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Creative Services Department


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Sundays at 7 p.m., May 3-24 Rochester International Jazz Festival

(Rochester, NY)WXXI Public Broadcasting delivers more exciting sounds and scenes from Rochester, New York with its latest installment of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, shot during the nine-day festival in June 2008.  Season three of the Rochester International Jazz Festival captures the essence of one of the most popular and most respected jazz festivals in the country, featuring spectacular performances by some of today’s hottest musicians and legendary names in jazz. Rochester International Jazz Festival series airs Sundays at 7 p.m., May 3-24 on WXXI-TV21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (DT 21.1/ cable 1011). The radio version of the series airs Thursdays at 6 p.m., beginning April 30 and Saturdays at 3 p.m. beginning May 2 on WRUR-FM 88.5.

Shot in breathtaking high-definition, the series is comprised of four hour-long episodes recorded in the historic Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music. Each of the first three episodes feature one amazing concert from: jazz and blues singer Catherine Russell, arranger and trombonist Slide Hampton, and jazz trio The Bad Plus. Between concerts, the artists talk candidly about their music. The final episode includes selections from all three performances and provides sights and sounds in and around the nine-day festival.

A preeminent arts and cultural center in Upstate New York, Rochester is home to the Eastman School of Music, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Memorial Art Gallery, and George Eastman International Museum of Photography and Film. With record-breaking attendance year after year, the Rochester International Jazz Festival will continue to make its home in the City as well. In 2008 the festival saw more than 125,000 jazz fans catching more than 250 concerts. The success of this world-class festival reaffirms that the arts in Rochester are one of the City’s greatest assets.

The Rochester International Jazz Festival series is produced by WXXI Public Broadcasting and distributed nationally by American Public Television. The Rochester International Jazz Festival is underwritten by The Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation, New York State Music Fund, and the Office of New York State Senator Jim Alesi.

More about the featured performers
Catherine Russell was destined to be a jazz and blues singer. Her father, the late Luis Russell was Louis Armstrong’s music director, and her mother Carline Ray is an outstanding vocalist and bassist. Ms. Russell graduated with honors from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After touring Europe singing gospel music, she returned to New York City and began singing the blues with Jimmy Vivino's Little Big Band. She has performed with an array of artists, including: Paul Simon, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, Michael Feinstein, Madonna, Al Green, J. Geils Band, Dolly Parton, and Isaac Hayes, among others. In addition to performing, Ms. Russell is Associate Professor of Voice at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Slide Hampton’s career spans decades in the evolution of jazz. At the age of 12 he was already touring the Midwest with his family. By the age of 20 he was performing at Carnegie Hall with the Hampton Band. As his reputation grew, he worked with the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Art Blakely, Dizzy Gillespie, Barry Harris, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, and Max Roach. A charismatic figure, master arranger, and formidable trombonist, Slide Hampton holds a place of distinction in the jazz tradition.

The Bad Plus is a progressive jazz trio that the New York Times describes as “better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post 60’s jazz with indie rock.” Bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, drummer David King and vocalist Wendy Lewis draw on sources as diverse as classical, jazz, rock, pop and beyond. They have created a singular aesthetic that forces even the most skeptical listener to rethink the commonly held notions of what differentiates one style of music from another.

About the Rochester International Jazz Festival
The Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester, New York, has quickly become one of the nation’s most popular and most respected music festivals. Founded in 2002 ­ attendance at the Festival has grown each year, from 15,000 the first year to more than 125,000 in nine days last year, attracting music lovers from around the U.S. and the world. Festival Producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona consistently deliver a multi-dimensional festival with something for everyone. Nugent, a noted tenor sax player, has traveled the world with many jazz artists including Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, The Woody Herman Orchestra, and The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Iacona, a Rochester native, business and community leader, is an avid trumpeter and supporter of the arts, and is President of Simcona Electronics. The 2009 Rochester International Jazz Festival runs June 12-20.

To learn more about the Rochester International Jazz Festival series, visit WXXI.org/jazz.

Pictured: Catherine Russell
Credit: Thomas Frizelle


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.