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The Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Quartet featured at the Rochester International Jazz Festival

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The Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Quartet featured at The Rochester International Jazz Festival

The Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Quartet is a powerhouse of a group. Since both musicians had independent, well-established careers before teaming up, their names vie for top billing.

On vibraphone, Joe Locke is a worthy successor to past vibe masters Bobby Hutcherson and Milt Jackson. His releases over the past two decades, first as a sideman, then as leader, showcase his talent for playing with both lyrical beauty and incredible speed. Geoffrey Keezer was a piano prodigy who joined Art Blakey's famed Jazz Messengers at the tender age of 17. He has worked with virtually all of the living legends of jazz and has appeared on countless recordings both as a leader and as a side man.

The unique combination of vibraphone and piano creates a space much larger than the sum of its parts--one in which these two brilliant improvisers and clever accompanists can really get down to work. When Locke lays down the full, ringing tones of his vibraphone, Keezer takes off at full throttle; and when Keezer's sophisticated spatial sense launches chords, Locke works his four mallets with fiery skill. Even when navigating tricky chord progressions at rocket speeds, they never lose their deep sense of swing.

The quartet's releases from the last two years, are melodically rich and endlessly inventive. Live, though, they are on another level altogether. Keezer and Locke not only play each other's nimble and lyrical compositions, but seem to think each other's musical thoughts.

Performances scheduled for June 14, 2006.

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