Pat Metheny to headline opening night at Jazz Festival

Pat Metheny, who has a Grammy Award in more categories than any artist, headlines opening night at the 2023 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival. (Photo provided)

Iconic jazz guitarist Pat Metheny will headline opening night at the 20th annual CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Tickets for the June 23 performance of Pat Metheny Side-Eye at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday on the Jazz Fest website. Prices for the 8 p.m. show range from $50 to $90 (including service charges).

Metheny, winner of 20 Grammy Awards and voted Guitarist of the Year in a 2022 DownBeat Readers Poll, will be joined on stage by Chris Fishman on piano and keyboards and Joe Dyson on drums.

Nominated for Grammys in 13 different categories, Metheny has won in a record 10 categories. Now 68, he has been part of the international jazz scene since 1974.

The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival was founded in 2002 and this year runs from June 23 to July 1. The multi-dimensional nine-day festival is held annually in downtown Rochester, drawing more than 210,000 people for performances by more than 1,750 artists in more than 300 shows at 20 venues.

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Jazz Fest producers preparing for 2022 edition

Planning for the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is underway, with plans to hold the popular event in June 2022.

Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, festival producers John Nugent and Mark Iacona have been working continuously and collaborating with colleagues in the music and entertainment industry globally to ensure that the festival’s return will be one to remember, officials said.

“We are extremely excited to bring the Festival back to Downtown Rochester,” said Nugent, who also serves as the event’s artistic director. “It has been a stressful two years of scheduling, postponing, rescheduling and postponing again and again. Finally, though, on June 17, 2022, our much-anticipated 19th edition will open.”

The full lineup and complete festival details will be announced at an annual media event on March 15, 2022.

“Postponing our Jazz Festival for two years in a row has left a void for all of us,” said Executive Director Iacona. “We can look forward once again to hearing vibrant music from around the world in June in downtown Rochester.”

Booking is underway for the 2022 Club Pass Series, giving the right of first refusal to artists originally booked for the 19th Edition. The 2022 Club Pass Series will feature 219 sets of music at 12 venues in downtown Rochester including the Bethel Church, Hatch Hall, the Hyatt Regency Ballroom, Kilbourn Hall, the Little Theatre, the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Max of Eastman Place, Montage Music Hall, Temple Theater, Theater at Innovation Square, Rochester Regional Health Big Tent and the Wilder Room. Several venues will be new in 2022.

Patrons who hold club pass series tickets for the pandemic-postponed 19th edition do not need to do anything as their tickets are automatically valid for the 2022 festival or 2023 festival if they are unable to attend in 2022. As in prior years, club pass tickets may be redeemed for passes at the ticket shop. Hours and dates for the shop will be announced closer to the festival.

Nearly all of the club pass ticket holders kept their tickets for the 2022 festival, so festival producers will not put club passes on sale until spring 2022, and quantities will be limited.

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Jazz Fest full lineup announced; ticket sales paused

CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival producers have announced the full 2020 lineup, but have suspended headliner and club pass ticket sales until later this spring.

“With the continued heightened concern over the coronavirus pandemic and the rapidly evolving decisions being announced by government and health officials, we are all experiencing significant disruption in all aspects of our lives,” producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent said in a statement Wednesday, one day after announcing the popular event’s full schedule. “With concern for everyone’s financial situation, we feel it best at this time to temporarily suspend ticket sales for headliner concerts and Club Passes until May 10.”

The nine-day event will run from June 19 to June 27 and feature more than 335 shows at 21 venues. Taj Mahal, Kool and the Gang, the Allman Betts Band and Tommy Emmanuel will headline free shows during the festival.

Now in its 19th year, the Jazz Fest will include more than 100 free shows, as well as ticketed performances by Nile Rodgers and CHIC, Spyro Gyra, Garth Fagan Dance & Monty Alexander, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Puss ‘N Boots and more.

“We’re extremely excited with the musical collage of this year’s program,” Nugent said in a statement Tuesday. “We have assembled creative styles and high-level artistry that will without question delight the ears of our loyal patrons and bring them to new heights of artistic joy.”

This year’s Jazz Festival will return with nightly jam sessions at the Hyatt Regency Rochester, led by Bob Sneider and Karl Stabnau. From June 22 through June 26, youth and adult musicians can learn to improvise at free jazz workshops, while hundreds of young musicians from 21 area schools and Eastman School will perform at the festival.

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First Jazz Fest headliners announced

The first headliners of the 2020 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival have been announced and include a local legend.

Garth Fagan Dance and Monty Alexander (photo provided)
Garth Fagan Dance and Monty Alexander (photo provided)

Garth Fagan Dance with Monty Alexander will perform June 24, 2020, while Nile Rodgers & CHIC will take the Jazz Fest stage June 26. Spyro Gyra will return to the festival for the first time in more than 15 years when the band performs June 23.

Nile Rodgers is a multi-Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger and

Nile Rodgers (photo provided)
Nile Rodgers (photo provided)

guitarist who co-founded CHIC. Rodgers also is the newly elected chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Garth Fagan Dance, a Rochester nonprofit with international reach, will celebrate 50 years of dance when the troupe performs with longtime friend Monty Alexander and his Sextet.

