Special Sections » Rochester International Jazz Festival

The Players: Thursday, June 27

The Buddhahood | thebuddhahood.com

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

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)

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 | garyversace.com

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

George Coleman Quartet | georgecoleman.com

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

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)

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)

Veronica Swift | veronicaswift.com

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

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.


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

Paul McCandless & Charged Particles


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

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)

Ron Artis II and The Truth | ronartisii.com

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)

Grupo IFE | ife-music.com

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

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)

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

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

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)

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

George Benson | georgebenson.com

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

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

Paris_Monster | parismonster.com

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

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)

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.

  • 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)

  • 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."

  • 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.