|Christ Church, Rochester NY|
The list of British artists appearing in the sixth Made in the UK showcase at the 2013 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (XRIJF) is announced today. We also spoke to Rochester Festival Director JOHN NUGENT ahead of the announcement. The artists are:
– Cleveland Watkiss
– YolanDa Brown
– Christine Tobin
– Michael Mwenso
– Julian Arguelles
– Soweto Kinch
– Zoe Rahman
– Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
– Gwilym Simcock (solo piano concert)
There are eighteen shows across the nine nights of the XRIJF festival at the Christ Church venue. which has a 650- 700 capacity, plus two extra shows in other venues: SNJO and Courtney Pine
We interviewed the Rochester Festival’s Producer and Artistic Director John Nugent ahead of today’s announcement. A Canadian by birth who turns 50 this May, he describes himself as having been – and being – “a musician first.” A saxophonist, he joined the Woody Herman band as a 25 year-old, where he also started securing bookings for the band, a step on the way to becoming a festival director. Prior to running Rochester, he ran the festival in Stockholm for nine years.
XRIJF attracts 200,000 visitors. It takes place across nineteen venues and presents more than 280 sets of music during its nine days. “It is among the most sponsored festivals in the US. It’s in the top 4 or 5 festivals, not just jazz festivals, music festivals” says Nugent. Three of the festival’s venues are in the Eastman School of Music, a significant musical presence in the city.
The concerts are ticketed but the festival also sells 4500 ‘passes’ giving unlimited access, so that festival goers can put into practice an important principle of the festival. “Our policy is “not who you know but who you don’t know,” says Nugent. “We sell out the passes quickly. They’ve all gone.”
Nugent is a big fan of UK jazz. He remembers visiting Ronnie Scott’s as a member of the Herman band. He was therefore particularly proud to present Stan Tracey in a previous showcase. Other memorable gigs? “Too many,” he answered, but appearances by Norma Winstone, Tim Garland, John Taylor and Liane Carroll certainly stand out, and this year both Tommy Smith (appearing with SNJO) and Soweto Kinch have been re-invited.
John Ellson of ESIP, who produces Made in the UK, and secures bookings around the Rochester Festival in the US, Canada and the Caribbean for the artists involved, says he has so far confirmed virtually fifty gigs in total, giving UK artists exposure across the North American continent. The list of these as it evolves will be posted shortly HERE.