2023 Western Illinois University Jazz Festival


The 50th Annual Western Illinois University Jazz Festival will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023.   Please click on the registration form below to reserve your spot for the festival and to get more information about costs.    

Friday’s main event will be concerts by the WIU Jazz Band and Jazz Studio Orchestra  featuring trumpet artist Alex Norris. 
Saturday will feature performances by college, high school, and junior high students.     

                                                                                                                                         Norris headshot

Alex Norris grew up in Columbia, Md. where he began studying music at the age of 9.  
After graduating high school he received a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music to 
study trumpet. He graduated from the Conservatory in 1990. 
In 1992, Norris moved to New York City to pursue a career as a jazz trumpeter. Here, he 
found work with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra, and 
Maria Schneider's Band. From 1994-1998, Norris was a member of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead
under Betty Carter and was musical director of Jazz Ahead in 1998. 
Norris has worked with many noted jazz musicians such as Slide Hampton, Joshua 
Redman, Brad Mehldau, Pat Martino, Chris Potter, Carl Allen, Lonnie Plaxico, John Patitucci,
Gary Thomas, Mulgrew Miller, and Brian Blade. Norris is very active in Latin music as well, 
having worked with Andy and Jerry González, Eddie Palmieri, Manny Oquendo, Ralph Irizarry’s 
Timbalaye, and Poncho Sanchez. In the Pop/Rock/R&B realm, his credits include Incognito, US3, 
Steve Winwood, Gloria Estefan, and Dr. John
In 1995, Norris received a Master’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music. In 
2007, Norris received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami Frost School 
of Music. He has served on the music faculties at Towson University, the City College of New 
York, the University of Miami Frost School of Music, The New School of Jazz and Contemporary 
Music, The University of Arkansas at Monticello, and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. 
Residing in New York City, Norris performs all over the world with his own jazz group 
and with the Ron Carter's Great Big Band, the Mingus Big Band and Dynasty, Amina Figarova, 
Todd Marcus, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Dafnis Prieto, and many other jazz and Latin jazz 
artists. He performs regularly at top New York Jazz Clubs such as Smalls, Smoke, Django, 
Birdland, Cellar Dog, and the Blue Note. He is also an active clinician and guest artist.
Alex Norris’s latest release “Alex Norris- Fleet From the Heat” was released in the Fall of 
2021 on the Steeplechase label. His 2015 recording, “Alex Norris Organ Quartet- Extension 
Deadline”, was released on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records and received a 4 and ½ star 
review in Down Beat Magazine. As a sideman, Alex has recorded on over 100 CD's; several of 
them for prominent labels such as Blue Note, Verve, Impulse, Steeplechase, Fresh Sounds/New 
Talent, Motema, and Sunnyside.
Alex has several of his Latin jazz compositions published by 3-2 Music in Fresno, CA.
Additionally, he has a video masterclass available on www.mymusicmasterclass.com 

On Saturday, we are expecting an exceptional lineup of middle/junior high, senior high, and college jazz bands. There will be clinics by members of the WIU jazz faculty and a clinic by Dr. Norris who will again perform with the JSO on Saturday afternoon.  

For band directors, check the links on this site for Jazz Festival materials (invitation, flyer, schedule, entry form, concert ticket form, and lodging information). Early registration deadline for entries is December 1st, and after that date, it will be at the higher rate.

For additional information about the Festival, please contact: University Bands, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455; PH 309-298-1505; Fax 309-298-1499; or e-mail we-ashe@wiu.edu.

Hope to see you all there!

Dr. Whitney Ashe
Director of Jazz Studies
Western Illinois University

For more information, please contact: Phone (309) 298-2186, or Email to we-ashe@wiu.edu