Rochester International Jazz Festival

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Coordinates: 43°09′43″N 77°37′01″W / 43.162064°N 77.616846°W / 43.162064; -77.616846

CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival Presented by M&T Bank
Rochester International Jazz Festival logo.jpg
Location(s)Rochester, New York
Years active2002-Present
Founded byJohn Nugent, Marc Iacona
WebsiteOfficial website

Established in 2002, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival Presented by M&T Bank takes place in June of each year, in Rochester, New York. It is owned and produced by RIJF, LLC, whose principals are John Nugent, Co-Producer and Artistic Director, and Marc Iacona, Co-Producer and Executive Director.

The nine-day festival is held at 20+ diverse venues throughout downtown Rochester New York's East End cultural and entertainment district, including Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, Hatch Recital Hall, Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Rochester Regional Health Big Tent, Max of Eastman Place, Montage Music Hall, The Auditorium at Broad and Chestnut, Wilder Room, The Little Theatre, Bethel Christian Fellowship, and multiple outdoor free stages and venues - all within walking distance and many on "Jazz Street" (otherwise known as Gibbs Street during the rest of the year), which is closed off for the festival's nine days. More than 90 free concerts and events are presented on outdoor stages and other free venues. A five-day Jazz Workshop provides an opportunity for elementary and high school music students to learn from and play alongside noted musicians performing at the festival. The festival supports the RIJF Eastman School of Music Jazz Scholarship, which has awarded almost $500,000 in scholarships since 2002 to 40 students to attend the Eastman School of Music.

In 2019, the festival also drew more than 208,000 to see 1750+ musicians from around the world perform in 325+ shows.

In 2018, the festival drew a record-setting crowd of more than 208,000 people from around the world to see more than 1500 musicians from 20 countries performed in 320+ shows.

CGI Communications became the festival's new title sponsor as of July 2018, succeeding Xerox, which was the title sponsor for 10 years from 2009 through 2018.[1] M&T Bank is the presenting sponsor.[1]

In 2009, attendance was estimated at a record 133,000 for the 225 concerts presented.[2]

In 2010, 162,000 people attended the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival's 250 concerts presented over nine days, breaking the record set the prior year of 133,000.[3]

2011 saw another record-setting year with 285 concerts presented over nine days and in 18 different venues. Attendance reached an all-time high of 182,000.[4]

In 2012, the 11th Edition hit another attendance record of 187,000, a record number of headliner sell-outs, the addition of new venue, Hatch Recital Hall and 9 days of spectacular weather. Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Esperanza Spalding, Zappa Plays Zappa, and Daryl Hall "Live From Daryl's House" with special guest Keb' Mo' headlined this year.

Festival history[edit]

Year Days Headliners No. of shows No. of venues Est. attendance Notes
2002 7 Aretha Franklin
Average White Band
The Blues Brothers Band
Dr. John
Norah Jones
The Rippingtons
Sonny Rollins
50 14 15,000 Jones was booked as an up-and-comer, before her debut album was released—but she performed as a new superstar after it became a runaway success; Franklin concert held at Frontier Field; Chris Botti opened for The Rippingtons
2003 10 Tony Bennett
George Benson
Dave Brubeck
Al Jarreau
Spyro Gyra
14 30,000
2004 9 Yolanda Adams
Stanley Clarke
Al Di Meola
Bobby McFerrin
Marian McPartland
Oscar Peterson
Jean-Luc Ponty
David Sanborn
55,000 First year that Gibbs Street was renamed "Jazz Street"; first year for the RIJF Big Tent
2005 9 The Bad Plus
Chris Botti & Madeleine Peyroux
Dave Brubeck
Chick Corea
Sonny Rollins
2006 9 Woody Allen
James Brown
Etta James
80,000 First year club passes sold out[5]
2007 9 Dave Brubeck Quartet
Dr. John and Madeleine Peyroux
Jerry Lee Lewis
Wynton Marsalis & Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
Raul Midon and "King" Solomon Burke
Jean-Luc Ponty, Trio Beyond
200+[6] 18[6] 120,000 First year for Nordic Jazz Now
2008 9 Al Green
Medeski Martin & Wood
Boz Scaggs
125,000 Jake Shimabukuro, Carolyn Wonderland, and Catherine Russell also appeared
2009 9 Dave Brubeck
Michael McDonald
Smokey Robinson
Jake Shimabukuro & Carolyn Wonderland
Susan Tedeschi & Taj Mahal
225 133,000 First year with Xerox as title sponsor
2010 9 Jeff Beck
Herbie Hancock
Keb' Mo'
Gladys Knight
John Pizzarelli
Bernie Williams
250 15 162,000 A second Jeff Beck concert was added after the first sold out; club passes also sold out in advance; Trombone Shorty appeared; Smash Mouth closes
2011 9 Chris Botti
Natalie Cole
Elvis Costello
The Fab Faux
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
k.d. lang
285 18 182,000 Club passes sold out two months in advance; Kevin Eubanks appears; Trombone Shorty plays a free show; G Love and Special Sauce close out the festival
2012 9 Daryl Hall with Keb' Mo'
Norah Jones
Diana Krall
Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
Esperanza Spalding
Zappa Plays Zappa
> 300 19 187,000 A second Steve Martin concert was added after the first sold out; club passes sold out four-and-a-half months in advance, before shows were even announced; Trombone Shorty appears for the third straight year
2013 9 David Byrne & St. Vincent
Peter Frampton with Robert Cray
Roger Hodgson
Bob James & David Sanborn with Steve Gadd
Willie Nelson and Family
Pink Martini
280 19 195,000 Trombone Shorty again closes the festival with a free concert
2014 9 Earth, Wind & Fire
Buddy Guy
Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers ft. Edie Brickell
Michael McDonald
Janelle Monáe
322 20 196,000 Just as in 2012, a second Steve Martin show was added after the first quickly sold out; Bob James appears for second straight year, this time as a member of Fourplay
2015 9 Herb Alpert and Lani Hall
Gary Clark, Jr., with Beth Hart
Steve Gadd Band with special surprise guest
Jennifer Hudson
Diana Krall
Steep Canyon Rangers
Tedeschi Trucks Band with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Doyle Bramhall
> 325 19 TBD James Taylor was Gadd's surprise guest; Blood, Sweat & Tears and Trombone Shorty among free concerts; Yellowjackets, Joey Alexander, and Grace Kelly among the club shows

