Sunday, June 24
Beats & Pieces Big Band (Progressive big band) Manchester's Beats & Pieces are a big band in all sense of the label except the music. That is to say it doesn't play typical big band music, but in size — 14 members — it is a big band. It is angular and explosive and it'll certainly be a ball seeing them doing it in a church. (FD) beatsnpieces.net
Bill Dobbins (Straight-ahead jazz) Many jazz fans think of Bill Dobbins as the consummate big band director. He not only conducts the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Eastman Studio Orchestra, European jazz aficionados remember him as the long-time conductor of the WDR Big Band and Metropole Orchestra. But Dobbins is also an excellent pianist who has played with Clark Terry, Phil Woods, and Peter Erskine. (RN) esm.rochester.edu/faculty/dobbins_bill
Christian Sands Trio (Straight-ahead jazz) Still in his 20's, pianist Christian Sands is turning heads with his gorgeous lyrical playing. During his teen years, Sands was mentored by piano great Billy Taylor, who had him close a set at a Kennedy Center performance. Sands studied at the Manhattan School of Music before touring with Christian McBride's Inside Straight. (RN) christiansandsjazz.com
Colin Gordon (Straight-ahead jazz) If you wonder how saxophonist Colin Gordon acquired his gorgeous tone in his serpentine solos, consider the fact that he studied with some of the finest saxophonists playing today, including Steve Wilson, Eric Alexander, and Ramon Ricker. When it comes to repertoire, Gordon, who has played at festivals all over the world, seems to favor one of America's greatest composers, Thelonious Monk. (RN) colingordonmusic.com
The Dustbowl Revival (Americana) Americana bands mix their music with, on average, two or three styles. Los Angeles-based octet The Dustbowl Revival mixes them all so smoothly it comes out of the oven as one hot, delicious dirge and boogie. (FD) dustbowlrevival.com
Jack Broadbent (Blues) Click here for a feature.
Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider (Straight-ahead jazz) Visiting musicians who play at the XRIJF stay at the Hyatt Regency Rochester Hotel, and when they finish their final sets, they are sometimes so wound up they need to blow off steam at the nightly jam session, this year held at The Street Craft Kitchen & Bar. Guitarist extraordinaire Bob Sneider, who has toured with Chuck Mangione and played with a Who's Who of jazz greats, gets things started at 10:30 p.m. Past jammers have included Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, and Eric Alexander. (RN) bobsneider.net
Knower (Electronic) Calling this band pop or even contemporary new wave would be missing the point. Los Angeles-based Knower is pure jazz exploration with synth-pop tools. The vocals are enchanting. (FD) knowermusic.bandcamp.com
Kuara Trio (Progressive jazz) In recent decades, some of the most fascinating explorations and expansions of jazz language have come from Scandinavian countries. As the Kuara Trio, Finland's Markku Ounaskari (drums and percussion) and Samuli Mikkonen (piano) and Norway's Trygve Seim (tenor and soprano saxophones) explore diverse genres, like Fenno-Ugrian folk music and old Russian hymns in a jazz context. (RN) kuara.org
Moon Hooch (Dance) It's not a question of if you'll dance to Moon Hooch; it's how wild will you go. The Brooklyn-based trio — saxophonists Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen and drummer James Muschler — has a sound that's closer to electronic dance music than anything. And there are a few electronics thrown into the mix, but you'll mostly see the band masterfully controlling their instruments to create what it calls "cave music." Gut-shaking lows, a soaring melody, and a muscular, unstoppable drum groove. It's complex, energetic, and going to make you sweat. (JC) moonhooch.com.
One For All (Straight-ahead jazz) Formed in 1997, One For All is an all-star ensemble in the spirit of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. With Eric Alexander on saxophone; Jim Rotondi, trumpet; Steve Davis, trombone; David Hazeltine, piano; John Webber, bass; and Joe Farnsworth on drums, the group will feature one great solo after another, but all for the common good. (RN) stevedavismusic.com/one-for-all/
Paradigm Shift & The Pshift Horns (Jazz, funk) Slipping easily into Wes Montgomery-style solos, guitarist Mel Henderson has enhanced the music of Jack McDuff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and others. Organ wizard Gerry Youngman has played his Hammond B3 with Martha Reeves, The Drifters, and more. Sean Jefferson holds the trio together on drums. The sum of these parts is Paradigm Shift, a trio that's enlivened Rochester festivals for decades. At this year's XRIJF the trio will be augmented with horns. (RN) psjazz.com
Sonidos Unidos (Latin) This Latin love affair will give you polyrhythmic joy with its polyrhythmic flow. A cross between a smile you can shake to and a lap dance you can enjoy while standing up. (FD) facebook.com/Sonidosunidosmusic
Star People with Bobby Militello (Straight-ahead jazz) When the great Paul Desmond died in 1977, Dave Brubeck needed a top-notch saxophonist to fill that chair. One night while watching Maynard Ferguson's band in the late-1970's, Brubeck found his man: Buffalo's Bobby Militello. Militello joined the legendary quartet in the early 1980's, and stayed with Brubeck until the pianist's death in 2012. (RN)
Triocity (Straight-ahead jazz) Multi-reedist Charles Pillow has lent his talents to Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and many others. Drummer Rich Thompson has played with Clark Terry, Marian McPartland, and Dizzy Gillespie. And bassist Jeff Campbell has shared the stage with McPartland, Gene Bertoncini, Rich Perry, and others. Together, these three Eastman School of Music faculty members are Triocity. (RN)