Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival celebrates 10 years

Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival 2013 at UMSL

Over the last ten years, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has grown to be one of the most significant jazz festivals in the Midwest. Produced by the University of Missouri–St. Louis, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center and Jazz St. Louis, the 2013 festival will run April 18-20 and feature Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Doc Severinsen and His Big Band and Anat Cohen and Matt Wilson.

“This annual celebration of education and performance is the only festival of its kind in St. Louis,” said Jim Widner, director of the jazz studies at UMSL and artistic director of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival. “That is because in addition to celebrating professional jazz musicians in our headline concert performances, we focus on nurturing the talent of young musicians with jazz student performances and clinics.”

The goal of the festival is to encourage the musical education and growth of the 800 participating students by interaction with internationally acclaimed jazz artists. These students perform on the same stages as the biggest names in professional jazz.

“Jazz St. Louis is proud to once again partner with UMSL and the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival,” said Gene Dobbs Bradford, executive director of Jazz St. Louis. “We all share a strong commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities for young people. In addition, the festival allows us to share some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians with our community.”

The big jazz performances in 2013 begin with Anat Cohen and Matt Wilson at Jazz at The Bistro on April 18 and continue at the Touhill with Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour and Doc Severinsen and His Big Band on on April 19 and 20, respectively. Both concerts at the Touhill feature opening-act performances by the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner.

The festival will include the following performances:

April 18: Virtuosic reed artist Anat Cohen and New York-based drummer and Grammy-nominee Matt Wilson open the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival. Jazz St. Louis will present two shows on April 18 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at Jazz at the Bistro.

Cohen, who will be playing both clarinet and tenor saxophone, says: “The music we perform…comes from the jazz tradition, but it’s very playful – we have fun with sounds and melodies, following our instincts, without over-analyzing. Matt Wilson is like a kid onstage, and that’s what I like to be – it’s great to have a partner in crime like him. Matt gets these incredible sounds from the drums…”

Tickets are $32 and are available through the Jazz St. Louis Box Office at 314-289-4030, MetroTix at 314-534-1111, or online at stlouis.metrotix.com.

April 19: Jazz St. Louis presents the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 55th Anniversary Celebration on April 19 at the Touhill. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall with an opening set by the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner.

Featuring critically acclaimed, Grammy Award-winning jazz artists, this all-star band consists of bassist and musical director Christian McBride, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, saxophonist Chris Potter, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, pianist Benny Green and drummer Lewis Nash. Embracing the past, present, and future of jazz, the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour will perform an assortment of classic jazz repertoire as well as original compositions.

The Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, has presented nearly every major jazz star — from Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong to Esperanza Spalding and Trombone Shorty — since it was founded in 1958.

Tickets for Monterey Jazz Festival, sponsored by Worldwide Technology, Inc., are $35 – $75 and are available through the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at touhill.org; or by phone at 314-516-4949.

April 20: Doc Severinsen and His Big Band will close out this exciting weekend of jazz on April 20 at the Touhill. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall with an opening set by the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner.

“The Tonight Show” bandleader Doc Severinsen is best known as the legendary horn player who welcomed millions of viewers with the familiar theme song for nearly three decades. The Doc Severinsen and His Big Band repertoire includes Ellington and Basie standards, pop, jazz, ballads, big band classics and, of course, “The Tonight Show” theme. Severinsen can blow the roof off with a trumpet solo, and his band members get their well-deserved turns in the spotlight.

Tickets are $35. They are available through the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at touhill.org; or by phone at 314-516-4949.

Read more about the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival on the All About Jazz website.

Media Coverage:
KPLR (Channel 11)
“Cityscape” on St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Beacon


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