The beat goes on at the Jazz Fest

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Joe Dyson (Photo courtesy of RIJF)

As a young boy, Joe Dyson started playing music at his church. His talent attracted attention, placing him at the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp, an education program focused on the next generation of artists.

That experience propelled Dyson, a drummer and composer, into the world of jazz. Dyson has performed with celebrity musicians, including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jon Batiste, and Grammy Award-winner Pat Metheny, among others. He has also traveled worldwide and appeared on over 30 albums and in a documentary called “Been In The Storm Too Long.” In 2021, Dyson released a jazz album titled “Look Within” with impressive songs including “Fleeting Faith.”

Dyson plays at Kilbourn Hall this evening on Day 5 of the Rochester International Jazz Festival.


Pianist Bill Charlap, a Grammy award winner, will bring his interpretations of the American Popular Songbook to the stage. Since 1997, he has led the Bill Charlap Trio, earning Grammy nominations for multiple works. Charlap’s accomplishments don’t stop there; he was also artistic director for the 92NY’s Jazz in July Festival for 18 years. 

He now works at William Paterson University as the director of jazz Studies, a well-known jazz program around the world. Charlap has multiple songs with over 1 million streams, including the popular cover of the song “The Nearness of You” with almost 45 million streams on Spotify. He performs at Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Recital Hall. 

Paa Kow (pronounced Pah-Ko) is a Ghana-born drummer who grew up in a small village near Cape Coast. A combination of jazz and West African pop, Kow’s music has a unique and intriguing style. At a young age, Kow learned about music and at 7, he started playing the cowbell. His family quickly identified the connection he had with rhythm, and a year later, he started playing a drum set.

Looking back at his first performance, Kow has said, “Being a musician in Ghana is exciting because it brings everyone closer to you. After the show they gave me gifts to show their appreciation. Right away, I thought that this was perfect and it was then that I knew being a musician was my path in life.”

Later, Kow met a traveling student from the University of Colorado who was looking for a drummer, and Kow impressed him so much that in 2007, a professor at the university invited Paa Kow as a guest artist and teacher.

The Clements Brothers are twins who play music together. Charles plays upright bass, and George plays guitar. In 2012, they entered the music scene by joining the Lonely Heartstring Band, where they went on to release two bluegrass albums, “Deep Waters” and “Smoke & Ashes.” With over 15,000 monthly listeners, the band has gained popularity on Spotify. The Clement Brothers perform at the Little Theatre.

A fusion band from Philadelphia, Atomic Fizz’s music is influenced by a number of different genres including jazz, funk, and rock. In 2023, the band released a jazz album, “Ice Cold Delicious.” They will perform at the Rochester Regional Health Big Tent.

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

Charles Schaff is a Rochester Beacon intern, a rising junior at Ithaca College and a member of the Beacon Oasis Project’s inaugural cohort. 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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