Friday, April 13, 2018

[342] MTSU’s annual Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival welcomes renowned drummer, guitarist for concerts, clinics March 17

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Jazz drummer Matt Wilsonand guitarist Gary Wittner will join MTSUSchool of Musicfaculty and students for a day of concerts and clinics Saturday, March 17, at the university’s annual Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival.

Wilson and Wittner will help the MTSU Jazz Ensemble Iand Faculty Jazztetclose out the festival and the 2017-18 Jazz Artist Series Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a huge concert in Hinton Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building. 

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

The MTSU Jazz Artist Series, which is finishing its 19th season, brings internationally renowned jazz artists to campus for performances and educational workshops. 

The annual Jazz Festival, an educational event, offers area middle 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. 

"This year's festival features innovative performers and educators that will be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for jazz students and audiences to experience,” said
Jamey Simmons, director of MTSU’s Jazz Studies Program.

Wilson, who plans to teach a free 2:10 p.m. jazz clinic on Saturday, has been featured on the covers of Downbeat and Jazz Times magazines, appeared on more than 250 recordings as a sideman and released nine albums as a leader for Palmetto Records.

Wittner, a mainstay of the East Coast jazz scene, will perform with MTSU's Jazz Ensemble II, directed by saxophone professor Don Aliquo, at noon Saturday in Room 173 of the Wright Music Building. An authority of the music of Thelonious Monk and of music composition, Wittner will also share his knowledge with MTSU jazz students throughout the day.

To reserve tickets for the March 17 Jazz Artist Series concert, call Simmons at 615-898-2724 or email

The Illinois Jacquet Foundation established a new MTSU jazz scholarship in 2014. For more information, visit

For more information about MTSU’s Jazz Artist Series, visit For details on MTSU School of Music performances anytime, please visit http://www.mtsumusic.comor call 615-898-2493.

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