JAZZ FEST GUIDE 2012: Schedule and bios for Friday, June 22


Friday, June 22

4:30 p.m.: Fairport HS Jazz Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

5:15 p.m.: Hilton HS Jazz Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

5:30 p.m.: Acoustic Alchemy Harro East Ballroom ($20, or Club Pass)

5:45 p.m.: Don Thompson & Neil Swainson Hatch Recital Hall ($20, or Club Pass)

6 p.m.: ECMS Jazz Combo led by Bob Sneider Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

6 p.m.: Tessa Souter Montage ($20 or Club Pass)

6 p.m.: Christian McBride’s Inside Straight Kilbourn Hall ($25 or Club Pass)

6 p.m.: Penfield Rotary Big Band Big Tent ($20 or Club Pass)

6 p.m.: Lucio Ferrara Trio Rochester Club ($20, or Club Pass)

6:15 p.m.: Karrin Allyson Max of Eastman Place ($20 or Club Pass)

6:30 p.m.: Yggdrasil Xerox Auditorium ($20 or Club Pass)

6:45 p.m.: Get The Blessing Christ Church ($20, or Club Pass)

7 p.m.: The Uptown Groove RG&E Fusion Stage (FREE)

7:15 p.m. John LaBarbera Big Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

7:15 p.m.: Acoustic Alchemy Harro East Ballroom ($20 or Club Pass)

7:30 p.m.: Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra Lutheran Church Of The Reformation ($20 or Club Pass)

7:45 p.m.: Rosie Flores Abilene ($20 or Club Pass)

7:45 p.m.: Don Thompson & Neil Swainson Hatch Recital Hall ($20)

8 p.m.: Diana Krall Kodak Hall Eastman Theatre ($35-$60; SOLD OUT)

8:30 p.m.: L’Orkestre Des Pas Perdus Big Tent ($20 or Club Pass)

8:45 p.m.: Get The Blessing Christ Church ($20 or Club Pass)

9 p.m.: Yggdrasil Xerox Auditorium ($20 or Club Pass)

9 p.m.: The Uptown Groove RG&E Fusion Stage (FREE)

9:15 p.m.: John LaBarbera Big Band Jazz Street Stage (FREE)

9:30 p.m.: Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra Lutheran Church Of The Reformation ($20 or Club Pass)

9:45 p.m.: Rosie Flores Abilene ($20 or Club Pass)

10 p.m.: L’Orkestre Des Pas Perdus Big Tent ($20 or Club Pass)

10 p.m.: Christian McBride’s Inside Straight Kilbourn Hall ($25 or Club Pass)

10 p.m.: Lucio Ferrara Trio Rochester Club ($20 or Club Pass)

10 p.m.: Tessa Souter Montage ($20 or Club Pass)

10 p.m.: Karrin Allyson Max of Eastman Place ($20 or Club Pass)

10:30 p.m.: XRIJF Nightly Jazz Session w/Bob Sneider Trio State St. Bar & Grill (FREE)


Acoustic Alchemy


Even with jazz and rock in the equation, once a band incorporates world elements, all shackles are off. For more than 25 years, Acoustic Alchemy has shined through myriad genres via acoustic (nylon and steel string) as well as electric guitar. Various rhythmic underpinnings have accompanied this endeavor on its prolific 18-album discography, which includes 2011’s “Roseland.” (FD)



Christian McBride’s Inside Straight

[ JAZZ ]

When bassist Christian McBride hit New York City at the age of 17, he hadn’t planned on starting at the top. But his talent and musical persona were so fully developed that he soon found himself working alongside some of the top artists in the jazz pantheon, including Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Smith, and McCoy Tyner. Listening to his lyrical — and impossibly dexterous — style, it’s easy to understand why he’s maintained that position. McBride not only provides a rock-solid foundation in the rhythm section, but he is perhaps the most melodic and compelling soloist on bass on the contemporary jazz scene. (RN)



Diana Krall


Pianist-vocalist-chanteuse-enchantress Diana Krall comes off so sultry and cool that it’s hard to get a bead on her mood. Her voice serves to unhinge and unglue the sturdiest of Romeos as she breathes life into standards with the same breathy ease as, say, Julie London. In fact, when speaking about her latest album, “Quiet Nights,” Krall says, “I feel this album is very womanly, like lying next to your lover in bed, whispering this in their ear.” Mr. Costello, you’re a lucky man. (FD)



Don Thompson & Neil Swainson

[ JAZZ ]

It’s a double dose of Canadian jazz in the form of pianist Thompson and bassist Swainson. Thompson is a former member of Boss Brass, and brings with him years of expertise at tickling the ivories. Swainson, a top call musician in Toronto, most recently known for touring with Roberta Gambarini, joins him with his swinging mastery of the bass. (WC)


Get The Blessing

[ JAZZ ]

To say Get The Blessing is quirky would be a severe understatement; these guys like to shake things up. The quartet is a bit like America’s wise-ass trio The Bad Plus in terms of sudden dynamic shifts and a sense of humor. Some of their compositions may remind you of the manic side of Frank Zappa. But what would you expect from a group that came together over the members’ mutual love of avant-garde god Ornette Coleman? The music may sound like jazz-rock fusion with horns, bordering on anarchy, but it’s actually under complete control. Just when you think the cacophony is headed over the edge, Get The Blessing will seamlessly transition into a heraldic melody and ride off into the distance. (RN)



Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra


Along with his group Subtropic Arkestra, Swedish trumpeter Goran Kajfes’ music has an infectious 60’s European cosmopolitan vibe to it that calls to mind pencil skirts, scooters, and intrigue. The music is heady and innovative, yet has a cinematic, 11th hour accessibility that will no doubt draw more to its obtuse beauty, not unlike the work of that other Arkestra. Sun Ra, anyone? (FD)



Jam Session with Bob Sneider Trio

[ JAZZ ]

After all the shows are finished, the out-of-town musicians head back to the Rochester Plaza Hotel. But they don’t go to their rooms. Lured by the sound of a world-class combo, many head for the State Street Bar & Grill where the Bob Sneider Trio holds down the after-hours jam session. Sneider is a monster guitarist who has superb support from Mike Melito (drums) and Phil Flanigan (bass). And, while the evening might start with student players joining them on stage, the kids step aside for the heavyweights as the session progresses. Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, Chris Potter, Eric Alexander, and too many more jazz stars to mention have sat in with the band. (RN)



John LaBarbera Big Band

[ JAZZ ]

John LaBarbera began playing cornet at the age of 5. By 7 he was joining his parents and brothers Pat and Joe in the family’s band. Fast forward a decade and a half and LaBarbera was playing trumpet in the Buddy Rich Orchestra, where he also began his career in composing and arranging. His works have been recorded and performed by the bands of Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Tormé, and even soul star Chaka Khan. His 2004 album “On The Wild Side” was nominated for a Grammy Award.



Karrin Allyson

[ JAZZ ]

Of the many jazz singers who have emerged over the last two decades, one of the most engaging and original is Karrin Allyson. Since 1992 she has recorded more than a dozen albums, covering everything from jazz standards to pop tunes by Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, and Carole King. But that’s just the beginning. On one extraordinary release, “From Paris to Rio,” she beautifully interpreted a collection of French and Portuguese tunes in the original languages. On another, “Ballads,” she gorgeously re-crafted the more gentle side of John Coltrane’s oeuvre. (RN)



L’Orkestre Des Pas Perdus


L’Orkestre Des Pas Perdus (translated: The Lost Steps Orkestra) had me at the cover art of its Juno-nominated latest album, “The Brass Age.” The image is a cross-section of a human head with a tuba superimposed over it. The high-energy brass band combines trombone, trumpet, French horn, saxophones, drums, and the aforementioned tuba, to create a sound that shifts between styles. It’s New Orleans funk one second, slower swing tunes the next, all while retaining that full, engaging, powerful, brass-ensemble sound. It’s good fun and a sonic blast, and whoever said you needed string instruments in an orchestra? (WC)



Lucio Ferrara

[ JAZZ ]

Born in the Puglia region of Italy, Lucio Ferrara began playing the clarinet at the age of 10. It wasn’t long before he switched to the guitar. After he won Bologna’s top music competition, Ferrara’s career took off. At first he concentrated on Brazilian music, but after attending a few of pianist Barry Harris’s famous seminars in New York, he became more interested in jazz improvisation. Since then he’s honed his post-bop guitar style in collaborations with top players like Lee Konitz, Benny Golson Joey DeFrancesco, and Lew Tabackin. (RN)



Rosie Flores


The sounds of artists like Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and The Everly Brothers initially got rockabilly filly Rosie Flores all shook her up, and by age 16 Flores was in her first band, the psychedelic all-girl Penelope’s Children. By the early 80’s she was slinging and singing in the punk-rockabilly outfit The Screamin’ Sirens. After that Flores went solo, writing her own stuff and covering classics from heroes like Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin. Her diminutive stature and sweet voice are in direct contrast to her wicked guitar prowess. (FD)



Tessa Souter

[ JAZZ ]

With her ethereal voice and stunning original tunes, Tessa Souter charmed every audience member in packed concerts at two previous RIJFs. Born in London, Souter had a flourishing career going as a journalist. In the 1990’s, at the urging of a friend, she began to sing at open-mic nights in clubs. After studying with legendary vocalist Mark Murphy, Souter was ready to switch from journalism to a different, more tuneful and emotional form of storytelling: jazz. Recently back from a successful tour of large opera houses in Russia, Souter has just released a daring album featuring her lyrics set to great classical works played jazz-style. She pulls it off beautifully. (RN)



The Uptown Groove

[ Jazz ]

Rochester five-piece The Uptown Groove isn’t afraid to mix things up. Instrumental jazz songs blend with rock ballads, Motown tunes, a little R&B, and pretty much everything in between. Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” Grover Washington’s “Just the Two of Us,” and James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” all have a home on the Groove’s wide-ranging repertoire list. If you haven’t already seen them gigging around town, now’s your chance. (WC)



Yggdrasil featuring Eivor


Yggdrasil founder Kristian Blak was born in Denmark but he has spent most of the last two decades in the Faroe Islands (in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Norway). That’s where he assembled Yggdrasil, a band with a name from Norse mythology, based on the idea of a “world tree.” When the group appeared at a previous RIJF, audiences loved its ethereal sound. This year Yggdrasil will be enhanced by Faroe Islands singer Eivør, whose haunting vocal style falls somewhere between that of Melanie and Kate Bush. (RN)




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