Spyro Gyra (photo provided)
Spyro Gyra (photo provided)

Now in its 45th year as a band, Spyro Gyra came from humble roots in Buffalo to become an internationally known contemporary jazz band.

Tickets for the shows go on sale Friday, Dec. 6, at 10 a.m. and festival producers again this year will offer three- and nine-day club passes that allow festivalgoers access to more than 225 shows at 13 venues.

The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival will run from June 19 to June 27, 2020. Last year’s festival had an attendance of more than 208,000. The festival is produced by John Nugent and Marc Iacona.

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Michelin-star-winning chef headlines June fundraiser

Richard Reddington, the Michelin-star winning chef who ran two acclaimed restaurants in the Napa Valley region, will highlight a foodie fundraising event on the site of the annual jazz fest in Rochester. Reddington plans to open a restaurant in Rochester this spring.

The chef will headline SAVOR!, a fundraiser for Rochester Regional Health on June 18. The event will feature 50 food and beverage creators from the region at the site of the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival three days before the festival opens, acting as an unofficial opening act.  

A native Rochesterian, Reddington and homegrown developer Dennis Wilmot are planning to open Redd restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Restaurant 2 Vine. Reddington closed his fine-dining restaurant also named Redd in Yountville, Calif., to move back to the Rochester area. He continues to maintain an interest in a more casual restaurant he started in Yountville known as Redd Wood.  

SAVOR! will raise money for women’s health and pediatric services provided by Rochester Regional Health. Rochester Regional Health Foundation President Michele Grazulis said the event is “a special opportunity to celebrate the culinary and artistic talents of fellow Rochesterians. I can’t think of a better person to lead the charge this year than Richard Reddington, and I can’t think of a better way for our community to welcome him home.” Tickets are on sale now online for the event, which has sold out for the last three years.

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Headliners added to CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival

The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival has signed three additional headliners.

Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum

Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra will perform June 26 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, while Patti LaBelle will take the stage June 22. Marc Cohn and special guest vocalists the Blind Boys of Alabama are slated to perform June 25.

Previously announced acts for the 2019 Jazz Fest include George Benson and the Steve Gadd Band.

Goldblum, the “Jurassic Park” and “Independence Day” actor, is an accomplished pianist who recently signed with Decca Records and recorded his first full-length record, “Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, the Capitol Studios Sessions.”

Patti LaBelle
Patti LaBelle

Perhaps best known for her hits “Lady Marmalade” and “Stir it Up,” songstress Patti LaBelle has been belting out hits for decades. In 2017, LaBelle released her first jazz album, “Bel Hommage.”

Cohn, a singer-songwriter who won a Grammy for his ballad “Walking in Memphis,” will be joined by the Blind Boys of Alabama, a group whose original members first sang together as kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s.

The festival runs from June 21 to June 29 and will feature more than 1,500 artists in more than 320 shows at 20 venues in downtown Rochester. Tickets for Goldblum, LaBella and Cohn go on sale Jan. 25; tickets for previously announced headliners are on sale now.

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Jazz fest passes go on sale Friday; all are shareable this year

Jazz Fest fans will be able to freely swap their club passes this year, and a few venues are swapping in and out, too.

Co-Producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona released an announcement on Tuesday saying that club passes for the CGI Rochester International Jazz Fest will go on sale for the 2019 festival at 10 a.m. Friday.

They also announced what’s in, what’s out and what’s in play in terms of venues; Xerox Auditorium, for instance, is in limbo because the building is for sale. The Little Theatre will take a pass this year because of ongoing renovations.

Two venues leaving the festival are the Harro East Ballroom, and Anthology. In their place will be Geva Theatre Center and the M&T Bank Pavilion.

Iacona said Geva will host two Jazz Fests shows for all nine nights of the festival.

The new M&T Bank Pavilion will accommodate 1000 patrons for 21 Club Pass shows,” Iacona said. “We will be announcing the location for this new venue very soon, so stay tuned.”

Nine-day passes will allow patrons their choice of 220 ticketed shows. A three-day pass is also available for any three days that the owner chooses to use it. Seats at the club shows are first-come, first-served and tickets can also be purchased for individual shows. 

“Based on the popularity and demand for the Shareable Club Pass that we introduced last year, this year all passes will be fully shareable and transferable,” said Nugent. Ticket holders will no longer need to take photos for their passes, which Nugent said would simplify the process of exchanging a paid voucher for the physical pass.

“The individual ticket cost for two shows a day for nine days would be almost $600 so the pass offers big savings,” Nugent pointed out. Pass prices are at their lowest ($200 for the nine-day ticket and a processing fee) until Dec. 31. Prices go up a second time after March 31 if tickets haven’t sold out by then.

In addition to the shows in the club venues, the festival typically offers more than 90 free shows, workshops for students, a series of tickets shows by headliners at the Eastman Theatre. The headliners haven’t been announced yet and usually are announced as soon as contracts are finalized.  

Since the festival began in 2002, its attendance numbers have risen from 15,000 the inaugural year to 208,000 in 2018.

Club passes can be purchased online or over the phone at (585) 454-2060.

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