Collegiate Jazz Festival Returns to ND
Allie Tollaksen | Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This evening, a preview for the upcoming Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival (CJF) will feature some of Notre Dame’s most talented jazz musicians in the ballroom of the LaFortune Student Center at 7 p.m. The CJF Preview Night will include performances from Notre Dame’s very own Jazz Band II, as well as the Brass Band, and will give a taste of the fantastic weekend to come with one Notre Dame’s most unique and notable events.
The Collegiate Jazz Festival will take place Friday and Saturday, and it will feature not only the talented jazz musicians of Notre Dame, but also collegiate jazz bands from around the country. The annual event, now in its 56th year, is the oldest collegiate jazz festival in the country and has gained a nationwide reputation of hosting remarkable bands and guest judges.
These collegiate bands, including ensembles, brass bands and percussion groups, will gather in Washington Hall to play and celebrate the rich history of jazz music in what the programmers have described as a “noncompetitive setting.”
Still, the event’s guest judges, a group of notable jazz musicians, will review the bands and participate in the beloved “Judges’ Jam” as Friday night comes to a close. Judges also will host a clinic for musicians of all skill levels Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Ricci Band Building, bringing their expertise to any and all aspiring musicians on campus. In the festival’s incredible history, judges have included such influential musicians as Herbie Hancock, Roberta Flack and Quincy Jones.
Judges this year include Jeff Clayton, a jazz saxophone player who has worked with an amazing variety of musicians, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson. Another judge is trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, who has won the Jazz Journalists’ Trombonist of the Year award eight times in the last 13 years and is a celebrated music educator.
String bassist Marion Hayden will also bring her expertise to this year’s CJF, as well as her creative songwriting, teaching experience and unique role as one of jazz’s few female string bassists. Fellow judge Tim Metz will bring almost a lifetime of experience in the jazz world, as he began playing professionally by age 11. He has toured internationally, as well as taught students. Reggie Thomas completes the judges’ panel with more than 20 years of jazz piano instruction at various colleges. He has toured internationally with various bands and recorded his own compositions.
Friday’s events include performances from the Notre Dame Jazz Band I, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Portland and Western Michigan University, as well as the Judges’ Jam, which is sure to be an inspiring show. Saturday features the Judges’ Clinic in the early afternoon, followed by performances by the Alma College Percussion Ensemble, the Western Illinois University Jazz Combo I and II, Columbia College and the Notre Dame Brass Band.
Tonight’s preview and Saturday’s Judges’ Clinic are free and not ticketed. The Collegiate Jazz Festival begins at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Tickets are free for students. Tickets for members of the public cost $5 per day or $8 for two days. They can be purchased or picked up from the LaFortune Box Office or at the door, but with such a fantastic lineup of performers and judges, you may want to consider getting those tickets early. You won’t want to miss this chance to hear some of the most talented and entertaining jazz musicians of our time.