Wednesday, June 28
Bobby Militello Quartet (Straight-ahead jazz) Anyone who witnessed one of Bobby Militello's performances with Dave Brubeck at previous XRIJFs can attest to his prowess on saxophone. Militello was playing with Maynard Ferguson's band in the late 1970's when his urgent sound caught the ear of Brubeck, who had recently lost his long-time saxophonist Paul Desmond to cancer. Militello joined the legendary quartet in the early 1980's, and stayed with Brubeck until the pianist's death in 2012. (RN)
Charles Pillow's Large Ensemble Featuring Tim Hagans and Clay Jenkins (Straight-ahead jazz) Eastman School of Music faculty member Charles Pillow plays so many instruments he's practically an ensemble unto himself. But when his Large Ensemble takes the stage it will showcase his new project, "Electric Miles," featuring two great trumpeters, Tim Hagans and fellow Eastman faculty member Clay Jenkins, exploring the music of Miles Davis. (RN) charlespillow.com
Chris "C-Note" Northington (Jazz, blues) Steady sideman Chris "C-Note" Northington doesn't differentiate between genres or styles. Like Satchmo used to say, there are only two types of music: good and bad. Dig Northington as steps out as a leader and brings up the bottom end of the good music. (FD)
Electric Kif (Jazz fusion) With a tight dynamic attack and blend, the Miami-based Electric Kif offers up the challenge of jazz fusion without the confusion. It's high spirited and extremely high energy but doesn't seem hell-bent on confounding as others may do. (FD) electrickif.com
George Cables (Straight-ahead jazz) There is a reason George Cables became the pianist of choice for many of the top players in jazz, including Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and so many more. Cables has been one of the most dexterous and gorgeously lyrical keyboard players of the last 50 years. (RN) georgecables.com
Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Jazz jam) Click here for more information.
Klabbes Bank (Odd jazz) Compared to the synthetics in this Scandinavian group's make-up, the horns sound like inarticulate voices set together in some of the most beautifully structured chordal phrasings. Be prepared for the portions of freak out that pop up out of nowhere. (FD) klabbesbank.com
Marcia Ball (Blues) For a feature on Marcia Ball, click here.
Mark Kelso and The Jazz Exiles (Jazz fusion) He's a first-call Canadian drummer who has played with a "Who's Who" of jazz greats, including Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, and Randy and Michael Brecker. But when Mark Kelso leads his own band, The Jazz Exiles, he plays a slinky kind of funk-jazz-fusion that manages to be both complex and catchy. (RN) groovydrums.com
HEADLINER | Mavis Staples (R&B, gospel) The soul that comes out of this divine lady is staggering. Staples came to prominence in the 1950's, performing with her siblings in The Staple Singers. The group became so popular after releasing the 1956 hit "Uncloudy Day" they were referred to as God's Greatest Hitmakers. Still going strong at 77 as a solo artist, Staples recently released "Livin' on a High Note." (FD) livinonahighnote.com
Melissa Gardiner (Jazz trombone) The Salt City's Melissa Gardiner seems to pop up everywhere with her trombone: as a teacher at Cornell and Syracuse University, fronting her own organ trio, and occasionally playing with Rochester's Paradigm Shift. She has shared the stage with artists like Aretha Franklin, Geri Allen, and Wycliffe Gordon. (FD) melissamaymusic.com
Monty Alexander Trio (Straight-ahead jazz) Click here for more information.
Polly Gibbons (Vocal jazz) This lady must have lungs everywhere — one for each tone she emits. The British-born Polly Gibbons toys with the notes like a lion playing with its prey. (FD) pollygibbons.com
Ryan Keberle and Catharsis (Straight-ahead jazz) New York trombonist Ryan Keberle has rubbed elbows with artists like Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Justin Timberlake. In his own jazz realm, he's much more impactful and thoughtful while relying respectfully on tradition. (FD) ryankeberle.com
Roberto Occhipinti Trio (Straight-ahead jazz) A multiple Juno Award recipient for his work on the double bass, Occhipinti also composes and produces. Not limited by category walls, Occhipinti shines in classical and Latin settings as well. (FD) robertoocchipinti.com
Shauli Einav Quartet (Hard bop jazz) Israeli-born saxophonist Shauli Einav has a big tenor sound that has impressed audiences all over the world. That's only fitting for a musician who has led bands on three continents. He began working on the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv jazz scenes before moving to New York City and working with top players in the US. Now located in Paris, he continues in the hard bop tradition of Ben Webster, Hank Mobley, and Sonny Stitt. (RN) shaulieinav.com
Tommy Smith (Straight-ahead jazz) Considered one of the finest saxophonists of his generation, Scotland's Tommy Smith blows cool with a touch of heat. And this is the kind of artist that makes the XRIJF a high quality and truly international affair. He is the founder and current director of The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and an educator as well. (FD) tommysmith.co.uk