Sweet sound of jazz returns

Local News

The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival begins this Friday, June 21 at venues across Downtown Rochester!

Marc Iacona, the Jazz Festival’s Executive Director and Co-Producer, discussed what’s on tap for this year’s edition of the Rochester summer tradition Wednesday during our Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC conversation.

“We’re excited to have CGI as a new title sponsor, and all the other sponsors that make this festival happen,” said Iacona, who is also the President of Simcona Electronics. “We have a couple of great new venues. We’re back at Parcel 5, not only for the last weekend, for the live opener shows – which everybody’s looking forward to hearing Trombone Shorty. So the other new venue that we have is Geva Theatre. That’s two venues in one, the Fielding Stage and Wilson Stage. Those are staggered times and Club Pass venues so you can come in. There’s going to be food and drink that’s there as well. We’re really excited to have these three venues for us that are all within walking distance of the Festival. So we’re really excited about it.”

This year’s Jazz Festival will run from June 21-29. There are literally hundreds of shows to choose from over the nine-day event. “What I would do first if you’ve never been to the Festival, talk to some people that have,” suggested Iacona. “Look what’s in your iPod or on your iPhone or in your smartphone, the music that you listen to. Then go to our website. There’s a high end of all you can listen to quality music – different genres of jazz and also R&B and rock and funk, that type of thing. But, I would actually try to measure it up to your taste. Talk to people that have gone to it, so they can kind of give you the lay of the land. We have great questions and answers on our website that we can answer where to go and how to get around. But really those venues, those Club Pass venues have a theme to them. And the best thing I would do is talk to some people. You can actually go to our website, you can download some audio files, and see what your taste is.”

Iacona said the success of the Jazz Festival can be tied to a great community with arts educated people. “Now the businesses are starting to utilize it as business to business opportunities after work. So it’s not just for entertainment personally, but they’re bringing people in from out of town, co-workers, and employees. So that vibe that has been created, we’re part of it, but really it’s the community and the organizations that have really made this thing gel.”

He added, “We’re not perfect. You’re not going to love all the music. But there’s so much program music, that is quality, that people really are saying to themselves – I’m going to keep buying this pass because I keep getting what I expect to hear. So people talk about that. And then what’s happened, like I told you, is now companies are buying blocks of tickets for headliners, buying Club Passes, which are now sharable. And it just seems to work for them from an entertainment standpoint.”

Estimates put the economic impact of the Jazz Festival at $10 million a year.

For more information about performers, show times, and venues – visit RochesterJazz.com.

For more information about Greater Rochester Enterprise – visit RochesterBiz.com.

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