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Rochester International Jazz Festival

David Schopper

Visitors: 228

20009 marked the 175th Anniversary of the Founding of Rochester. All residents in, around and beyond Rochester were invited to participate in the celebration and the events scheduled as part of it. Locals were encouraged to volunteer, organize, and of course attend the many events planned as part of this special year.

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival celebrated with Rochester its eighth year of musical variety this June. The art of Jazz consists of a jambalaya of African, African American, Southern and European music traditions. Improvisation, syncopation, blues notes, and poly-rhythms form the genre known as jazz. The most unusual aspect of the Rochester International Festival is the number of venues provided for the public. All nine days, at The City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage (Gibbs Street at East Avenue), you can enjoy entertainment by the best local and international artists presented free of charge by the Rochester Community Foundation.

The City of Rochester Stage (East Avenue and Alexander Street) presented by M&T Bank gives access to the citizens providing two evenings of jazz at its best. The Campbell Brothers and Robert Randolph and the Family Band highlighted the stage on June 19th, and the Bacci Band and The Fabulous Thunderbirds took over on the 20th. These concerts allow anyone strolling by to stop and listen to a few numbers, or stay the evening for the entire show. With multiple stages focusing on a variety of performers throughout the festival you can move from one venue to another enjoying the entire variety provided by this international musical gathering.

Also supported by the M&T Bank, the East Avenue and Chestnut Street Stage provides free headliner shows beginning at 7 p. m. nightly during the festival. The Marshall Tucker Band, Eddy The Chief’ Clearwater, Ryan Shaw, Tower of Power, Buckwheat Zydeco, and John Boutte entertained large crowds with everything from traditional rhythms to Southern zydeco. The variety of sight and sound gave everyone who crowded the venues ear-warming memories to last until next year’s festival.

The Central Library of Rochester provides an intimate venue for smaller groups (tickets required). Mike Cottone, the Matt Valerio Quartet, Bob Sneider Trio, and Matt Owens entertained in their theatre. Another enjoyable outing can be time spent on The Mary Jemison Boat featuring the Smugtown Stompers Dixieland Band and an evening of jazz cruising along the Genesee River.

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival grows yearly in popularity and in the quality musicians who make this a required stop in their annual schedules. Join the New York multitudes and join this must-hear kaleidoscope of sound when you plan your next vacation.


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