Tuesday, June 27
Bill Evans Band Featuring Tommy Smith (Straight-ahead jazz) He's played with jazz, rock, and country greats, ranging from Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock to Gregg Allman and Willie Nelson, so saxophonist Bill Evans is prepared for any musical challenge. At the XRIJF he'll be joined by another great saxophonist, Scotland's Tommy Smith. Smith recorded his first album at 16, and by 18 was touring with Gary Burton. Since then he has worked with Joe Locke, John Scofield, and Joe Lovano. (RN) billevanssax.com; tommy-smith.co.uk
Charlie Hunter Trio (Exploratory guitar) First of all, the cat has the advantage of playing seven- and eight-string guitars, but you'll swear there are more as Charlie Hunter plays with harmonies and the low notes. You'll swear it's two guitars ... or more. (FD) charliehunter.com
Christian Crawford (Straight-ahead jazz) Christian Crawford is an up-and-coming trumpet player who recently graduated from the Eastman School of Music. Originally from Long Island, Crawford has been known to play in the bands for musicals and in church groups. At the XRIJF, he'll be showcasing his love of jazz standards. (RN) facebook.com/christiancrawfordmusic
Dave O'Higgins Atlantic Bridge Quartet (Hard bop jazz) British saxophonist Dave O'Higgins has a melodic sound reminiscent of Stan Getz. His quartet — featuring Jeb Patton on piano; Clovis Nicolas, bass; and drummer Luca Santaniello — brings together top musicians from around the world, all of whom now reside in New York. Suffice it to say, they all speak the common musical language of hard bop jazz. (RN) daveohiggins.com
Eri Yamamoto (Straight-ahead jazz) Born in Osaka, Japan, Eri Yamamoto began classical piano lessons at the age of 3. After hearing pianist Tommy Flanagan on a trip to New York in 1995, she was so taken with jazz music that she moved to the city and enrolled in the jazz program at New York University. Since then she has taken her gorgeous, impressionistic style to clubs and festivals around the world. (RN) eriyamamoto.com
Hot Club of Cowtown (Western swing) It can be a bit like watching a tennis match in a flea circus when you see this Texas Western swing trio trade off licks and riffs. As much Django Reinhardt as Bob Wills, Hot Club of Cowtown is an all-star, rhythm-driven cavalcade. (FD) hotclubofcowtown.com
Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Jazz jam) Click here for more information.
Kendrick Scott's Oracle (Straight-ahead jazz) For some drummers, it's more than just holding down the beat from a throne in the back. Grammy nominee Kendrick Scott plays in an ever-moving drive, offering the listener a respite from the straight, vanilla time. His drum tone is natural and organic, with flourishes of brass interjected where it feels right. (FD) kendrickscott.com
LSAT (Straight-ahead jazz) This is not a test. LSAT stands for two emerging stars on the saxophone: Lauren Sevian and Alexa Tarantino. XRIJF attendees may remember Tarantino as the Eastman School of Music student who, in 2014, stepped on the stage and blew everyone away playing with Earth, Wind & Fire. Sevian, a veteran of the Mingus Big Band, is a natural force on the baritone sax. (RN) laurensevian.com; alexatarantino.com
Mario Rom Interzone (Freeform jazz) Featuring Austrian trumpeter Mario Rom, this thrilling threesome goes from sublime and swingin' to rather angular in the blink of an eye. It's "Blue Velvet" one minute, and obtuse meanderings the next. Fun and fascinating. (FD) marioromsinterzone.bandcamp.com
Monty Alexander (Straight-ahead jazz) As a teenager, pianist Monty Alexander took in all he could from the local jazz and folk clubs in his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. After moving to Miami in the early 1960's Alexander got deeper into jazz, resulting in gigs in some of New York's hottest clubs. Since then he's established a reputation as a distinctive jazz pianist who occasionally returns to his Jamaican roots. (RN) montyalexander.com
Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (Big Band Jazz) If the title didn't give it away, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra is a big band made up of high school students. Whether they are soloing or playing complex charts, these are some of the most talented high school musicians in North America, and they are brought together every summer to play at the most prestigious jazz festivals. (RN) montereyjazzfestival.org/NGJO
New Breed Brass Band (New Orleans jazz) For more information, click here.
Ole Mathisen Floating Points (Avant-garde jazz) Born in Norway, Ole Mathisen is now an established member of the New York City progressive jazz scene. A tenor saxophonist with a muscular sound, Mathisen is equally at home in an acoustic setting or a more fusion-oriented electronic band. (RN) olemathisen.com
HEADLINER | Postmodern Jukebox (Pop, jazz) Check out our interview with leader Scott Bradlee here.
Steve Kuhn Trio (Straight-ahead jazz) Classically trained on the piano, Steve Kuhn attended Harvard University but spent much of his time playing with his trio at a club in Harvard Square. That's where he met musicians like Coleman Hawkins and Chet Baker and began to build his reputation. He was playing with Kenny Dorham in 1960 when he was asked to join John Coltrane's band. The gig only lasted eight weeks, but it laid the groundwork for a career that has spawned dozens of albums as a leader. (RN) stevekuhnmusic.com
Vanessa Rubin (Vocal jazz) With an irresistibly lilting vocal style, Vanessa Rubin effortlessly glides through everything from soul tunes and original songs to challenging jazz classics, like Coltrane's "Giant Steps." After her surprise victory singing in a talent contest, Rubin emerged from the Cleveland club scene to follow in the footsteps of great vocalists like Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae. (RN) vanessarubin.com
Vanishing Sun Band (Drum and bass) This Rochester band mixes old-school funk tones and sensibilities with an urgent beat that waxes original and new. Fresh and fun. (FD) vanishingsun.com