Festival to feature sixteen regional school groups, Murray State University Jazz Band, Murray State Jazz Orchestra and Jamey Aebersold Quartet
MURRAY, Ky. — The 13th annual Murray State University-Jamey Aebersold Jazz Festival will take place March 29 in historic Lovett Auditorium. Middle school, high school and Murray State University jazz groups from four states will be performing in clinics and concerts open to the public, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and running until 3:15 p.m. This will be followed by an open clinic with National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Jamey Aebersold in the Performing Arts Hall at 3:15 p.m., a continuous concert featuring many of the groups again at 4:40 until 7:15 p.m. in Lovett Auditorium and the headlining Jamey Aebersold Quartet performing at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Hall that evening. All concerts and clinics are free and the public is cordially invited.
The coordinator for the event, which brings 300-plus young musicians to the campus, is Dr. Todd E. Hill, professor of music and director of jazz studies at Murray State University. Student assistance comes from the members of all the Murray State jazz ensembles (Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Band, Blue and Gold Jazz Combos), and the members of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Other assistance is coming from Dr. Todd M. French and Dr. J. Derek Jones, directors of the Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Band respectively, as Hill is on sabbatical this semester.
“Mr. Aebersold has donated so much of his time and provided so much financial support to the jazz program at Murray State,” Hill said. “He has been coming here off and on since the early 1970s when the late professor Ray Conklin was heading up the jazz program. Jamey is a great friend to the department of music, the jazz program, to our radio station WKMS, and he has enriched the cultural life of the community at large in addition to everything he has done for jazz education internationally.”
Jamey Aebersold endowed a jazz scholarship for Murray State University students in 2008.
Sixteen outstanding middle and high school groups from around the region will be participating in the festival, which is designed for educational, rather than competitive, purposes. The students’ day will include commentary and clinics by professional musicians and educators including professor Ricky Burkhead, University of Mississippi; Dr. Richard Ripani, Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville, Tennessee; Dr. Jeffrey Phillips, Hendersonville High School and Belmont University, along with Dr. Hill, Dr. Todd French and Dr. Derek Jones of Murray State. Other activities include clinics with Murray State jazz students and a special jazz improvisation clinic with jazz education legend Aebersold and his rhythm section at 3:15 p.m. in the Performing Arts Hall. Anyone interested in hearing the clinics is cordially invited to attend.
Using the vast expanse of Lovett Auditorium’s stage, two groups can be set up simultaneously, preventing delay between performances and allowing continuous music from all the visiting groups. The clinics are an educational experience, and the groups may elect whether or not they will receive assessment ratings.
The schedule for clinics (open to the public) is as follows:
8:30 a.m.: South Hopkins Middle School (Nortonville, Kentucky), David Moss and John Grace, directors
8:55 a.m.: Graves County High School (Mayfield, Kentucky), Richard Burchett, director
9:20 a.m.: Lone Oak Middle School (Lone Oak, Kentucky), Chris Watson, director
9:45 a.m.: Charleston High School (Charleston, Missouri), Quinton Roberts, director
10:10 a.m.: Christian County High School (Hopkinsville, Kentucky), Anthony Darnall, director
10:35 a.m.: James Madison Middle School (Madisonville, Kentucky), Alan Emerson, director
11 a.m.: Todd County Central High School (Elkton, Kentucky), Mike DiPasquale, director
11:25 a.m.: Daviess County High School Jazz Band III (Owensboro, Kentucky), Nate Clark, director
11:50 a.m.: Madisonville-North Hopkins High School “White” Band (Madisonville, Kentucky), Alan Emerson, director
12:15 p.m.: Montgomery Bell Academy “Ellington” Band (Nashville, Tennessee), Jordan Frederick and Jan Pippin, directors
12:40 p.m.: Daviess County High School Jazz Band II, Neal Clark, director
1:05 p.m.: Madisonville-North Hopkins High School “Maroon” Band, Alan Emerson, director
1:30 p.m.: DeSoto Central Middle School (Southaven, Mississippi), Tyler Hart, Devin Burgess and Jocelyn Hembruch, directors
1:55 p.m.: Cape Girardeau Central High School Jazz Band 2 (Cape Girardeau, Missouri), Josh LaMar and Michael Harrer, directors
2:20 p.m.: Daviess County High School Jazz Band 1, Nate Clark, director
2:45 p.m.: Cape Girardeau Central High School Jazz Band 1, Josh LaMar and Michael Harrer, directors
The afternoon concert, also in Lovett Auditorium, will begin at 4:42 p.m. with Charleston High School. The rest of the schedule is as follows:
4:54 p.m.: Daviess County High School Jazz Band 3
5:06 p.m.: Todd County Central High School
5:18 p.m.: DeSoto Central Middle School
5:30 p.m.: Cape Girardeau High School Jazz Band 2
5:54 p.m.: Daviess County High School Jazz Band 2
6:06 p.m.: Montgomery Bell Academy “Ellington” Band
6:18 p.m.: Cape Girardeau High School Jazz Band 1
6:30 p.m.: Daviess County High School Jazz Band 1
6:42 p.m.: Murray State University Jazz Band, Dr. J. Derek Jones, director
6:54 p.m.: Murray State University Jazz Orchestra, Dr. Todd M. French, director
At 7:30 p.m., the Jamey Aebersold Quartet, with National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Jamey Aebersold on alto sax, Gabe Evens on piano, Tyrone Wheeler on bass and Jonathan Higgins on drums, will perform the headliner concert, featuring jazz standards for the public in the Performing Arts Hall of the Old Fine Arts Building.
“Our clinicians are some of the most respected teachers in this part of the country,” Hill said. “The participants will be getting the high quality jazz education experience for which we are known. We don’t have the bands competing with each other — there is so much of that already. This is a musical event for sharing and learning.”
For Graves County High School, this is their 13th consecutive appearance at the festival, and James Madison Middle School and Madisonville–North Hopkins High School, all directed by Alan Emerson, are coming to participate in the clinics for the 12th time. Newcomers to the festival include South Hopkins Middle School, Lone Oak Middle School, Montgomery Bell Academy, Christian County High School, and the two jazz bands from Cape Girardeau High School. The other groups are repeat participants, many for several years.
Saxophonist and clinician Jamey Aebersold is a native of New Albany, Indiana. He was awarded the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts designation as 2014 Jazz Master earlier this year in a ceremony in Washington, DC. He attended college at Indiana University and graduated in 1962 with a master’s degree in Saxophone and was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by his alma mater in 1992. He also plays piano, bass, and banjo at a professional level. In 1989, the International Association of Jazz Educators inducted him into their hall of fame, joining Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong as previous honorees.
He has played with countless jazz legends through the years, including J.J. Johnson, James Moody and Bobby Shew. Jamey is an internationally-known player and authority on jazz education and improvisation, and developed a highly successful series of play-along books and CDs for the development of improvisational skills. His summer jazz workshops have traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, England, Scotland, Denmark and Canada. These camps employ many of the finest player-teachers in jazz and are open to any serious jazz student regardless of ability or age. Mr. Aebersold personally endowed the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Scholarship at Murray State University in 2008.
Photo: Pictured is the Murray State University Jazz Orchestra.