49th Annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival Begins February 25 | Elmhurst College

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49th Annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival Begins February 25

One of the oldest and best collegiate jazz festivals in the country, the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival will celebrate its 49th year from Thursday, February 25, through Sunday, February 28.

This year’s featured performers include trombonist/composer Michael Davis, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, trumpeter Scott Wendholt, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, Ryan Truesdell and the Gil Evans Project, and the Elmhurst College Jazz Band.

Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his quartet made headlines recently for their collaboration with music legend David Bowie on his last album, Blackstar, released only days before the singer’s death in early January. McCaslin's latest album, Fast Future, reprises the stunning electro-acoustic quartet on his previous album, Casting for Gravity—an album that earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo.

  • Trombonist/composer Michael Davis has enjoyed a diverse and acclaimed career over the past three decades. Widely known as the trombonist for the Rolling Stones since 1994, he toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra from 1988 to 1994, released nine solo CDs, composed more than 150 works, authored 10 books and appeared on more than 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks.
  • The Bob Mintzer Big Band began in 1983, and while on DMP Records the group produced 13 albums with three Grammy nominations. Bob Mintzer is a triple-threat musician, equally active in the areas of performance, composing/arranging and music education. Whether touring with his quartet, the Yellowjackets, or his big band, Mintzer is always performing and writing music.
  • The Gil Evans Project was born out of composer/producer Ryan Truesdell’s desire to restore and perform Gil Evans’s music directly from Evans’s original manuscripts. In celebration of Evans’s 100th birthday in 2012, Truesdell recorded 10 such works on the album Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans. A second album of Evans's music, Lines of Color, was released in 2014 and presents Ryan's band live at New York City's Jazz Standard. This new music will be presented in concert at the Festival.
  • Scott Wendholt is an articulate, passionate and lyrical trumpeter who approaches music with energy and spirit. He has worked extensively with artists such as Kenny Garrett, Cyrus Chestnut, Christian McBride, Bruce Barth and Vincent Herring. Wendholt also has performed with many of the best big bands in the world, including the Carnegie Hall Big Band, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
  • Under the direction of Doug Beach, the Elmhurst College Jazz Band has earned worldwide acclaim. In June of 2014, the Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards named the Jazz Band the undergraduate college winner in the Large Jazz Ensemble category. The band has performed across Western and Eastern Europe, as well as in Indonesia, the Bahamas, Canada and in festivals across the United States.

Each February, the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival welcomes the industry’s top professional musicians and the nation’s leading college bands for three days of performances and education. The college bands take turns performing for some of the greatest names in professional jazz today, who offer critiques and award honors in a variety of areas. Then the professionals conclude each night of the Festival with an exciting performance of their own.

The Festival begins at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 25, with the High School Invitational, and concludes with a performance on Sunday, February 28, by Festival artists/adjudicators with the Elmhurst College Jazz Band.

Beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, February 26, and Saturday, February 27, award-winning collegiate jazz ensembles from around the country will perform. Friday’s evening session begins at 7:30 p.m. with performances by college ensembles and will conclude with a performance by Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project. Saturday evening’s session begins at 7:30 p.m. and closes with a performance by the Bob Mintzer Big Band.

Sunday’s session begins at 11:30 a.m. and concludes with the Elmhurst College Jazz Band in concert with artists/adjudicators Michael Davis, Donny McCaslin and Scott Wendholt.

The Elmhurst College Jazz Festival will be held in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Festival's website.

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