ROCHESTER, NY — Jazz takes center stage at the Eastman School of Music early next month when the Rochester International Jazz Festival roars into town from June 4-12. Again this year, many of Eastman’s jazz faculty and student artists are prepared to shine in the bright spotlight of the third annual Festival, which will feature such luminaries as David Sanborn, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland, Bobby McFerrin, and Jack DeJohnette on the Eastman Theatre stage — as well as many other jazz stars and up-and-comers throughout its nine-day run. Among the Eastman highlights:
RIJF/Eastman Jazz Showcase
Sunday, June 6 • Eastman Theatre • 8 p.m.
Once again, Down Beat, one of the country’s most respected jazz magazines, has named several Eastman students as recipients of its annual Student Music Awards, announced in its June issue. The recipients of these highly-coveted awards will be among those Eastman students featured in this free “winners showcase” concert, under the artistic direction of Harold Danko, acclaimed jazz pianist and chair of the School’s jazz department.
The Verytall Band (saxophonist Brian VanArsdale, trombonist Clarence Hines, trumpeter Dan Wright, saxophonist Nathan Heleine, pianist Dalton Ridenhour, bassist Dan Loomis, and drummer Jared Schonig) — a college co-winner in the jazz instrumental group category — will show why they’re award winners, as will the two individual honorees in the jazz instrumental soloist category: pianist Dalton Ridenhour and drummer Jared Schonig. The concert will open with a performance by the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, a recent winner in the “Essentially Ellington” Competition, and conclude with Eastman’s Bill Dobbins leading a special RIJF/Eastman Jazz Ensemble featuring other award-winning students and recent alumni, with special guest faculty members, Jeff Campbell, bass, and Clay Jenkins, trumpet.
An Evening with Marian McPartland
Monday, June 7 • Eastman Theatre • 8 p.m.
Four of Eastman’s finest join legendary jazz pianist and longtime friend of the Eastman School Marian McPartland in an incredible concert that’s likely to become one of the Festival highlights. The concert will open with McPartland accompanied by Eastman’s Jeff Campbell, bass, and Rich Thompson, drums. Then, audiences are in for a rare treat — a three-piano set — featuring Eastman’s own Harold Danko and Bill Dobbins alongside McPartland. The evening will close with selections featuring the entire group. Tickets for this concert are available at Ticketmaster/Ticket Express outlets and at www.rochesterjazz.com.
More Eastman Jazz
Eastman faculty performers can be found elsewhere throughout the Festival as well. Danko, his “New York City Trio,” and other special guests (including Eastman trumpeter Clay Jenkins) will perform several selections from his SteepleChase recordings at 10 p.m., Tuesday, June 8, at the Little Theatre (240 East Ave). Eastman jazz guitarist Bob Sneider will perform several times, including Saturday, June 5, at 6 p.m. at the Verizon Jazz Street Stage and every evening of the Festival at the 10:30 p.m. “Jam Session” at the State Street Bar & Grill, Crowne Plaza Hotel. Eastman’s Dave Rivello and his ensemble will perform at 6 p.m., Monday, June 7, in the Festival’s Big Tent, located across from the Eastman Theatre on Gibbs and Main St. In addition, two recent Eastman graduates — trombonist David Gibson and pianist/vocalist David Giudice — will be featured in separate venues on Wednesday, June 9. A detailed listing of all Festival performances, artists, and costs can be found at www.rochesterjazz.com or by calling the Festival Hotline at 585-234-2002. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster/Ticket Express outlets or online.
Eastman’s “campus” becomes “Jazz Street”
It will be hard not to experience all the jazz at Eastman this June, since in addition to the numerous performances in Eastman Theatre and Kilbourn Hall, Gibbs Street itself has been renamed “Jazz Street” for the duration of the Festival. The street will be closed to traffic during the weekends and feature live music from 4-11 p.m. on an outdoor stage at the corner of East Avenue and Gibbs. More than 30 hours of great jazz — featuring international artists to high school jazz bands — is planned, for free!
In addition, the new Rochester International Jazz Festival Store will temporarily set up shop in the storefront of Eastman’s recently purchased building at 10 Gibbs Street — former home of Ticket Express and future home of the newly named Eastman Community Music School. Finally, Jazz90.1 (formerly WGMC) will broadcast live from the Eastman School’s Main Hall on weekdays during the Festival from 4-6 p.m., and on weekends from the Rochester International Jazz Festival Store.
Note to editors: Interviews with Eastman faculty and student artists can be arranged.