54th Annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival Begins Feb. 26

February 3, 2021 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

A female Elmhurst University student (background) plays the trumpet alongside a male student (foreground) playing the trombone in the University's Jazz Band.Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project, Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts and Grammy-winning vocalist Kurt Elling performing with the Elmhurst University Jazz Band will be among the featured guest artists at the 54th Annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival, which will be presented this year in a virtual format.

One of the oldest and best-known collegiate jazz festivals in the country, the Elmhurst University Jazz Festival will be held online from Friday, Feb. 26, through Sunday, Feb. 28.

The impressive lineup of guest artists also includes jazz drummer and composer Dennis Mackrel, pioneering saxophonist Donny McCaslin, and acclaimed trumpeter Terell Stafford, who all will serve as adjudicators at the Festival.

Each February, top college and university jazz bands take part in the Elmhurst University Jazz Festival for three days of performances and education. The bands take turns performing for some of the greatest names in professional jazz today, who offer critiques and award a variety of honors. The professionals then offer a rousing performance of their own.

Here’s a Jazz Festival rundown (all times are U.S. Central Standard Time):

  • The Festival kicks off on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. with drummer Matt Wilson’s ensemble Arts & Crafts, giving a recorded live performance that will premiere exclusively for the Jazz Festival audience.
  • On Saturday, Feb. 27, at 11:00 a.m., Wilson will discuss the previous evening’s performance live with participating university students. That afternoon, college and university bands will share their performances, followed by live commentary by Dennis Mackrel, Donny McCaslin and Terell Stafford.
  • On Saturday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m., the Jazz Festival will premiere Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project, presenting a unique program of the music of Birth of the Cool.
  • On Sunday, Feb. 28, at 11:00 a.m., Truesdell will discuss the previous evening’s performance, followed that afternoon by more university performances and commentary.
  • At 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, the Jazz Festival will conclude with Kurt Elling in performance with the Elmhurst University Jazz Band. This will be Elling’s first appearance at the Festival.

All events will be livestreamed online; there will be no in-person events. For more information about the events and artists, and to purchase tickets, visit elmhurst.edu/jazzfestival.

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