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RPO’s New Downtown Summer Series Launches at First Niagara Pavilion

Rochester, NY – The blues and jazz will be hot, but the pavilion will be air-conditioned cool when the RPO launches its first summer series concert in the new downtown First Niagara Center City Pavilion at East Main and Gibbs Streets at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11.  Under Jeff Tyzik’s lively conducting, “Best of the Blues” brings to Rochester four dynamic soloists: trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling, vocalist Dee Daniels, Hammond organist/vocalist Bobby Floyd, and saxophonist Jeff Clayton. Together with the RPO, they will perform Tyzik musical arrangements made famous by legends Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Miles Davis.

“The Blues is the musical foundation for all of the greatest pop and jazz hits in America since 1900,” said Jeff Tyzik.  “From Jazz to Gospel, this program was a smash hit when it was performed two years ago on our Pops series.”

With his contagious smile and captivating charm, trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling is a pops audience and Rochester favorite. He has been a soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra under Keith Lockhart and was featured on the PBS television special Evening at Pops with conductors John Williams and Mr. Lockhart. Mr. Stripling was lead trumpeter and soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Thad Jones and Frank Foster. He currently serves as artistic director and conductor of the highly acclaimed Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

Whether accompanying herself at the piano, fronting a trio, or performing with big band or symphony, the multi-talented Dee Daniels transcends musical borders with her jazz styling infused with gospel and blues flavoring.  Dee’s international career includes performances in 11 African countries, Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, and Japan, as well as in North America and many countries throughout Europe.  She also has performed with Toots Thielemans, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, Johnny Griffin, Ed Thigpen, and Monty Alexander, among others.  Her discography includes Love Story – nominated for Best Jazz CD of the Year by West Coast Music Awards – and JAZZINIT.

The passion Bobby Floyd displays in his performances reflects a unique, musical power that inspires audiences around the world.  Floyd has toured and performed extensively with Ray Charles, Rusty Bryant, James Moody, Jeff Tyzik, Chris Howes, Byron Stripling, Sarah Morrow, and his own trio. His current touring schedule includes performances as featured soloist with orchestras throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the Vancouver Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, South Bend Symphony, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and many others.  Floyd is also a frequent soloist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra where his soulful sound has backed artists such as Chuck Mangione, Houston Person, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Mavis Staples, Gerald Wilson, Wycliffe Gordon, John Clayton, and countless others.

Saxophonist Jeff Clayton began his career as both a touring and studio musician. For three years, he toured and recorded with Stevie Wonder’s band. Since that time, he has worked with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horne, and played in the Count Basie Orchestra under the leadership of Thad Jones. He has also toured with Gene Harris, Dianne Reeves, Joe Cocker, B.B. King, and Ray Charles and has recorded with such pop artists as Gladys Knight, Kenny Rogers, Michael Jackson, Patti Labelle, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Madonna. Clayton was nominated for a GRAMMY for best Pop soloist on Madonna’s Back in Business album. Currently, Jeff Clayton plays in the American Idol TV Show band and tours with Aretha Franklin.

Tickets for these performances are $20-$50, available online 24/7 at; by phone (454-2100); in-person from the main RPO Box Office (108 East Avenue) 10:00 am-5:00 pm Monday-Friday, and on the following Saturdays: July 11, 18, 25, and August 1. Summer series subscriptions also are available.  On concert nights, the Box Office will be open one hour prior to concert start.  For convenience, an additional Box Office – located at the Pavilion site – also will be open one hour prior to performance for Will Call or to purchase tickets for that evening’s performance.  Tickets also can be purchased seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply. 

This series is presented by First Niagara; the City of Rochester, and Senator Jim Alesi; and by the Elaine P. and Richard U. Wilson Foundation.  For more information on the First Niagara Center City Pavilion, visit