Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival Tickets on Sale Now for Gladys Knight & Herbie Hancock


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Rochester, NY - January 27, 2010 - Tickets are on sale now for two more headliner concerts for Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival the Festival's Ninth Edition June 11-19, 2010.

Gladys Knight, the Atlanta-born R&B songstress and songwriter, will perform on opening night, Friday June 11 at 8 p.m. Herbie Hancock, jazz legend, composer and pianist, will perform Tuesday June 15 at 8 p.m. Both concerts will be at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Tickets may be purchased at rochesterjazz.com, Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 and all Ticketmaster locations and in person at the Auditorium Theater Box Office, 885 East Main Street Rochester, NY 14605. Ticket prices range from $55-$95 plus service charges. The service charge is only $1 per ticket at the Auditorium Theatre.

Gladys Knight In 1974, Gladys Knight, a woman in possession of one of the most instantly recognizable and loved voices in popular music, stepped away from her group The Pips for a solo medley of “Try to Remember/The Way We Were" with orchestra. This version, recorded live at the Pine Knob Theatre in Detroit for the tellingly-titled album I Feel a Song, is famous for many reasons, not the least of which is Knight's spoken preamble that finds her musing on nostalgia and the good old days, “Oh, why does it seem that the past is always better?" she queried that evening. Thirty-two years later, the lady who can plumb misty watercolor depths of emotion from any lucky song she chooses to sing, shifts her focus to gems from the golden era of song on her Verve Records debut, Before Me.

Though the jazz slant of Before Me is a far cry from Ms. Knight's soul-pop smashes “Midnight Train to Georgia," “If I Were Your Woman," “Love Overboard" and the oft- covered “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)," it is one that actually stretches back to the early days of her career as well as the origin of this very special CD.

Knight waxes more femininely philosophical about “Someone to Watch Over Me," which received a lovely chamber orchestra arrangement from Billy Childs. “Though society has changed over the years and women have become more self-sufficient, that's still a dream in our hearts - to have someone to watch over us. I bow to George and Ira Gershwin who wedded these words to such beautiful music."

Awesome is a fitting adjective for the life and career of Atlanta-born Gladys Knight. Singing professionally since the age of four, her first big break came after winning first place in the children's competition on Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour with her group The Pips, which eventually consisted of her brother Merald “Bubba" Knight and cousins William Guest and Edwin Patten. The Pips scored their first R&B chart-topper, “Every Beat of My Heart," in the spring of 1961. After a few rollercoaster years, the quartet was signed to Motown's Soul label and began a string of hits that took them into the 70s including the original version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,""If I Were Your Woman," “I Don't Want To Do Wrong" and “Neither One of Us." Label switches through the 70s and 80s took Gladys Knight & The Pips to Buddah, Columbia, and MCA Records while they racked up top concert engagements, their own television variety show, three Grammy awards and a plethora of other accolades.

Also dear to her heart is her annual birthday concert, which raises funds for the diabetes research charity The Elizabeth Knight Fund (named after her mother). Beloved by her peers, Ms Knight has participated as a featured guest on several intriguing collaboration projects, including Bridge to Havana [her hit duet “Feeling Good (Vacilon)" with Cuban star Edesio Alejandro], and duets projects with a genre-crossing list of friends that includes B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Caesar, Tom Jones, Kenny G, Vince Gill, Chris Botti, and the multiple Grammy- winning Ray Charles project, Genius Loves Company.

Amazingly, Gladys Knight has held fast to her passion for music. “I love anything that gets me to the people. I love being a part of their lives, helping them musically express themselves, to be uplifted . . . whatever they need." That artistic fulfillment can be found in Ms. Knight's latest one from the heart, Before Me. “This album is a labor of love for so many people," she concludes, “for my son Jimmy Newman, Jr. who, before he died, was fighting for the opportunity for me to have this type of creative freedom. I dedicate this to people like Lloyd Terry, Cholly Atkins and, most of all, my mom. If I do say so myself, Before Me is the best music I've ever done on record."

About Herbie Hancock Depending on the day, Herbie Hancock might perform any number of roles. He's the nation's first-call jazz ambassador, a futuristic technology advocate, a dedicated educator, and of course, an American music luminary. Most of all, like all great artists he makes things new again. He did it for us with The New Standard, when he found the swing and the meaning in pop classics. He did it with his kaleidoscopic take on Gershwin's World --and took home three Grammy awards for it.

With an illustrious career spanning five decades, he continues to amaze audiences and never ceases to expand the public's vision of what music, particularly jazz, is all about today. Herbie Hancock's creative path has moved fluidly between almost every development in acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B since 1960. He has attained an enviable balance of commercial and artistic success, arriving at a point in his career where he ventures into every new project motivated purely by the desire to expand the boundaries of his creativity.

Born in Chicago in 1940, Herbie was a child piano prodigy who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the tender age of 11. He began playing jazz in high school, initially influenced by Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. Also at this time, an additional passion for electronic science began to develop. As a result, he took a double major in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College.

After leaving Miles Davis in 1968, Herbie stepped full-time into the new electronic jazz- funk that was sweeping the world. Herbie gathered a new band called The Headhunters and, in 1973, recorded Head Hunters--a hugely successful crossover hit which became the first jazz album to go platinum. With its Sly Stone-influenced hit single “Chameleon," this album (and its follow-up, Thrust) signaled once and for all that Herbie Hancock would not be pigeonholed or categorized.

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while still maintaining his unique, unmistakable voice. Herbie's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this century's visionaries.

River: The Joni Letters is Hancock's journey into the world of words, his initiation as a man of letters. “I wanted the lyrics to be the foundation for this whole project, for everything to stem from the lyrics and their meaning." To understand the richly allusive connection among melody, harmony and poetry in Mitchell's work, Hancock enlisted the help of producer Larry Klein, Mitchell's long-time collaborator. “We sat together for a long time, months before we actually recorded the record," Klein says. “We just listened to the songs and looked at the lyrics together. We would discuss song origins, allegorical stuff Joni had told me or in other cases leave the interpretation nebulous, as it was meant to be. This was a whole new world for Herbie to be thinking in."

Hancock then assembled a group of the world's top musicians, including the incomparable Wayne Shorter on soprano and tenor sax, the brilliant bassist and composer Dave Holland, (a musical cohort of Hancock and Shorter's who shares their adventurousness, as well as the Miles Davis imprimatur), drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (a recent member of Hancock's band as well as having played extensively with Mitchell and Sting), and Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, also a member of Hancock's band.

Mitchell's songwriting has given many listeners their most vivid and visceral sense of the relationship between words and music. Freely adapting Mitchell's entire body of work and expanding her musical and lyrical conversation, Hancock creates fresh metaphorical associations in her music and brings renewed life to her words. Hancock not only pays tribute to Mitchell's genius. He offers us the gift of hearing her songs reborn. Herbie Hancock the ceaseless innovator has produced an original kind of homage: River: The Joni Letters is a musical passion play on Joni Mitchell's total artistry.


The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival presented by M&T Bank was founded in 2002 and is produced by John Nugent, Artistic Director and Marc Iacona, Executive Director. The 2009 Festival drew more than 133,000 music lovers to hear some of the finest artists in the world perform. It is sponsored by Xerox, M&T Bank, the Democrat and Chronicle, Eastman School of Music, Rochester Plaza Hotel, Monroe County, The Community Foundation, 13WHAM TV, Brooklyn Brewery, Michelob, Spaten Beer, Visit Rochester, Mercury Print Productions, AirTran, Harris Interactive, DownBeat Magazine, Max of Eastman Place, SUNY College at Brockport, House of Guitars, and Presentation Source.

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