A new venue debuts on the Jazz Fest’s first day

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Allison, Cardenas and Nash will play at the Inn on Broadway. (Photos courtesy of RIJF)

The Inn on Broadway makes its debut as a venue this evening at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, starting with a performance by Allison, Cardenas and Nash.

Each member of the trio melds their expertise to create music tinged with the blues and folk music and free playing. Bassist, composer and producer Ben Allison has been performing and recording his own brand of original music for nearly three decades. He is credited with the theme for the NPR radio program “On the Media,” in addition to albums and awards. 

A Kansas City native, guitarist and composer Steve Cardenas has performed with artists like Norah Jones, Maria Muldaur and Eliane Elias. Two-time Grammy Award winner Ted Nash, saxophonist and composer, completes the group whose music is known to be mellow and serene. 


Fans of the Connie Han Trio will be glad to know the versatile pianist is returning to play for Rochester. Han is known for her ability to mesmerize audiences with her performance and interpretations of jazz. Downbeat Magazine has called her “The Jazz Warrior-Goddess.” The Han Trio plays at Montage Music Hall at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

And then, there’s Jimi Hendrix. Guitarist Stanley Jordan has been taking his tribute to Hendrix on the road—an ode to the famed guitarist’s legacy—in Jordan’s way.  

“This is my fantasy Jimi Hendrix concert if Jimi were still alive and playing today. By re-imagining his music and channeling his persona I try to bring that fantasy to life,” Jordan has said.

He steps onto the stage as Hendrix for this performance—giving the audience a concert feel, a show that expands on jazz elements that Hendrix explored later in his life. He also builds on Hendrix’s tapping techniques. 

Jordan does have his own style and has recorded or shared the stage with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and many other greats. He’s also performed with rock and jam bands—think the Dave Matthews Band. Bassist Gary Kelly and drummer Kenwood Dennard join Jordan in the show at the Temple Theater.

Six modern, female jazz masters join forces in Artemis. Featuring pianist and musical director Renee Rosnes, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover, alto saxophonist/flutist Alexa Tarantino, bassist Noriko Ueda, and drummer Allison Miller, Artemis is known for fluidly drawing on each musician’s strengths to create distinctive sounds. Artemis, also the name of their self-titled debut album, will perform at the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall.

Vocalist and composer Christie Dashiell brings her improvisations that incorporate elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul to the stage at Max of Eastman Place. The contemporary jazz singer will regale Rochester audiences accompanied by her own quartet.

Benny Benack III will share his enthusiasm for jazz music at the Rochester Regional Big Tent. A trumpeter and vocalist he has charmed listeners across the globe with live streams during the pandemic, his weekly residency at the Smalls Jazz Club in New York City, and appearances at several music festivals.

Blues musician Taj Mahal is also back for the 21st edition of the Jazz Fest. Taj’s mix of acoustic blues and African American, West African and Caribbean lends a global tone to his work. A Grammy Award winner, Taj plays some 20 different instruments, in addition to the guitar. He maintains that the blues is “bigger than you think.” Taj will be at the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre tonight.

The first day of the Jazz Fest also has the festival’s signatures—high school jazz bands (Harley, Penfield High and Pittsford Sutherland) and the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra with Herb Smith on Jazz Street and a jam session with Mike Cottone at the Hyatt Regency. 

For show times and ticket prices, see the full Jazz Fest schedule.  For the Beacon’s Jazz Fest coverage, click here.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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