Lineup Announced for 19th Edition

March 17, 2020

9 Days – June 19 to 27 - 21 Venues – 335+ Shows Incl 100+ Free Shows & Events 
Taj Mahal, Kool and the Gang, the Allman Betts Band, and Tommy Emmanuel Headline FREE Shows!
Trombone Shorty Headlines for First Time at Eastman! 

Before you read the announcement of our 2020 lineup, please take a moment to listen to this special message regarding our response to the current coronavirus situation.

See the news section for updates and FAQs. A transcript of this message is also reprinted at the end of this news release.

Web link to Press Release

MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: At this time, we will respond to all your questions by email. Please email your questions to or

Rochester, NY—March 17, 2020—Producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona today announced the full lineup with a record number of shows for the 2020 nine-day CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival. Now in its 19th year, the festival will be held June 19 to 27 and present 335-plus shows including more than 100 free shows and 1750-plus artists performing in 21 diverse venues in downtown Rochester, New York.

From legendary performers and familiar favorites, to rising stars and new discoveries, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival navigates all genres of creative improvised music from all corners of the world. More than 208,000 people attended the 2019 Festival.]

The multi-dimensional festival is presented in three series, Headliner, Club Pass Series of 220+ shows and 100-plus free shows and events.

Final Headliner Announced!

We are excited to welcome back Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue returning to the festival for their first time as headliners at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Tickets are $83/$73/$53/$33-plus service charges and go on sale Friday March 20 at 10 a.m. only at or call (585) 454-2020.

Free Show Headliners Announced!

Free shows headliners also just announced today include Taj MahalKool and the Gangthe Allman Betts Band, and Tommy Emmanuel. Free, no tickets required!

Tickets are on sale now for previously announced headliners including Nile Rodgers and CHICSpyro GyraGarth Fagan Dance & Monty AlexanderPuss N Boots - featuring Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones & Catherine Popper, Wynonna & The Big Noise.

"In three months, the much anticipated set-up of festival venues, structures, and outdoor stages will commence," said Marc Iacona, Producer and Executive Director. "The creative sounds of Grammy award-winning artists, emerging jazz musicians and high school students, will soon resonate around Rochester's East end cultural district. We are eager to share this year's line up, new partners, and venues with everyone!”

"We’re extremely excited with the musical collage of this year's program," said John Nugent, Producer and Artistic Director. "We have assembled creative styles and high level artistry that will without question delight the ears of our loyal patrons and bring them to new heights of artistic joy! As we do every every year, we encourage our audiences to choose to hear the artists they have never heard of before. It’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know!"

"Marc and I also offer our thanks to the 2500-plus artists and managers who submitted promo materials for being considered to perform in our festival."

Producers' Picks – Not to Miss!

Here are some shows our producers say not to miss! Giveton Gelin, Jason Miles Celebrates Grover Washington, Jamie Baum, Lucky Chops, Real Feels with John Raymond, Tchavolo Schmitt Trio, Fergus McReadie Trio, Kokoroko, Robin McKelle, Jochen Rueckert Quartet, Helen Sung, Big Lazy, Marc Broussard, Kaisa’s Machine, Shayna Steele, Hans Bilger, Scott Mulvahill, Emmaline, and Tuomo & Markus.

Highlights & What's New in 2020

New & Returning Venues

  • New! Bethel Christian Fellowship is a new Club Pass Venue and will be home to the Made in the UK series for all 9 days. Christ Church is undergoing restoration and is unavailable.
  • The Auditorium at E. Broad St. and Chestnut St. returns as a Club Pass Venue for all 9 days
  • The Little Theatre, Club Pass Venue returns after its renovation, for all 9 days

Welcome New Sponsors

  • Paychex – Presenting Sponsor of Midtown Stage at Parcel 5
  • Buckingham Properties – Presenting sponsor of The Auditorium at E. Broad & Chestnut Streets
  • Blue Point Brewing Company – Official Beer

New! Kids Inclusive Concert

  • We are pleased to be working with Wegmans and The Strong National Museum of Play to present a free inclusive kids concert. Stay tuned for details!

Nightly Jam Sessions return to the Hyatt Regency Rochester starting at 10:30 p.m. led by Bob Sneider and Karl Stabnau.

