Reno Jazz Festival


Avishai Cohen | Phillipe Levy ·

When: April 10-12
Where: University of Nevada, Reno
Admission: April 10| $20
April 11 | $27
April 12 | $18
Festival Jazz Fan Pass | $60, includes all concerts and events

For 52 years and counting, some of the best jazz superstars, as well as emerging artists and students of music, have come to the Reno Jazz Festival for three days of concerts, competitions and events at the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Headliners for this year’s festival include Grammy-nominated quintet Kneebody and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Avishai Cohen with the University’s faculty jazz ensemble, The Collective. Additionally, College and University ensembles from the region will have the opportunity to perform and compete in both vocal and instrumental groups.

Founded in 1962 by John Carrico Sr., the University’s director of bands, the Reno Jazz Festival serves as one of the largest educational jazz festivals in the United States. Not only does it provide a platform for schools to perform, but it also provides the opportunity for students to attend clinics with nationally renowned musicians and educators.

Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Avishai 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. Cohen has released six albums including original works along with interpretations of John Coltrane’s “Dead Lord” and “Giggin’” by Ornette Coleman. He’s also performed with his two elder siblings under The 3 Cohen’s Sextet, which received wide acclaim for their albums “Braid” and “Family.” Cohen played with the SF Jazz Collective and toured in headlining bands with Kenny Werner and most recently, Mark Turner. Avishai will be joined by University of Nevada, Reno’s faculty ensemble, The Collective featuring pianist Dan Cray, bassist Hans Halt, drummer Andrew Heglund and saxophonist Peter Epstein.

Kneebody headlines the show on Saturday at the Lawlor Center. The quintet met in their late teens while at The Eastman School of Music and Cal Arts and became fast friends. They 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. 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.

The final night is a Festival Showcase featuring the winners of the Reno Jazz Festival All-Star Performers Competition. An awards ceremony with recognize the top five groups and individuals in each category.

Individual tickets may be purchased for each performance or purchase an all-inclusive Jazz Fan Pass, which includes preferred seating for all shows. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit