country music and all of us in the ensuing melee. (FD) Elda Trio | eldatrio.com 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: (Experimental, world music)

Elda Trio takes folk stories and musical traditions from its native backgrounds — Sweden, Slovenia and Brazil — to create a distinctive brand of world music. The idiosyncratic instrumentation of vocals, accordion, and percussion results in new tonal

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colors and otherworldly sonic dimensions. Accessible but innovative. (DK)

contemporary standards by artists like Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. (RN)

legend’s interpretation of the music that helped give birth to his own. (FD)

Paul McCandless & Charged Particles

George Benson | georgebenson.com

Paris_Monster | parismonster.com

chargedparticles.com/with-saxophonist-paulmccandless 7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater | (Jazz fusion)

8 p.m.: Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (JazzR&B fusion, guitar)

8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent (Electronic, experimental pop)

The man behind hits like “Turn your Love Around” and “Give Me the Night,” George Benson is a beacon of cool, with his blend of intricate jazz guitar, R&B melodies, and soulful grooves. On his new album “Walking to New Orleans,” Benson pays tribute to recently departed legends Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. It’ll be trés cool to hear this

This Brooklyn duo seems to fall into every crack between every genre of music -—often within the same composition. Experimental one moment, poppy the next. It’s funky and busy and will present more questions than answers. (FD)

Woodwind player Paul McCandless was an original member of the Paul Winter Consort and the world music quartet OREGON. McCandless crosses disciplines as easily as he moves from saxophone to English horn. Charged Particles boasts six-string electric bassist Aaron Germain, keyboardist Murray Low and superb drummer Jon Krosnick. Together, they play some of the best fusion this side of Weather Report. (RN) 7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: M&T Pavilion – Squeezers Stage | (Blues rock guitar, R&B)

If you like Gary Clark, Jr., then you’re gonna love Ron Artis II. A dynamic performer who combines virtuosic riffs with smart songwriting, he’s all over the guitar map. His music can also take on the symbolic imagery of his native Hawaii, what with its tropical breezes and volcanoes. (FD)

7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage (Funk-soul-jazz fusion)

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During Soul Stew’s ten-year tenure as house band for Toronto’s College Street Bar, the members of this outfit have rubbed elbows with everybody from Aretha Franklin to Tito Puente to Gorillaz. Soul Stew’s blend of elements from jazz, funk, R&B, and soul has drawn comparisons to heavy Motown hitters the Funk Brothers. (FD)

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DH’s Random/Control | davidhelbock.com 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: Lutheran Church of the Reformation | (Straight-ahead jazz)

Pianist David Helbock grew up in a small Austrian village, but for the past two decades his keyboard prowess has taken him all over the world. Helbock has won numerous awards, including Outstanding Artist of Austria. DH’s Random/Control, featuring equally talented musicians, plays Helbock’s compositions along with

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Grupo IFE | ife-music.com 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid foundation / RG&E / Barclay Damon Fusion Stage | (Electronic, Afro-Caribbean music)

Soul Stew | robertoocchipinti.com/about-soul-stew

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

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Since arriving in Puerto Rico in the late 1990’s, African American music, Mun adds digital electronics to the traditional genre. The result is a sound as haunting as it is beautiful. (RN)

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rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 29


FRIDAY JUNE 28

BILL CHARLAP HATCH RECITAL HALL AT EASTMAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC 5:45 P.M. & 7:45 P.M. P R O F I L E | BY R O N N E T S KY

Y

ou 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.” His mother, singer Sandy Stewart, had a major pop hit with “My Coloring Book” in 1963. In recent years, collaborations with her son have revived her career. Although his father died when he was eight, “I remember everything about him,” Charlap says. “He was a very powerful force. He was effervescent in his love of music and his love of life. You could feel his passion for composing. He wasn’t a great singer, but he sang his own songs in a gripping way.” Charlap doesn’t play many of his father’s songs in concert because, “like Stephen Sondheim’s songs, the music is theatre music,” Charlap says. “Songs like ‘I’m Flying’ and ‘I’ve Gotta Crow,’ they’re marvelous in theatre, but they are not standards.” He does perform “I’ll Never Go There Anymore,” a Moose Charlap tune sited in an article about songs Sondheim wished he had written. As for his mother, “She is one of the great popular singers,” Charlap says, “a great song singer who also swings.” Charlap loves the Great American Songbook. He has recorded entire albums of the songs of Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and Leonard Bernstein. He is reluctant to

