Two Rochester musicians play at prestigious Newport Jazz Festival

Arts

Photos provided by Mikaela Davis, Elora Kang, and Jazz90.1

NEWPORT, R.I. (WROC) — Rochester musicians, both from the city, surrounding counties, and from the prodigious Eastman School of Music, are no strangers to the national and international stages.

Two Rochester singer-songwriters and bandleaders — Mikaela Davis and Danielle Ponder — both graced and proverbially took down the stage at the Newport Jazz Festival.

The annual festival, held in Newport, Rhode Island, is one of the biggest stages in the jazz and contemporary music world. The festival has been organized by jazz bassist and GRAMMY Award winner Christian McBride since 2016.

Ponder has been a fixture in the local music community for years, and is also known as a prominent voice for social change, both in her songwriting and in her personal life.

For her performance, he was joined by an all-star cast of Rochester’s best: Avis Reese, keyboards (who also serves as her musical director), Tony Gallicchio, keyboards, Levi Bennett, drums, Daric Bennett, bass, and Jonathan Sheffer, guitar.

And Davis may not have been listed under the official program with her band Southern Star, but the harpist and singer songwriter was everywhere else, jamming with supergroup The Jam Jawn, and even showed the jazz legend how to swing on the harp.

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