Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival – the University of Montana’s 37th annual event – brings together jazz artists and students March 16-17.
Named after jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, the evening concerts blend performances by jazz luminaries with student artists, 7:30 p.m. March 16-17 at the UM Dennison Theatre. Each concert includes performances by guest artists and the UM Jazz Ensemble, the “Best Sections” High School Big Band, outstanding high school soloists, and the UM Festival Artist Sextet.
Thursday’s guest artists are saxophonist Brad Leali, a native of Denver and professor of jazz saxophone at the University of North Texas; versatile New York City drummer Chris Smith, who has backed an array of artists, including Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Benny Green, and Rich Perry, and accompanied jazz and pop vocalists, as well as hip-hop, rock, and funk artists; and pianist Dana Landry, director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado.
On Friday, hear ASCAP Award-winning composer, trombonist, and educator Nate Kimball, a 30-year-old Las Vegas native who currently performs full-time as the trombonist and back-up bassist with Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity show; Canadian bassist, composer and educator Ashley Summers; and trumpeter Jim Sisko, who has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, Manhattan Transfer, and the rock band Yes, to name a few.
The emphasis of this instrumental and vocal jazz festival is on education, improvisation and the jazz language. The fun and learning continue daily with clinics, ensemble critiques, workshops, open rehearsals and master classes with guest artists, local musicians and faculty from the University of Montana.
Concert tickets are $15-$25 nightly or $25-$40 for both; call 406-243-4581 or visit griztix.com.