Learn to improvise at 5 Free Jazz Workshops for youth and adult musicians June 22 to 26 at the Eastman School of Music Ray Wright Room, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Led by Bob Sneider and visiting musicians performing in the festival – Jay Anderson, bass; Frank Tiberi, saxophone; Stephane Wrembel, guitar; John Bailey, trumpet and Joe Farnsworth, drums. Sponsored by Wegmans.

Hundreds of young musicians will perform at the festival from 21 area schools and from Eastman School's community music program.

Tickets & Info

Sign up for e-news and follow the festival on social media to get announcements.

The 2020 Official Festival App for iPhone and Android devices will be launched in April.

Headliner tickets are on sale now at

  • June 19, 8 p.m. Puss N Boots– Featuring Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones & Catherine Popper Tickets are $83/$73/$53/$33 plus service charges
  • June 20, 8 p.m.Wynonna & The Big Noise Plus! Country Tribute Celebration - The Music of Tim McGraw/Eric Church & Jason Aldean, Tickets: $73/$63/$53/$33 plus service charges
  • June 23, 8 p.m.Spyro Gyra, Tickets are $63/$53/$43/$33 plus service charges
  • June 24, 8 p.m. Garth Fagan Dance with Monty Alexander, Tickets are $93/$73/$53/$33 plus service charges
  • NEW!! June 25, 8 m.Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Tickets are $83/$73/$53/$33 plus service charges and go on sale Friday March 20 at 10 a.m. at
  • June 26, 8 p.m. Nile Rodgers & CHIC,Tickets are $130/$125/$90/$65 plus service charges

Club Passes On Sale Now – Access to up to 228 Club Pass shows at 13 official Club Pass venues at a significant savings off the individual entry cover charges of $35 for Kilbourn Hall and $30 at all other Club Pass venues. Not valid for headliner shows. Seating is first-come, first-served. All Passes are shareable. Buy online here.

  • 3 Day Club Pass– $194 plus $6 service charge, use any 3 days during the festival
  • 9 Day Club Pass – $254 plus $6 service charge, good all 9 days of the festival

Tickets on Sale Friday March 20 at 10 AM for Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Performing Thursday, June 25, Kodak Hall at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre 8 p.m.

This marks Trombone Shorty's eighth performance at RIJF and his first at Eastman Theatre! Trombone Shorty’s new album opens with a dirge, but if you think the beloved bandleader, singer, songwriter and horn-blower born Troy Andrews came here to mourn, you got it all wrong. That bit of beautiful New Orleans soul—”Laveau Dirge No. 1,” named after one of the city’s most famous voodoo queens—shows off our host’s roots before Parking Lot Symphony branches out wildly, wonderfully, funkily across 12 diverse cuts. As Andrews says, “Music brings unity.” Tickets are $83/$73/$53/$33 plus service charge. Read more

2020 Full Lineup

Note to Editors: High res photos of artists are available in the Press Room.

