LAWRENCE – Special guests Clay Jenkins and Gilbert Castellanos will headline the KU School of Music’s 41st Jazz Festival held on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3. The festival will include evening concerts on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union.
For more than 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.
Jenkins, an associate professor of jazz trumpet at the Eastman School of Music, has recorded three live albums with the Kenton Band, has numerous solo recordings and his ensemble has released three recordings with co-leader Kim Richmond. Trumpeter Castellanos — a leading top-call jazz musician, band leader, composer, producer and educator — was recognized as a new American master by DownBeat magazine.
He is a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and has recorded with musicians that range from Dizzy Gillespie to Michael Bublé to Willie Nelson and even performed on “American Idol.”
On Friday, March 2, Jenkins and Castellanos will perform with the Festival All-Star Big Band and KU Jazz Ensemble I. The Outstanding Festival High School Ensemble also will perform. The Festival All Star Band is made-up of KU music faculty, guest clinicians and professional jazz artists. The KU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dan Gailey, is the flagship ensemble of the KU Jazz Studies Program.
On Saturday, March 3, Jenkins and Castellanos will perform with the KU Jazz Faculty Combo and Matt Otto Combo. The Outstanding Festival College Ensemble also will perform. Matt Otto, a saxophonist and assistant director of the KU Jazz Studies Program, is a prominent Kansas City jazz musician.
Tickets for each concert are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students with a KU ID. Tickets can be purchased at music.ku.edu/jazzfestival and will be available at the door.
Following the evening concerts, the music continues with After Hours Jazz Sessions hosted by the Matt Otto Quintet and featuring special guests. The performances are from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the All Seasons Den at The Oread, 1200 Oread Ave. Admission is free.
During the day on March 2 and 3, approximately 50 high school, middle school and college jazz ensembles from throughout the central United States will perform in Murphy Hall. Based on 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 jazz festival.