JazzRochester at the 2023 RIJF: My picks for June 25th
JazzRochester at the 2023 RIJF: My picks for June 27th

JazzRochester at the 2023 RIJF: My picks for June 26th

JUNE26.KURT.ROSENWINKELThe fourth night of the Rochester International Jazz Festival seems to have become the "night of the guitar" as my picks are predominantly lead by pickers (or guitar is featured) . . . oh, and vocalists. However, despite the uniformity of instrumentation, there is a lot of variation in these choices. You do you, but if you're interested, here is what I think will be a good bet to wrap your ears around:
  • First stop, as often is the case, will be Kilbourn for the Kurt Rosenwinkel Quartet. Rosenwinkel is a genre-bending player and composer who has jazz chops formed early in his career by being Joe Henderson's guitarist, through working with Gary Burton, Paul Motian, Brian Blade, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, Seamus Blake, and even Steely Dan's Donald Fagen. After a number of years with Verve, in 2016 Rosenwinkel has set up his own label, Heartcore, that focuses on developing young musicians and also allows him a lot of room to explore his own music. Recent projects include a Undercover, recorded live at the Village Vanguard and a reimagining of Chopin's piano music, The Chopin Project. Kurt Rosenwinkel Quartet will be playing Kilbourn Hall at 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm.
  • The Olli Hirvonen Group will be a stop as well. This Finnish guitarist has been plying his trade in NYC since 2011. Listening to recent recordings, Hirvonen can move from achingly beautiful and sparse compositions to shredding those strings. The sounds of his guitar should resonate in the soaring sanctuary of Christ Church, where the Olli Hirvonen Group will be playing at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm.
  • Victoria Victoria is the alter ego of North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Tori Elliot, with whom guitarist Charlie Hunter collaborated to produce the album To the Wayside.... Jazz? Not really... but the vocals and harmonies, Hunter's reserved playing, and the songwriting are often beautiful. Victoria Victoria with Charlie Hunter will be playing at Montage Music Hall at 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
  • While Dawn Thomson & Gary Versace are local to Rochester, they are known world-wide. Pianist, organist, and accordionist Gary Versace has worked with John Scofield, Maria Schneider, John Abercrombie, Anat Cohen, Al Foster, Regina Carter, Rich Perry, John Hollenbeck, Ralph Alessi, Kurt Elling, Madeleine Peyroux, Matt Wilson, Ingrid Jensen, among others. He also has been a prof in Eastman School of Music's Jazz Studies program since 2017. Guitarist and vocalist Dawn Thomson has worked with Gary, as well as Matt Wilson, Renee Rosnes, Ron Miles and many others and has released 6 CDs as a leader. She recorded and toured with Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt project, contributing vocals and guitar on its music inspired by the American poet Carl Sandburg. Their 2017 release won album of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association. Oh, and festival producer John Nugent is her spouse.... Dawn Thomson and Gary Versace will be playing the Eastman School of Music's Hatch Recital Hall at 5:45 pm and 7:45 pm.
  • A Rochester native, singer Nancy Kelly is well-known here, but she is also known throughout the U.S. and world-wide. She sings with the authority of someone who has been at it for many decades, swinging hard and cool, and as her bio notes with a "take no prisoners" attitude. Her phrasing and nuance stand out. Known as a "singer's singer," Nancy Kelly has twice been named “Best Female Jazz Vocalist” in the Down Beat Readers’ Poll, and has recorded six critically-acclaimed CDs, including B That Way, which enjoyed 8 solid weeks in the top 50 on the JazzWeek jazz radio charts, and Remembering Mark Murphy, named one of the top 20 Jazz recordings of 2019. Her most recent recording is Jazz Woman: The Reel to Real Sessions, which is a collection of songs she wrote early in her career when she was singing in a number of genres as she found her way to jazz. Nancy Kelly is playing the Wilder Room at 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm
Given the local artists I'm including in this post, I also want to call your attention to my earlier post that collects all of the talented musicians from the Rochester area playing at this year's RIJF.
This post was originally published on JazzRochester.


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