56th Annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival Begins Feb. 23

February 8, 2023 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications
John Pizzarelli of the John Pizzarelli Trio.

John Pizzarelli

Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and the John Pizzarelli Trio will be among the featured performers at this year’s Elmhurst University Jazz Festival, one of the oldest and best-known collegiate festivals in the country.

The exciting lineup of guest artists also includes award-winning jazz pianist Tamir Hendelman, noted jazz drummer and composer/arranger Dennis Mackrel, and acclaimed trumpet player Terell Stafford. They all will also serve as adjudicators at the Festival, which will be held from Thursday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, Feb. 26.

One of the oldest and best-known collegiate jazz festivals in the country, the Elmhurst University Jazz Festival welcomes top college and university jazz bands from across the country to take part in four days of performances and education. The bands take turns performing for some of the greatest names in professional jazz today, who offer critiques and honors, and then give a performance of their own.

Most of this year’s sessions and featured performances will be offered both in person, in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, and via livestream.

The Festival kicks off at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, with the High School Invitational, made possible with the generous support of the Sylvia and William W. Gretsch Memorial Foundation.

College and university band performances begin on Friday, Feb. 24. That evening’s feature performance will be given by Hendelman, Mackrel and Stafford with the renowned Elmhurst University Jazz Band, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Gordon Goodwin of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

Gordon Goodwin

On Saturday, Feb. 25, a clinic and master class with Hendelman, Mackrel and Stafford begins another day of college performances, followed that evening with performances by the Elmhurst University Jazz Band and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. Populated by L.A.’s finest players, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band takes the big band tradition into the new millennium with a highly original sound featuring Goodwin’s compositions in a range of styles, including swing, Latin, blues, classical, rock and more.

The Sunday, Feb. 26, program begins at 11:30 a.m. and concludes with a performance by the John Pizzarelli Trio at approximately 4:30 p.m. CST. Pizzarelli’s jazz guitar interpretations of the Great American Songbook have been credited with renewing the popularity of jazz. He has recorded more than 20 albums and toured North America, South America, Asia and Europe. This performance will be in-person only.

In addition to Elmhurst University, colleges and universities to be represented at the Jazz Festival include Calvin University, College of DuPage, Columbia College, Drake University, Harper College, Hillsdale College, Joliet Junior College, Purdue University, Roosevelt University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Kentucky, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wayne State University.

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