LAWRENCE – Special guests Ryan Keberle and his band Catharsis will headline the KU School of Music’s 42nd Jazz Festival held on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. The festival will include evening concerts on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum of the new Burge Union.
For more than four decades, the KU Jazz Festival has been one of the focal points for jazz performance and education in the central United States, providing the region an opportunity to hear and learn from world-class jazz musicians and educators. The evening concerts feature a first-rate lineup of some of the most important and exciting musicians in the world of contemporary jazz, and daytime clinics and master classes allow students and community members to interact with world-famous jazz musicians outside of the concert hall.
Hailed in the DownBeat International Critics Poll as No. 1 Rising Star Trombonist and a player “of vision and composure” according to The New York Times, Ryan Keberle has developed a one-of-a-kind voice both on his instrument and as a bandleader. He has performed extensively as a featured soloist with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, songwriter Sufjan Stevens, and with Darcy James Argue’s groundbreaking big band Secret Society. Catharsis, Keberle’s celebrated piano-less group with its invigorating trombone-tenor saxophone frontline, agile rhythm section and the voice and guitar of Camila Meza, has toured internationally for years, with four acclaimed albums to their credit.
On Friday, March 1, Keberle will perform with the Festival All-Star Big Band and KU Jazz Ensemble I. The Outstanding Festival High School Ensemble also will perform. The Festival All-Star Big Band is made-up of KU music faculty, guest clinicians and professional jazz artists including drummer Mark Ferber, pianist Dawn Clement and trumpeter Hermon Mehari. The KU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dan Gailey, is the flagship ensemble of the KU Jazz Studies Program.
On Saturday, March 2, Keberle’s band Catharsis, featuring saxophonist John Ellis, guitarist/vocalist Camila Meza, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Eric Doob, will headline the evening concert. The Matt Otto Combo, KU’s top student jazz combo, and the Outstanding Festival College Ensemble also will perform. Matt Otto, a saxophonist and assistant director of the KU Jazz Studies Program, is a prominent Kansas City jazz musician.
Admission to this year’s festival evening concerts is free, with a suggested donation to the KU School of Music.
Following the evening concerts, the music continues with After Hours Jazz Sessions hosted by the Matt Otto Quartet and featuring special guests. The performances are from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the All Seasons Den at The Oread, 1200 Oread Ave. Admission is free.
During the day on March 1 and 2, approximately 50 high school, middle school and college jazz ensembles from throughout the central United States will perform in the Burge Union Forum and in Murphy Hall. Based on performance merit, visiting clinicians will select one group from the big bands and combos that perform each day to perform again on the evening concert. Revolving trophies will be presented to the middle school, high school and college outstanding ensembles. These trophies will stay with the recipients until next year’s jazz festival.