Bringing the funk

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The Aquaducks (Photo courtesy of RIJF)

There’s a party on stage tonight. The A​quaducks, a high-energy funk and soul band from Nashville, brings their fun approach to performance, weaving influences from the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder.

No strangers to the Jazz Fest, the Ducks’ tours take them across the country. Their modern music has traces of nostalgia that appeal to a mix of tastes. For instance, their single, “Gotta Keep on Movin,’” has a high-energy beat and mellifluous vocals, while “Wanna Do (Funk with You)” draws on the power of funk. 

The Ducks will perform at the Rochester Regional Health Big Tent.


Rochester’s own Ryan Johnson and Escape Terrain will also bring some funk as part of their performance that creates new sounds from the soul, jazz and rock genres. 

This ensemble has Johnson on guitar, Dylon Walbridge on keys, Scott Dupra on bass, and Dan Knorr on drums. The group has opened for artists like Tower of Power, Cabo Frio and Maynard Ferguson. Escape Terrain, known for being actively involved in their community, performs at the Wegmans Pavilion. 


Jazz piano is on the cards at Max of Eastman Place with the Franck Amsallem Trio. Amasallem, a musician of many talents, has been playing, recording and composing for more than four decades. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the National Jazz Orchestra of France, the WDR Jazz Orchestra and The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. Amsallem also sings and is a recipient of awards in the U.S. and France.


Bounce, groove and thoughtfulness are all part of Kaisa Machine’s music. With relatable sounds, the band takes audiences along life’s many moments–joy, celebration, wonder and tragedy. 

Led by award-winning jazz double bassist Kaisa Mäensivu, the band has performed at Ronnie Scott’s in London, the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Smalls Jazz Club in New York City, and Pori Jazz Festival in Finland. 

Roughly a year ago, the band released its album “Taking Shape.” Jazz Fest goers will likely hear some of those tunes. Kaisa Machine plays at the Wilder Room.

Eastman School of Music faculty member Bob Sneider will close out the night with a jam session at the Hyatt Regency. Sneider, who grew up in Massachusetts, is a graduate of the University of Rochester and has toured with Grammy Award winner Chuck Mangione.

His projects–solo and co-led–have drawn attention including one with Joe Locke, who also performs independently today with Geoffrey Keezer and Tommy Smith.

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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