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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 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)

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| (Straight-ahead 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 for more details.

Dawn Thomson's Imagine That

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

See page

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 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)

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 in-depth 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 Ave. & Chestnut St. 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

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

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 Ave. & Chestnut St. | (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)

Jam sessions led by Karl Stabnau & Bob Sneider

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

See page for more information.

In This Guide...

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

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

  • Festival Information

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

  • Feature: Sasha Berliner Quintet

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

  • The Players: Friday, June 21

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

  • Profile: Dawn Thomson's Imagine That

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

  • Interview: The Honey Smugglers

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

  • The Players: Sunday, June 23

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

  • Interview: The Willows

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

  • The Players: Tuesday, June 25

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

  • The Players: Monday, June 24

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

  • Profile: Harold Mabern

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

  • Feature: Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra

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

  • The Players: Wednesday, June 26

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

  • Feature: George Coleman Quartet

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

  • The Players: Thursday, June 27

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

  • Profile: Bill Charlap

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

  • The Players: 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)

  • Interview: Cha Wa

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

  • The Players: Saturday, June 29

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

  • Jazz Fest 2019: CITY's Daily Jazz Blogs

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