Thursday, March 23, 2017

[341] MTSU’s annual Jazz Festival expands to 3 days of ‘must-see’ concerts, clinics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU’s annual Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival has expanded to three days with three special featured artists to help the MTSU School of Music close out its 2016-17 Jazz Artist Series.

Jamey Simmons, director of MTSU’s Jazz Studies Program, said renowned saxophonist Rich Perry, the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors and “Jazz Master” award winner and jazz educator Jamey Aebersold will be part of concerts and special clinics presented Thursday through Saturday, March 23-25.

“This year’s festival features a unique triple bill that is a must-see for jazz students and audiences,” Simmons said.

Aebersold, who is a saxophonist, will open the festival at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 23, joining students for a free, public jazz improvisation clinic in Hinton Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building.

“As an author, clinician, performer, publisher and owner of, Aebersold has influenced several generations of musicians with the philosophy that ‘anyone can improvise,’” said Simmons.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24 the Jazz Ambassadors, the premier big band of the U.S. Army, will perform a free concert in Hinton Hall. Formed in 1969, the Washington, D.C.-based ensemble performs a variety of jazz styles at home and abroad. 

And at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, Perry will join the MTSU Faculty Jazztet and the MTSU Jazz Ensemble 1 for the final concert of the festival as well as the final concert of this season’s MTSU Jazz Artist Series.  

General admission tickets for the Jazz Artist Series concert are $10 each; tickets are free for MTSU students, faculty and staff with a current MTSU ID. Discounts for area band students and educators are also available. 

Perry also will teach a free public jazz clinic beginning at 2:10 p.m. March 25 in Hinton Music Hall.

“The (Saturday) evening concert will showcase Perry’s abilities alongside our student and faculty artists,” said Simmons. “It caps the daylong educational festival for area middle and high school jazz students.”

To reserve tickets for the March 25 Jazz Artist Series concert, call Simmons at 615-898-2724 or email

The MTSU Jazz Artist Series, which is closing out its 18th season, brings internationally renowned jazz artists to campus for performances and educational workshops.

The annual Jazz Festival, an educational event, offers junior high and high school instrumental and vocal students an individual focus on the jazz style and the art of jazz improvisation. The full schedule is available at

The MTSU School of Music renamed its annual Jazz Festival in 2016 to honor the American jazz tenor saxophonist Jean-Baptiste “Illinois” Jacquet, who died in 2004 after a storied 60-year-plus career that deeply influenced artists in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll.

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