30 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

name favorites but says those three, along with Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and Richard Rodgers, are on his Mount Rushmore. With the exception of Cole Porter, who wrote words and music, those six are all composers. But Charlap says he always thinks of a song’s lyrics as he plays. “Alan Bergman said, ‘The words need to drip off the notes,’ ” Charlap says. He offers “On a Clear Day,” with Alan Jay Lerner’s lyrics set to Burton Lane’s music, as a perfect example and proceeds to quote an entire verse. “It took him forever to write that lyric,” says Charlap. “It’s so magnificently connected to the notes.” When asked if anyone today is writing those kinds of classics, Charlap says there are many different ways of writing songs. He offers Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan, and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, as examples. One person who does not write songs is Bill Charlap. “I’m not a composer,” he says. “I’m 52. If I were a composer, I would have written something significant by now. My wife is a composer; she writes in a very organic way.” He’s referring to Renee Rosnes, another superb pianist. The couple famously has two Steinway grand pianos entwined in their living room. They have recorded and played concerts together. “She’s my best friend, my partner, the love of my life, and a musician I respect,” Charlap says.

Charlap is not only known as a great interpreter of standards. He paid his dues for years on the road with some of the greatest musicians in jazz including Gerry Mulligan, Benny Carter, Clark Terry and Phil Woods. He’s also worked extensively with singers like Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett. He won a Grammy Award for his album with Bennett in 2015. So, is there anything he hasn’t done, any musician he’d love to work with? Charlap takes a minute to think and asks if it has to be in this world. “I’d like to play with Louis Armstrong, and Billy Holliday,” says Charlap. But, back in reality, he’s still reaching for goals. “What it is I’d like to do with my music is an elusive vision. I can feel it; I can’t quite get to it.” Having been enveloped in music all his life, he knows its importance. “We need music because speech is very limited,” says Charlap. “Music expresses things we can’t put into words.”


rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 31


THE PLAYERS 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)

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)

Greece Jazz Band | greecejazzband.org

Catherine Russell | catherinerussell.net

FRIDAY, JUNE 28 Kansas Smitty’s House Band | kansassmittys.com

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

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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 | billcharlap.com

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 | spagaband.com

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 | matthewwhitaker.net

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)

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| jimsnidero.com; jeremypelt.net 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

Itamar Borochov Quartet | itamarborochov.com 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Straight-ahead jazz)

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

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

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)

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)

Bob Sneider’s ECMS Jazz Performance Workshops | bobsneider.net

Jimmie Highsmith Jr. | jimmiehighsmithjr.com

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 | sullivanfortnermusic.com

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 | durhamcountypoets.com

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 “Street James Infirmary” than these guys do. (FD)

7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid foundation / 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 | thesuitcasejunket.com 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 singersongwriter 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 | nubyagarcia.com

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 | yurihoning.com 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

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

Part of Johnny Cash’s posse, Marty Stuart is one of the last of the honkytonk 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 | stevemillerband.com 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 | ronartisii.com 8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Blues rock guitar, R&B)

Go to page 29 for the band bio. Allman Betts Band | allmanbettsband.com 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)

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Jam sessions led by Karl Stabnau & Bob Sneider

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rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 33


SATURDAY JUNE 29

J'WAN BOUDREAUX

CHA WA

I N T E R V I E W | B Y D A N I E L J. K U S H N E R

CITY OF ROCHESTER MIDTOWN STAGE 7 P.M.

