September News from RIJF

September 20, 2007

Hello Rochester International Jazz Festival fans!

We hope you've all enjoyed the fantastic weather this summer has brought to western NY. It seems like only yesterday there were 35,000 people walking up and down East Avenue enjoying the last incredible day of RIJF 2007. Over 120,000 visitors during 9 days of 220+ performances. Unbelievable! It was an amazing experience for us as producers and it has inspired us to work tirelessly for you towards RIJF 2008 and beyond. Thank you to all of you who sent us many wonderful letters and kind words of support. Kudos to you all for your support! Our jazz festival audience is truly one of the most educated, anywhere. Artists continually remind us of who thoroughly they enjoy playing in this festival because of the warmth and love they receive for their artistry.

As things gear up into the fall at jazz fest headquarters in downtown Rochester, we want to let you all know Marc Iacona and I are busy preparing your jazz festival for next June and working hard to bring you the worlds finest creative improvising artists. Thank you to all who have submitted new ideas for the event and names of your favorites. We take all your suggestions to heart. We've received well over 1,000 submissions so rest assured the talent pool for next years RIJF will be beyond exceptional!

In the meantime, the music doesn't stop when RIJF ends. We are pleased to inform you of a very special John McLaughlin show taking place in NYC next week. If you are in the city or have friends who are in NYC, let 'em know to get over to Town Hall and hear this legendary artist in concert. You'll find the show press release below. There are still several hundred tickets remaining and it will sell out.

The producer of Mr. McLaughlin's performance is my good friend and fellow concert promoter, Julie Lokin, a long time friend and talent consultant to RIJF. Thanks for supporting his presentation!

The 7th Edtion of RIJF takes place June 13-21, 2008. Club Passes will be available for purchase in early November online at Drop by the website in early November for complete information. Have a great fall and feel free to drop us a note anytime,

Musically yours,

John Nugent

Producer/Artistic Director

Rochester International Jazz Festival


At New Yorks Town Hall Sept.27

Best Tickets for fans of the Mahavishnu Project!

On September 27 Town Hall, 8:00 pm John McLaughlin returns to New Yorks Town Hall (123 West 43 St). In his first fusion band concert in ten years, John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension with Gary Husband on keyboards, Mark Mondesir on drums and Hadrien Feraud on bass.

As a friend of the Mahavishnu Project, you can get the best seats in the house by going to and using the the code mahaproj. Have the pick of the tickets just because you follow the Mahavishnu Project.        

Tickets: $60-$50-$35; available June 18 thru 25 at Ticketmaster 212-307-4100; online at Tickets will be available at the Town Hall box office: 212-840-2824 on September 4, 2007

From Al DiMeola, Pat Metheny, and Mike Stern to John Scofield, Bill Connors, and Scott Henderson, John McLaughlin has been a strong influence on many of the top jazz/fusion guitarists of the last 30 years. McLaughlins classic recordings of the 1970s have long been regarded as essential listening for anyone with even a casual interest in fusion, and if the British improviser had decided to retire in 1980, he still would have gone down in history as one of jazz-rocks most influential axemen.

Born in Yorkshire, England on January 4, 1942, the guitarist is well known for his eclectic taste in music. McLaughlin was a child when he first fell in love with jazz and the blues, and he was just 11 years old when he began studying and playing the guitar. The 1960s found him playing jazz, rock, and blues in his native England, where he worked with Alexis Korner and Ginger Baker, among others, before moving to New York at the end of the decade. McLaughlin had a busy year in 1969he recorded his debut album, Extrapolation, and started working with two seminal voices in early fusion: Tony Williams (who employed McLaughlin and organist Larry Young in his trailblazing group Lifetime) and Miles Davis. Never afraid to forge ahead, Davis had done a lot to popularize cool jazz and modal post-bop in the pastand he continued to break new ground when he introduced fusion on his 1969 sessions In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, both of which feature McLaughlins playing. The guitarist was also featured on 1970s A Tribute To Jack Johnson, another Davis gem of the time.

Like bebop in the 1940s and modal jazz in the early 1960s, fusion was controversial. Jazz purists felt that rock and funk rhythms had no place in jazz, but thankfully, McLaughlin disagreed and let his musical instincts guide him. After participating in Davis and Williams groundbreaking fusion combos, McLaughlin founded an influential group of his own in 1971: The Mahavishnu Orchestra, which boasted such greats as drummer Billy Cobham and keyboardist Jan Hammer. By the time Mahavishnu broke up in 1975, it had recorded several classic albums for Columbia (including Birds of Fire, Between Nothingness and Eternity, and Visions of the Emerald Beyond) and gone down in history as one of the 1970s most influential fusion outfits.

In 1975, McLaughlin did the unexpected by founding Shakti, an acoustic group that employed traditional Indian musicians (including tabla player Zakir Hussain and violinist L. Shankar, Ravi Shankars nephew) and underscored the guitarists interest in Indias music, culture, and religion. Shakti reminded listeners that McLaughlin was as appealing on the acoustic guitar as he was on its electric counterpart, and proved that he wasnt about to confine himself to playing any one style of music exclusively. Indeed, McLaughlin was heard in a variety of musical settings in the 1980severything from a brief Mahavishnu Orchestra reunion in 1984 to an acoustic guitar summit with Al DiMeola and Paco de Lucia in 1982 to a classical album with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988.

McLaughlin was no less eclectic in the 1990s, when his Verve projects ranged from 1993s acoustic Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans (a tribute to the late pianist) to sessions featuring organist Joey DeFrancesco (1993s Tokyo Live and 1994s John Coltrane-minded After the Rain) to an acoustic McLaughlin/DiMeola/de Lucia reunion in 1996. It was in 1997 that McLaughlin reunited with Zakir Hussain and a reconfigured version of Shakti for several U.K. concerts that were documented on Verves two-CD set Remember Shakti.

Im a guitar playerthats what I am primarily, thats what Ill always be, McLaughlin has been quoted as saying. (And) Im an eternal learner. I dont want to stop learning because I feel that no matter what Ive done, Im really just beginning again. I dont think Ill ever stop learning.