Guest Artists, Competitions, Clinics.

Avishai Cohen with The Collective

Photo of Dave Douglas

Thursday, April 10, 2014
7:30 p.m.
Nightingale Concert Hall

Voted a Rising Star in the 2012 DownBeat Critics Poll, trumpeter Avishai Cohen has earned renown as a musician with an individual sound and a questing spirit, an ever-creative player-composer open to multiple strains of jazz and active internationally as a leader, co-leader and sideman. Cohen leads and records with his trio Triveni with double-bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits. The trumpeter also records and tours the world as part of the prestigious SF Jazz Collective, as he does with The 3 Cohens Sextet – the hit family band with his sister, clarinetist-saxophonist Anat, and brother, saxophonist Yuval. He is also co-leader of Third World Love, a longstanding multicultural venture exploring grooves from the Middle East, Africa, Iberia and beyond with bassist Omer Avital, pianist Yonatan Avishai and drummer Daniel Freedman.

Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Cohen began performing in public in 1988 at age 10, playing his first solos with a big band and eventually touring with the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra to perform under the likes of maestros Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur and Kent Nagano. He arrived as an experienced professional musician when he took up a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1997, the young musician established an international reputation by placing third in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition.

As a sideman, Avishai has also toured in headlining bands led by Kenny Werner and Mark Turner and plays regularly in the Mingus Big Band and Mingus Dynasty ensemble. His playing has also appeared on such soundtracks as American Gangster and Soul Man. As a teacher, Avishai gives courses at Siena Jazz in Italy, along with holding masterclasses from Israel and Barcelona to Winnipeg and Berklee in Boston.

Of his work, The New York Times has declared “Cohen is a multicultural jazz musician, among whose ancestors is Miles Davis. Like Davis, he can make the trumpet a vehicle for uttering the most poignant human cries.” Cohen and his siblings are also emerging as somewhat of a jazz dynasty, according to All About Jazz: “To the ranks of the Heaths of Philadelphia, the Joneses of Detroit and the Marsalises of New Orleans, fans can now add the 3 Cohens of Tel Aviv.”

For more about trumpeter Avishai Cohen, visit

The Avishai Cohen with The Collective concert is included in the Jazz Fan, Full Festival and Thursday passes. Visit our Purchase page for more ticket information.


Photo of Matt Wilson

Friday, April 11, 2014
7:30 p.m.
Lawlor Events Center

Kneebody‘s sound is… explosive rock energy paralleled with high-level nuanced chamber ensemble playing, with highly wrought compositions that are balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred improvising. All “sounds-like” references can be set aside; this band has created a genre and style all its own.

Kneebody bassist Kaveh Rastegar thinks of their sound this way, “Personally, I think calling Kneebody “jazz” or “electric jazz” is fantastic because then we can move on from that hang up and play our music — and alter expectations of what ‘jazz’ is.”

Kneebody is keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, electric bassist Kaveh Rastegar, saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer Nate Wood. The band has no leader or rather, each member is the leader; they’ve developed their own musical language, inventing a unique cueing system that allows them each to change the tempo, key, style, and more in an instant.

The quintet met in their late teens while at The Eastman School of Music and Cal Arts, became fast friends, and converged together as Kneebody amid the vibrant and eclectic music scene of Los Angeles in 2001. Since then, each band member has amassed an impressive list of credits and accomplishments over the years all while the band has continued to thrive and grow in reputation, solidifying a fan base around the world.

“We are a democratic, equally owned-and-operated band with shared leadership,” says Shane Endsley. “Everyone brings in music and everyone votes on everything. And it’s always been just the five of us.”

Kneebody draws upon influences spanning D’Angelo’s Voodoo to music by Elliot Smith, Bill Frisell, and Miles Davis. Their live shows are known for intense sonic landscapes of the Radiohead ilk, for the rhythmic bombast of a Squarepusher or Queens of the Stone Age show, and the harmonic depth and improvisational freedom experienced at a Brad Mehldau concert.

In 2005, Kneebody released their debut self-titled album Kneebody on Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music Label. Low Electrical Worker followed in 2007 on the Colortone Label. A collection of 13 original songs, Low Electrical Worker was hailed by saxophonist Joshua Redman as one of his “favorite albums of 2007.” In the spring of 2009, Kneebody and vocalist Theo Bleckmann released 12 Songs of Charles Ives on the Winter & Winter label and received a GRAMMY nomination in the “classical crossover” category. Their third studio album is You Can Have Your Moment. Kneebody makes their Concord Records debut with the release of their fourth album, The Line.

“There isn’t a handy term of genre for the music that Kneebody creates. It’s a band thoroughly acquainted with 1960s free-bop, 1970s jazz rock, 1990s hip-hop and postmillennial indie rock; along with classical postminimalism. (I’m leaving something out, I’m sure.) Whatever the terminology, this group has an audience…” ~ New York Times

For more about Kneebody, visit

The Kneebody concert is included in the Jazz Fan, Full Festival and Thursday passes. Visit our Purchase page for more ticket information.

Festival Showcase and Awards Ceremony

Saturday, April 12, 2014
6:30 p.m.
Lawlor Events Center

The Festival Showcase will feature a performance by the winners of the RJF All-Star Performers competition, and encore performances from some of the highest-rated groups and soloists in the festival.

During the showcase performances, awards will be given in recognition of individuals and groups who place in the top five of each category (top eight for middle school bands).

The Festival Showcase and Awards Ceremony concert is included in the Jazz Fan, Full Festival and Saturday Passes. Visit our Purchase page for more ticket information.


(Festival, Friday or Saturday Passes required.) The Reno Jazz Festival has expanded its commitment to providing educational opportunities during the festival. Clinics will cover topics including instrumental and vocal performance, jazz arranging and improvisation.