The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Collegiate Jazz Festival

| Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thursday evening, a preview for the upcoming Collegiate Jazz Festival (CJF) will take place in the LaFortune Student Center Ballroom at 7 p.m. The CJF Preview Night will feature performances from Notre Dame’s New Orleans Brass Band as well as its very own Jazz Band 2. Free Cajun food will be provided by Chicory Café.

The Collegiate Jazz Festival will take place this Friday and Saturday night in Washington Hall. It will not only feature the talented musicians of Notre Dame, but also a number of other university jazz bands from around the nation.

Ensembles, orchestras, octets and more will congregate in Washington Hall this weekend for the 57th annual rendition of this festival, which is the oldest and one of the most prestigious in the country.

According to its programmers, the CJF will also feature world-class, professional jazz musicians who will judge the college bands and top the evening off with their famous “Judges’ Jam” performance. Expect an incredible performance since all the judges are world-renowned season veterans. They usually perform a couple of jazz standards; the songs are set up so that a ‘head,’ or a couple bars of a set melody, alternates with solo sections. The judges will take turns soloing over the chord changes so the audience can get a chance to see their unique styles.

In the past, judges have included famous jazz musicians such as Jeff Clayton, Paul Horn and Donald Byrd. This year’s judges includes Peter Washington, a talented bass player who is part of the famous Tommy Flanagan and Bill Charlap Trios. He is probably the most recorded bassist of his generation. Also a judge this year is Billy Williams, a drummer who is a jazz studies artist-in-residence at Duke University. He also leads his own ensemble, which has just released its first EP. Tim Warfield Jr., a tenor saxophonist whose recording “A Cool Blue” was a top-ten jazz album of 1995 and Bruce Barth, a pianist and composer who has been part of the New York jazz scene since 1988 ,will also be judging and performing. The final judge is Terell Stafford, a renowned trumpet performer, jazz educator and leader; he is the Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University and the leader of the Terell Stafford Quintent.

The judges will also be bringing their talents to Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall at 2 p.m. on Saturday, where they will teach a free clinic for musicians of any and all skill level.

Friday’s events include performances from the Notre Dame Jazz Band I, Roosevelt University, Western Michigan University and Notre Dame’s New Orleans Jazz Band, as well as the Judges’ Jam, which is sure to be quite the performance. Saturday features the Judges’ Clinic in the early afternoon, followed by performances by the Alma College Percussion Ensemble, the Michigan State University Jazz Octet I, the Bowling Green State University Lab Band 1, Columbia College and Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra I.

Thursday’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. 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.

About Jimmy Kemper

Scene writer, Economics major, and Seinfeld enthusiast

Contact Jimmy