Eastman School of Music faculty, alumni, and students will play prominently in the line-up for the upcoming Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. From faculty gigs and performances by Eastman Community Music School ensembles to a special jam session for aspiring jazz players, Eastman musicians will be appearing on various stages during the event June 12 through 20.
Of special interest to local residents is the annual Eastman School of Music/Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival Scholarship Concert on Monday, June 15, in Eastman Theatre. The scholarship is awarded annually to area high school seniors who plan to pursue jazz studies at Eastman School, and this year’s concert is being dedicated in memory of saxophonist and Eastman alumnus Gerry Niewood. Scholarship recipients Gabe Condon of Penfield and brothers Jeffrey Krol and Matthew Krol of Painted Post will be recognized at the beginning of an 8 p.m. performance by the Eastman Jazz Ensemble. Prior to the presentation, the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, directed by Howard Potter, will give a concert starting at 7:30 p.m. The Eastman Jazz Ensemble, directed by Bill Dobbins, will be joined by guest soloists Frank Tiberi, tenor saxophone, Mike Brignola, baritone saxophone, John Nugent, tenor saxophone, and Harold Danko, piano, for a concert celebrating the legacy of Woody Herman. The program will also feature a rare performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto with guest soloist Ramon Ricker, clarinet. The event is free, and voluntary contributions to the scholarship fund will be accepted.
Dobbins, a pianist, will also be appearing with the Mike Kaupa Quartet on the first evening of the festival. In addition to Dobbins, drummer Rich Thompson and Jeff Campbell, double bass, will join the Mike Kaupa Quartet on Friday, June 12, in the festival’s Big Tent. Campbell will also be performing with the recent Eastman doctoral graduate Alex Graham and his Sextet on Monday, June 15, in Max of Eastman Place; Norwegian singer Sidsel Stromness on Tuesday, June 16, at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation; with fellow faculty member and trumpeter Clay Jenkins on Thursday, June 18, in the Big Tent; and with the John Nyerges Quintet on Friday, June 19, in the Big Tent. Nyerges is a graduate of the Eastman School, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1980 and his master’s in 1997.
The Clay Jenkins and Friends concert on June 18 also features Harold Danko on piano and Rich Thompson on drums. Later that same day, Jenkins will join the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra for their June 18 concert on the Jazz Street Stage; he also will appear with the John Nyerges Quintet in the Big Tent on June 19.
The Dave Rivello Ensemble will be in the Big Tent on June 17. At Eastman, Rivello directs the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, which was named best college big band by DownBeat magazine this year.
Pianist Dariusz Terefenko is performing with the Smugtown Stompers on June 13 and June 14 on the Mary Jemison boat on the Genesee River.
Guitarist Bob Sneider will be on stage for “Benny Goodman’s 100th Birthday Salute with Ken Poplowski” on June 13 in the Harro East Ballroom, and joins the Mike Melito Quintet on June 15 in the Big Tent. Sneider also does jam sessions every night of the festival at the State Street Bar & Grille at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, and his trio will appear at the Central Library on June 17.
In addition, Sneider will host the Kids Jam Session, which will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, the last day of the festival, in Room 120 of the Eastman School. The session gives teens the chance to play with professional musicians, including Eastman School faculty, and get performance feedback and tips.
Groups from the Eastman Community Music School will also be featured during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. The New Horizons Big Band performs on the Jazz Street Stage on June 18. Also appearing on the Jazz Street Stage are the Senior Combo of the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra on June 12; Mike Kaupa’s music school combos on June 16; Jose Encarnacion’s Latin Jazz Combo and Saxology on June 17, and the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra on June 18. Bob Sneider’s music school combos will perform in the Big Tent on June 14. A four-member combo of ECMS interns Nick Finzer, trombone, Mike Frederick, guitar, Geoff Saunders, bass, and Chris Teal, drums, will be playing June 20 in the Big Tent.
Two recent Eastman alumni, Mike Cottone ’07 and Matt Valerio ’09, will be performing with their groups: the Mike Cottone Quartet on June 15 and the Matt Valerio Quartet on June 16, both in the Central Library.
The Po’Boys Brass Band, a group whose seven members are all graduates of or current students at the Eastman School, will be playing on the Jazz Street Stage on June 19.
The full schedule of performers and venues can be found on the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival website at www.rochesterjazz.com .
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