Inaugural Rochester Jazz Festival Announces Lineup


Aretha Franklin, Sonny Rollins, Dianne Reeves, Dr. John, and jazz festival favorites such as Medeski Martin & Wood, Terence Blanchard, Joe Lovano and Brad Mehldau will headline the first edition of the Rochester International Jazz Festival (RIJF), June 3-9.

Advance tickets go on sale Saturday March 9.

Organizers announced today the festival’s complete line-up of more than 50 critically acclaimed jazz and contemporary music artists, a free series of eight jazz films, and a series of free concerts and educational workshops for students. Complete details including the schedule, artist profiles and MP3 samples are now available on the festival website at

The program embraces a wealth of innovative talent and inspiring sounds that will easily make Rochester the destination for jazz early this summer. The nation’s newest international jazz festival will offer something for everyone.

“We’ve worked extremely hard to develop the premiere edition of the Rochester International Jazz Festival. We’ve strived to create an innovative, diverse and all encompassing lineup which includes renowned jazz and creative, improvising artists from around the globe,” said John Nugent, producer of the event. Nugent is President of NY JAM, INC., producer of international concert tours and jazz events including the long-running successful Stockholm Jazz Festival, now in its 19th year.

Ticketed show prices range from $10 to $35. Tickets are available online at, at Wegmans Ticket Outlets in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey for Frontier Field, High Falls and Jazz Pass shows. Tickets for Eastman Theatre shows are only available at the RBTL Box Office (Ticket Express) or online at Advance discounts are available for many events. For details, see brochures available March 15 at Wegmans and other locations throughout Rochester, the festival website or call 585-234-2002.

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    Benjamin possessed a fluid, round sound on the alto saxophone, and he was often most recognizable by the layers of electronic effects that he put onto the instrument.

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    Sanborn’s highly stylized playing and searing signature sound — frequently ornamented with thrill-inducing split-tones and bluesy bent notes — influenced generations of jazz and blues saxophonists.

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    ​Albert “Tootie” Heath (1935–2024) followed in the tradition of drummer Kenny Clarke, his idol.

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    Henry Threadgill performs with Zooid at Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • MichaelCuscuna_Katz_2042_6a_1995_copy.jpg

    Cuscuna played a singular role in the world of jazz as a producer of new jazz, R&B and rock recordings; as co-founder of a leading reissue record label; as a historian, journalist and DJ; and as the man who singlehandedly kept the Blue Note label on life support.

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