The School of Music, a flagship program at the University of North Florida, is celebrating the 31st anniversary of its Great American Jazz Series, a special component of the Jazz Studies Program that brings popular, talented jazz artists to campus. Performances kick off Thursday, September 13, and run through Thursday, April 18. The yearly series that began in 1989 hosts five or six high-profile jazz artists each year for week-long residencies during which they teach and perform with UNF jazz students.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate thirty years of the Great American Jazz Series and look forward to exposing the community to many more gifted jazz artists in the years to come,” says Randall Tinnin, UNF School of Music director.
In 1986, the Koger Family Foundation created an endowment that provides support to the American Music Fund. Through this support, jazz luminary and Jazz Education Hall of Fame inductee Rich Matteson was hired to create a jazz studies program at UNF. Matteson recruited an all-star faculty, which attracted some of the best and brightest young students in the U.S.
Within a few years, the UNF Jazz Studies Program achieved national recognition, with students winning prestigious DownBeat magazine awards and going on to perform in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, elite Washington D.C. military ensembles and many other world-class artists. The Great American Jazz Series has enabled the Jazz Ensemble 1 and 2 groups to perform in concert with over one-hundred esteemed artists, such as Herbie Hancock, The Count Basie Orchestra, Joe Henderson, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker and more.
The 31st Annual Great American Jazz Series will feature the following performances, all under the artistic direction of Associate Professor of Music J.B. Scott:
• Thursday, Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m. UNF’s Robinson Theater, Building 14A Jazz Faculty Scholarship Concert: Jazz Studies faculty Danny Gottlieb on drums, Barry Greene on guitar, Dennis Marks on bass and Todd DelGiudice on saxophone will debut original arrangements and compositions. Tickets: $8/$10/$15
• Thursday, Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m. UNF’s Robinson Theater, Building 14A Trombonist Dave Steinmeyer – A Legend Salutes the Legends: Dave Steinmeyer, adjunct professor of applied trombone, will perform in tribute to Frank Sinatra. Steinmeyer has appeared as a performer and clinician at most of the major universities in the U.S. and has performed for eight U.S. presidents. Additionally, he has been a featured artist at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Kennedy Center and the White House. Tickets: $8/$10/$15
• Thursday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. UNF’s Robinson Theater, Building 14A United States Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble: The U.S. Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, an eighteen-member group comprised of some of the finest musicians in the world, will perform big band jazz. Scholarship Donation: $10
• Friday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m. UNF’s Robinson Theater, Building 14A Drummer Dennis Mackrel and Pianist Reggie Thomas: A composers’ forum will take place featuring legendary composers Dennis Mackrel and Reggie Thomas. This performance will be presented in partnership with The Beaches Fine Arts Series. Admission is free.
• Thursday, April 4, 7:30 p.m. UNF’s Robinson Theater, Building 14A Saxophonist Miguel Zenon: Multiple Grammy Award nominee Miguel Zenon will perform music that concentrates on the mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz. Tickets: $8/$17/$25
• Thursday, April 18, 7:30 p.m. UNF’s Robinson Theater, Building 14A JE1 Plays the Music of JE1: Jazz Ensemble 1, the flagship ensemble of the UNF Jazz Studies Program, will conclude the 31st Annual Great American Jazz Series by performing original musical compositions. Tickets: $8/$12
Tickets are available online or by calling the Ticket Box Office at (904) 620-2878. For more information, contact Kolanda Douglas, music coordinator marketing publications, at (904) 620- 2864.
• The Department of Music was designated as a UNF Flagship Program in 2011, and as the UNF School of Music in 2015. The UNF School of Music offers comprehensive instruction relevant in the music industry of the 21st century. It’s now the musical home of 250 students, 23 full-time faculty members and 18 adjunct faculty members. It offers undergraduate degrees in jazz studies, performance, music education, piano pedagogy as well as music technology/production and master’s degrees in jazz studies, conducting, performance, and music education (beginning in spring 2018), plus certificates in performance, music technology and production.
• UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.