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New venues and more bands at this year's CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival producer Mark Iacona
Fred SanFilipo
Jazz Festival producer Mark Iacona

In just about three months, Gibbs Street will be transformed into "Jazz Street" as the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival hits downtown.

Now in its 18th year, the festival will be held June 21 to 29 and present more than 320 shows. All club passes will also be shareable.

Producer John Nugent talked about what it takes to schedule a line up for a festival like this.

"You know there's only 12 notes in music and the way these people cumulatively put 'em together over the scope of nine days is kind of like a tsunami of music. And that's how I try and build this program every year," Nugent explained.

The 2019 fest will feature more than 100 free shows which is a festival record, including the Downchild Blues Band featuring Dan Aykroyd on Friday, June 21.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo says the jazz fest shouts volumes about what is important to Rochester.

"It's not just about bringing tourists here to the community, it's about keeping Monroe County residents engaged and happy about living here," Dinolfo said.

She talked about what it’s like to walk down Jazz Street on a summer evening.

"It's's transformed, it's wonderful, it's vibrant, it's fun and you see people from all walks of life, all gathered together celebrating."

Five free student jazz workshops, that are usually only open to children, are now open to music students of all ages with Geva Theatre as the official venue.

This year’s jazz festival kicks off June 21. 

WXXI Arts and Culture contributor Jeff Spevak also has a look at the upcoming fest.