Steve Gadd's 70th birthday concert was recorded and later released as a Grammy-nominated album, Way Back Home: Live from Rochester, NY

2016 9 Gregg Allman
Erykah Badu
Chris Botti
Chick Corea "Trilogy" Trio with Joey Alexander
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
Grace Potter
325[7] 18 205,000 Trombone Shorty again closes the festival with a free concert
2017 9 Sheryl Crow
King Crimson
Maceo Parker and the Ray Charles Orchestra ft. The Raelettes
Postmodern Jukebox
Mavis Staples
Joss Stone
Monty Alexander
2018 9 Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
Alison Krauss
Lake Street Dive
Boz Scaggs
Jill Scott
300+ 20 208,000  
2019 9 George Benson
Marc Cohn w/ The Blind Boys of Alabama
Steve Gadd
Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
Patti LaBelle
Steve Miller Band
320+ 20 TBA Club shows include Downchild Blues Band's 50th anniversary tour with Dan Aykroyd; Yellowjackets; Acoustic Alchemy; and Jake Shimabukuro. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue again close the festival, their seventh festival appearance.
2020 9 Garth Fagan Dance
Puss n Boots ft. Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones, Catherine Popper
Nile Rogers & Chic
Spyro Gyra
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Wynonna & the Big Noise w/ Country Tribute Celebration
0 0 0 Rescheduled to October (to be held at Rochester Institute of Technology) then canceled entirely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Puss n Boots member Norah Jones previously headlined the festival as a solo act in 2002 and 2012.
2021 9   0 0 0 Puss n Boots and Spyro Gyra were confirmed for 2021 before the event was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.
2022 9 Devon Allman Project w/ Dirty Dozen Brass Band & Samantha Fish
The Bacon Brothers
Chris Botti
Sheila E.
Tommy Emmanuel
G Love & Special Sauce
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
New Power Generation
Spyro Gyra
Booker T Presents: A Soul Stax Revue
Robin Thicke
325 20 210,000 All headline concerts held outdoors, without tickets or admission cost.
Wynonna Judd was scheduled as a headliner before cancelling after the death of her mother. She was replaced by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.
Chris Botti appears for the fifth time, third time as a solo headliner; Devon Allman is the son of 2016 headliner Gregg Allman; G Love & Special Sauce previously played a free concert in 2011.
  • Table data gleaned from [8] and[9]

2009 appearances[edit]

The 2009 lineup of major performances was announced on March 24, 2009.[10]


Other appearances[edit]

2010 appearances[edit]


The following headlining acts all played ticketed shows at Eastman Theatre

Other Appearances[edit]

  • Trombone Shorty played three nights in a row at the festival
  • Los Lonely Boys made a repeat appearance, playing a free outdoor show
  • Smash Mouth closed the festival with a packed, free, outdoor finale concert.

Past performers[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Rochester International Jazz Festival Announces New Title Sponsor". 17 July 2018. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  2. ^ All About Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  3. ^ "Rochester International Jazz Festival". Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  4. ^ "Rochester International Jazz Festival | June 17 - 25, 2022". Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Rochester International Jazz Festival 6th Edition is in Full Swing June 8–16 -- Legendary Performers, Hottest Emerging Artists, International Soul, Free Concerts", PRWeb, retrieved 4 September 2020
  6. ^ a b "Rochester International Jazz Festival", Ro, retrieved 4 September 2020
  7. ^ Marcia Greenwood, "Jazz fest 2016, by the numbers", Democrat and Chronicle, retrieved 4 September 2020
  8. ^ Spevak, Jeff (June 5, 2011). "10 Years of Jazz". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, New York. pp. 3C, 8C. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  9. ^ "Rochester International Jazz Festival", Ro, retrieved 4 September 2020
  10. ^[dead link]

External links[edit]