The Rochester (N.Y.) International Jazz Festival (RIJF) has landed an impressive talent list that spans from Aretha Franklin and Sonny Rollins to John Hammond and Medeski Martin & Wood. The festival will present more than 50 artists during its inaugural June 3-9 event, which will take place at several venues around the city.
Other artists lined up for festival appearances include the Brad Mehldau Trio, Jane Bunnett & Spirits of Havana, the Terence Blanchard Sextet, Gap Mangione Big Band, Randy Brecker’s Randroid Band, and the Hiram Bullock Band featuring Will Lee.
The festival will kick off with a gala celebration at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, featuring the Woody Herman Orchestra with Freddy Cole, Pacquito D’Rivera’s UN Ensemble, and Akira Tana’s Japanese All Star Quartet. Meanwhile, Franklin will be among the artists performing during the June 9 “Grand Slam Finale” at Rochester’s Frontier Field. The six-hour event will also feature Dr. John, the Average White Band, and the Blue Brothers Band.
“We’ve strived to create an innovative, diverse and all encompassing lineup which includes renowned jazz and creative, improvising artists from around the globe,” event producer John Nugent said in a statement. Nugent’s NY Jam Inc. also produces the renowned Stockholm Jazz Festival, now in its 19th year.
RIJF will also include several free concerts, educational workshops, and a jazz film series that will feature films on Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Dexter Gordon, among others.
Individual show tickets — ranging from $10-$35 — go on sale Sunday (March 9) through the festival’s official Web site, various New York and New Jersey outlets, and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League. Tickets for the opening night gala, priced at $100, are available through the United Nations Association of Rochester at 585-473-7286.
A separate RJIF Jazz Pass that will allow admission to 25 select performances at participating clubs will be available for $25 in advance ($35 week of festival). Artists who will be performing at Jazz Pass venues include Norah Jones Band, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Joe Romano Quartet, Wayne Krantz Trio, Paul Bollenback & Joe Locke Quartet featuring Jeff “Tain” Watts and James Genus, European Jazz Ensemble, Little Feat, Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks, and the John Mooney Band.