The 13th Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival announced last week that their final headliners will be the six-time grammy award winning blue guitarist Buddy Guy. Performing on June 26 at 8:00 p.m., Guy will play the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.
Born on July 30, 1936 in Lettsworth, Louisiana, Guy is said to have learned guitar on a homemade, two-string instrument made of tin cans and wire. Once moving on to an acoustic guitar, he absorbed the influences of B.B. King, Otis Hicks, and T-Bone Walker. Guy didn’t have immediate success in his career, but eventually became one of the most celebrated blues guitarists of all time with a style and sound embodying classic Chicago blues traditions meshed with rock & roll’s pizazz.
Few other guitarists in any genre have earned the same level of respect amongst his or her peers as Guy has. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Keith Richards, and Jimi Hendrix have all cited Guy as one of their personal favorites.
Other festival headliners include Janelle Monae, Steve Martin & the Step Canyon Rangers, John Sneider, Fourplay, Michael McDonald, and Earth, Wind & Fire. In addition to the seven headlining shows, the festival will have at least 322 concerts and 1,200 musicians from June 20 to 28 across 20 different venues in Rochester.
In addition to the series of concerts and free shows, the Jazz Festival also has free workshops for aspiring young musicians of all ages–from grade school to high school–at the Eastman School of Music. No registration is required for these lessons, and it’s possible to attend multiple sessions. These jazz workshops are a new addition to the festival, and offer the exciting opportunity to meet, listen, learn, and play with professional musicians. There are also jam sessions every night of the festival at the Rochester Plaza Hotel, which are also free for musicians.
Such opportunities are important for young musicians, fostering their love of jazz, blues, and music in general. Perhaps the Jazz Fest will wind up playing an instrumental role in life of the next musician to achieve Buddy Guy’s level of achievement.