LAWRENCE - The University of Kansas School of Music proudly presents the 38th Annual KU Jazz Festival concerts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union. This year’s concerts feature special guest artists Jerry Bergonzi, saxophone (March 6) and Marshall Gilkes, trombone (March 7). Both concert events are open to the public.
The March 6 concert features tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi with the KU Jazz Festival All-Star Band. Bergonzi is an internationally recognized jazz performer, composer, author and educator with a discography of over 150 recordings to his credit. His own critically acclaimed solo recordings are on Blue Note, Double Time, and Red Records, among others, where he has recorded with John Abercrombie, Adam Nussbaum, Bruce Gertz and many others. Prior to his extensive solo career, Bergonzi was the saxophonist for the Dave Brubeck Quartet from 1979 to 1981. The KU Jazz Festival All-Star Band is comprised of KU School of Music Faculty, guest clinicians at the KU Jazz Festival, and professional jazz artists from throughout the United States.
The March 7 concert features trombonist Marshall Gilkes with KU Jazz Ensemble I. Gilkes is a virtuosic perfomer on trombone, and has performed and recording extensively with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, the WDR (Germany) Big Band, Columbian harpist Edmar Castaneda’s trio, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Christian McBride Big Band, and many others. He has three acclaimed small group recordings to his credit—Edenderry, Lost Words and Sound Stories. His latest release, Köln, features him performing his compositions with the WDR Big Band. KU Jazz Ensemble I is the flagship ensemble within the KU Jazz Studies Program. The group and individual musicians within it have won 19 DownBeat Student Music Awards since 1992, and recently performed at the 2014 Montreux and Jazz á Vienne Jazz Festivals in Europe.
For nearly four decades, the KU Jazz Festival has been one of the focal points for jazz performance and education in the central United States, providing the region an opportunity to hear and learn from world-class jazz musicians and educators. The evening concerts feature a first-rate lineup of some of the most important and exciting musicians in the world of contemporary jazz, and daytime clinics and master classes allow students and community members to interact with world-famous jazz musicians outside of the concert hall.
The evening concerts will begin with the Outstanding High School Ensemble (Friday) and the Outstanding College Ensemble (Saturday). During the day, approximately 50 high school, middle school and college jazz ensembles from throughout the central United States perform in Murphy Hall. Based on performance merit, visiting clinicians will select one group from the big bands and combos that perform each day to perform again on the evening concert. Revolving trophies will be presented to the middle school, high school and college outstanding ensembles. These trophies will stay with the recipients until next year’s 39th Annual KU Jazz Festival, when they will be presented to the 2016 Outstanding Ensembles.
Tickets for each concert are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $10 with a KU ID. Tickets can be purchased at the KU SUA office or by calling 785-864-7469.
Following the main stage concerts at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union, the music will continue with the KU Jazz Festival After Hours Jazz Sessions, held at the All Seasons Den at The Oread (1200 Oread Avenue, Lawrence, KS), from 10:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. both evenings.
These jazz sessions will feature performances by the Matt Otto Quartet and special guests. Otto, a saxophonist and member of the KU Jazz Studies faculty, is one of the most prominent musicians in Kansas City. He is joined both evenings by three in-demand Kansas City-area musicians—T.J. Martley, piano; Jeff Harshbarger, bass; and Brandon Draper, drums - all members of the KU Jazz Studies faculty.
Admission to these sessions is free; a cash bar will be available. Valet parking at the Oread is available for $5.00.