3D Jazz Trio "In the Spirit Of Ray Brown", 78 RPM Big Band, Alex Cuba, Alexa Tarantino, All In Brass Band, Ana Egge ,Arturo O'Farrill Quintet, Bassel & The Supernaturals, Big Lazy, Bill Dobbins, Bill Tiberio Band, Bill Warfield's Hell's Kitchen Funk, Bob James Trio, Bob Sneider's ECMS Jazz Performance Workshops, Bobby Rush, Brian Dickinson, Brockport Big Band, Brubeck Brothers Quartet Celebrating Dave Brubeck @ 100, Buried Treasure with Bari Koral, California Guitar Trio, Cassandra Wilson, Charlie Carr, Charlie Lindner & the Pickle Mafia, Christone Kingfish Ingram, Cinnamon Jones, Connie Deming Celebrates Joni Mitchell with Kinloch Nelson, Connie Han Trio, Cookers, Dayna Kurtz, Danilo Perez & Kurt Elling, Dave Rivello Ensemble, David L Harris, Davina & The Vagabonds, Drum Battle! Kenny Washington vs Joe Farnsworth, Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers, Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra Directed by Colin Gordon, ECMS High School Jazz Combo - Colin Gordon, ECMS Junior Jazz with Mike Kaupa + Saturday Jazz Combo With Mike Kaupa, Elliot Scozzaro, Emmaline, ESM Jazz Honors Performance Units1, 2 & 3, Fergus Mcreadie Trio, Four Brothers Reunion featuring Frank Tiberi, Garth Fagan Dance with Monty Alexander, George Garzone & Frank Tiberi Quartet, Giveton Gelin - Rising Stars Award Winner, Greece Jazz Band, Hans Bilger, Harold Danko, Harvey Mason Trio with Special Guest Elliott Farmer, Helen Sung, Helena Kay, Herb Smith, Huntertones, Interzone, Jamie Baum Quintet, Jason Miles Celebrates Grover Washington, Jazz-FM 90.1 Big Band, Jeremy Beck & the Heavy Duty Horns, Jeremy Pelt Quintet, Jesse Stone, Jochen Ruekert Quartet, John Bailey Sextet, John Viviani & Friends, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Jonathan Kreisberg, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Joonas Haavistio, Judah Sealy, Kairos Quartet, Kaisa's Machine, Kokoroko, Kool & The Gang, Laura Anglade Quintet Lew Tabackin Trio, Lioness, Lucky Chops, Marc Broussard, Martin Taylor, Matt Savage Trio, Max Dibenedetto, McDonald/Labarbera Quintet, Me & The Boyz, Melody Masters Big Band, Michael Weiss Trio, Mike Cottone Quartet, Mike Ledonne Trio,, Moho Collective, Molly Johnson, Ms. Lisa Fisher with Taylor Eigsti, Music Educators Big Band, Nabate Isles, New Horizons Big Band Directed by Priscilla Todd Brown, New Horizons Jazz Ensemble Directed by Don Sherman, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Nychillharmonic, Okan, Owl Trio, Paul Beaubrun, Penfield Big Band, Peter Bernstein Quartet, Prime Time Brass Band, Puss N Boots featuring Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones & Catherine Popper, Ranky Tanky, Real Feels, Red, Hot & Blue Band, Rene Marie & Experiment In Truth, Restless Age, Rich Thompson Quartet, Richie & Rosie, RIJF-ESM Scholarship Night, Rina Yamazaki, Robert Mitchell, Roberto Occhipinti & Friends, Robin Mckelle, Rochester Metro Jazz Orchestra, Ryan Johnson & Escape Terrain, Sammy Miller & The Congregation, Sara Rogers, Sarah McKenzie, Scott Mulvahill Trio, Sealis, Shayna Steele, Sonidos Unidos, Soul Stew, Spyro Gyra, Stacey Kent, Stephane Wrembel's Django Experiment, Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio, Syndicate Jazz Band, Taj Mahal, Tchavolo Schmitt, Tessa Souter, Textet, The Allman Betts Band, The Angle, The Claudettes,, The Nth Power, The Reverend Peytons Damn Big Band, Tommy Emmanuel, Tommy Smith, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Tuck & Patti, Tuomo & Markus, Under the Surface, Vanessa Collier, Vanishing Sun, Vula Viel, Wayne Escoffery Quartet, Wynonna & The Big Noise + Country Tribute Celebration Music of Tim McGraw/Eric Church/Jason Aldean, and Yazz Ahmed.

Transcript of Message from Marc Iacona and John Nugent on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 17, 2020

Like you, we are keeping a close watch and staying informed on the fluid situation of COVID-19. As we follow the CDC and local health officials' recommendations, we all MUST do our part to help stop the spread of this virus. Jazz fest is three months from what we plan to be the opening night of our 19th Festival. 

Many other festivals through mid-April have postponed or canceled and understandably so. It’s definitely the safest and smartest thing for them to do at this time. In early May we’ll come back to you with an update, but for now we are proceeding with jazz fest plans, all systems go.

Our entire jazz festival team is hopeful that COVID-19 will have run its course and that we can safely be together in late June for some unforgettable musical performances

We want you our loyal patrons to know, that we are very thankful for your support. We pledge to you that we will, to the best of our options and capabilities, do the right thing for everyone. 

Be safe, follow the CDC Guidelines, let's care for one another as best we can and win the battle to contain COVID-19.

Here are the top official resources in Rochester to consult to keep yourself and others healthy.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Monroe County (NY) Health Department

New York State Department of Health

Rochester Regional Health COVID-19

We’ll see YOU on Jazz Street!

Marc Iacona & John Nugent, Producers, CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival