Junior high and senior high school students bands and ensembles from 24 schools will participate in Western Illinois University’s 34th annual Jazz Festival Friday-Saturday, Feb. 16-17 in Macomb.
Schools from Hillsboro, Mo. and Beloit, Wis. will join 22 schools from suburban Chicago to central and west central Illinois for the two-day festival, which features clinics and open rehearsals with guest artists and Western’s School of Music jazz faculty and Jazz Studio Orchestra. Participating Illinois schools come from the following counties: Adams, Champaign, Cook, Fulton, Henry, Kane, Knox, Morgan, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, Tazewell and Will.
Professional drummer Duffy Jackson is this year’s featured guest artist and clinician. The son of legendary jazz bassist Cubby Jackson, Duffy has been performing since the age of four, when his father gave him his first set of drums. He was touring the nation with Lena Horne by his 18th birthday, and two years later he was performing in concert with Sammy Davis, Jr. and appearing on his popular weekly TV show, “Sammy & Company.” Jackson’s swinging style has been featured in such big name bands as Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Lionel Hampton and Illinois Jacquet; and he has per-formed with jazz legends including Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, Stan Getz, Buddy Rich and Harry “Sweets” Edison.
Drummer, composer, keyboard player, bassist, vibraphonist and vocalist, Jackson also is active in the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) and conducts rhythm section and improvisational workshops for elementary, high school and college students as well as master classes for working drummers.
Brian Coyle, chair of new music for the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) and director of jazz studies at Hope College, Holland, Mich., returns to the 34th Jazz Festival as a guest clinician. He is an active performer, composer, arranger, adjudicator and clinician who frequently appears at festivals, universities, high schools and clubs both nationally and internationally. Coyle has performed professionally with Al Jarreau, Marcus Roberts, Gene Bertoncini, Roberta Flack, Melissa Manchester, the New Buddy Rich Band, Jermaine Jackson, Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, the O’Jays, Pia Zadora, Eric Reed, Ravi Coltrane, Jeffrey Osborne, Susan Anton and Mac Davis. Coyle has also performed with the national touring companies of “Dream Girls,” “How to Succeed in Business,” “The Will Rogers Follies,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Teddy and Alice” and the “Radio City Music Hall.”
Western’s jazz faculty includes John Cooper, trumpet; Michael Stryker, piano; John Vana, saxophone; Matthew Warnock, guitar; and Kevin Nichols, percussion. The group also comprises WIU’s School of Music’s in-residence Hopper Jazztet, which will per-form during the festival.
“We are looking to have a great Jazz Festival this year,” said Cooper. “I’m excited about the great bands that are visiting WIU and all the students that will participate. And our concerts with Duffy Jackson are going to make the festival truly memorable.”
Friday’s (Feb. 16) events, held in the COFAC Recital Hall, will begin at noon with an open rehears-al with the Western’s Jazz Studio Orchestra (JSO). Coyle will conduct a new music reading session at 1 p.m.; there will be an open rehearsal with Western’s Jazz Band at 2 p.m.; and from 3-5 p.m. jazz faculty will conduct clinics for bands arriving early. Western’s JSO will hold an open rehearsal at 5 p.m. before a formal 7:30 p.m. Jazz Studio Orchestra Concert featuring guest drummer Duffy Jackson. Admission to the 7:30 p.m. concert is $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $5 for students.
Saturday’s (Feb. 17) events include competitions, clinics, two performances and an awards ceremony. A 3 p.m. WIU JSO concert featuring Duffy Jackson and a 6:15 p.m. performance by Western’s Hopper Jazztet are scheduled in the University Union Grand Ballroom. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. All-day admission to the Grand Ballroom is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. A schedule of competitions can be found at www.wiu.edu.