IN THE POCKET FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, AND FACEBOOK @ROCCITYNEWS OR VISIT ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM FOR DAILY PHOTOS, SHOW REVIEWS AND COLOR REPORTING FROM THE FESTIVAL

34 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

T

he 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. Mardi Gras Indians participate in parades, ceremonies, and other events in honor of their ancestors, who first took part in Mardi Gras festivities as a means of self-expression and celebration. We’re basically bringing a brass band and Mardi Gras Indian parade to the stage,” Gelini says, “and we’re celebrating all things New Orleans.” According to Gelini, there are plenty of New Orleansbased musicians who have been inspired by Mardi Gras Indian music, with its blend of African and Indigenous American elements: Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, The Neville Brothers, Big Freedia, Trombone Shorty, and the late Dr. John, among them. But the musicians of Cha Wa are among the few who are actively bringing Mardi Gras Indian culture with them on tour. We spoke to Joe Gelini about the historical roots of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, and

how it informs the musical identity of Cha Wa. An edited transcript follows. How did you get involved with Monk Boudreaux and the tradition of Mardi Gras Indian music? Joe Gelini: I was really fascinated with the

Mardi Gras Indians, I really just tried to get as prepared as I could by going back and learning all the old recordings and really kind of study the music from The Wild Magnolias and the Wild Tchoupitoulas. Monk has some great old recordings of him just doing the a cappella chants with the Mardi Gras Indians. He has a whole record from the H&R Bar. And I just really fell in love with the Indians first, but then I went back and I really tried to educate myself. I did a really deep dive into it. I was just able to start playing drums in Monk’s band, and eventually became the musical director of the band. It seems like Cha Wa’s socially-conscious music is a continuation of what’s been going on in the Mardi Gras Indian tradition for years.

The Mardi Gras Indian tradition is unique to New Orleans. And in New Orleans during slavery, slaves that escaped would be protected by the Native Americans, because

they would take them in and they would have these Maroon communities where they would just sort of hide in plain sight, but they would also intermarry. So there’s an actual bloodline that goes all the way back to that. And it really establishes the fact that those two different cultures and races intermarried and they protected each other, because there was definitely a shared oppression that they had together. With Mardi Gras Indian music, it seems that the role that chant and call-and-response have in the music is quite significant. How does that show up in Cha Wa’s music?

Basically, the way that I would describe it is that we’re all very much versed in the Mardi Gras Indian call-and-response folk music; the music that is traditionally done in the streets and is a cappella or acoustic. It’s without accompaniment from any brass band or any electrical instruments. No guitar, no organ, nothing like that. We take the approach of modernizing that style of music, with the question-andanswer, but doing it in a more contemporary way that our generation would voice it. In other words, we take the question-andanswer elements, but we put it into a more contemporary song form.


THE PLAYERS SATURDAY, JUNE 29

Acoustic Alchemy | acousticalchemy.co.uk

Kansas Smitty’s House Band | kansassmittys.com

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

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

Acoustic Alchemy began innocently enough in the 1980’s with two excellent guitarists knocking out Londoners with their catchy arrangements. After several personnel changes over the decades, Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale continue to perform their guitar magic, touching on everything from jazz to flamenco to classical to funk. The result is an appealing blend of new age music. (RN)

See the band’s bio on page 32.

Sullivan Fortner | sullivanfortnermusic.com

5:45 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.: Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music | (Straight-ahead jazz)

See page 32 for Fortner’s bio. Gene Perla Quartet | perla.org

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Wilder Room | (Straight-ahead jazz)

After studying at Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory, bassist Gene Perla moved to New York. It wasn’t long before he was enlisted by some of the top artists on the scene, including major players like Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, and Sonny Rollins, not to mention top singers Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan. (RN) Sisters Euclid | sisterseuclid.bandcamp.com

6 p.m. & 10 p.m.: The Montage Music Hall (Bluesy, guitar-driven jazz)

Canadian guitarist Kevin Breit has his fingers in all sorts of pies and wrapped around all sorts of guitars, playing in various bands from Stretch Orchestra to Folkalarm to Sisters Euclid. It’s in the quartet of Sisters that Breit chases shadows, with a dark and gritty guitar style that also has plenty of melodic invention. (FD)

New Energy Jazz Orchestra | rit.edu/cla/ finearts/music/new-energy-jazz-orchestra 6 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Big band jazz)

Organized by saxophonist Carl Atkins and trumpeter Jonathan Kruger in 2006, the New Energy Jazz Orchestra features some of the top players in the region. The group’s repertoire is distinctive, comprised of adventurous compositions and arrangements by Atkins, Kruger, and others. (RN) Andrea Brachfeld & Insight | andreabrachfeld.com

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

It takes a large amount of talent to transform a small flute into a powerhouse, band-fronting instrument. Andrea Brachfeld has just that sort of command when she leads her excellent group, Insight. Once you’ve heard one of her impossibly complex, but beautifully melodic solos, you will understand why Hot House Magazine named her “Best Jazz Flutist” in 2015. (RN) Jon Stickley Trio | jonstickley.com 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.: Geva Theatre Center – Fielding Stage | (Acoustic, progressive Americana)

If God danced a jig on the eighth day, it would have been to the music of the Jon Stickley Trio. This band can straight-up play — with a virtuosic style that’ll leave you in awe. Complete with its sawed horsehair, percussive guitar, and atypical beats, Stickley and company will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about instrumental folk music. (FD)

Christine Tobin | christine-tobin.com 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.: Christ Church | (Vocal jazz)

Vocalist Christine Tobin has good taste in lyricists. When she set the poems of W.B. Yeats to music in her 2012 project, “Sailing to Byzantium,” she won a British Composer Award. Two years later, she won Jazz Vocalist of the Year at England’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards. In recent years, she has won praise for interpretations of the music of Leonard Cohen. (RN) The Dirty Bourbon Blues Band |

dirtybourbonblues.com 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.: Avangrid foundation/ RG&E / Barclay Damon Fusion Stage | (Blues)

I don’t know about guzzlin’ dirty bourbon, necessarily, but I do know I Iike my blues down-and-dirty. This hometown band, led by drummer-vocalist Uncle Pete, serves it up greasier than an oil slick. The foot’s always on the gas with these heavy blues rockers. (FD) Joey DeFrancesco | joeydefrancesco.com 7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.: Temple Building Theater | (Straight-ahead organ jazz)

Raised in the musical caldron of Philadelphia with a Hammond B-3 organ-playing father, Joey DeFrancesco emerged in the 1980’s as a force of nature at the organ. Able to swing any melody and exploit the otherworldly sounds of the instrument, he’s been tapped by a who’s who of stars including Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Van Morrison, George Benson, and many others. (RN) Cha Wa | chawaband.com

7 p.m.: City of Rochester Midtown Stage | (New Orleans jazz-funk)

no turning back. The idea of composing in the moment fascinated him. Since arriving in New York in 2012, Uusitalo has played with Johnny O’Neal, Dayna Stephens, Curtis Lundy, and many others. (RN) Al Chez and the Brothers of Funk Big Band | alchez.com 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.: City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage | (Trumpet-led big band, straight-ahead jazz)

In 1997, Al Chez joined the CBS Orchestra after years of sitting in on trumpet and flugelhorn on NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Late Show” on CBS, with over 25 years between the two. Chez plays it low-key, carefree and fun. (FD) The Klick | theklick.net

8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.: Rochester Regional Health Big Tent | (Funk-jazz fusion)

The Klick is home to some Ra-cha-cha heavy hitters. The septet funkifies its jazz, stretching itself to uncover the music’s empathy with a welcoming, energetic vibe. It’s sophisticated, but it’s also party music. (FD) Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue | tromboneshorty.com 9 p.m.: City of Rochester Midtown Stage | (Trombone-led funk-jazz fusion)

Trombone Shorty got his nickname when he first brandished a trombone that was bigger than him. He led his first band at age six and was touring internationally by the time he was 12. His sound is a New Orleans blast furnace of funk and roll, and it has gotten him to the White House and made him the go-to trombone cat for bands like Green Day and U2. ‘Nuff said. (FD)

Go to page 34 for an interview with Cha Wa’s Joe Gelini. Tuomo Uusitalo Quartet | tuomouusitalo.com

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

Tuomo Uusitalo started playing the piano at six. He began with classical music and explored rock ‘n’ roll, but once he heard jazz there was

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/ EVENTS rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 35


36 CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019

Profile for Rochester City Newspaper

CITY Newspaper's 2019 Jazz Festival Guide  

CITY Newspaper's guide to Rochester's largest music festival.

CITY Newspaper's 2019 Jazz Festival Guide  

CITY Newspaper's guide to Rochester's largest music festival.