Eau Claire Jazz Fest

four days packed with national acts, locals, and students

Bailey Berg

Nicholas Payton, wailing.

To anyone who has ever said jazz is dead, prepare to eat your words. Eau Claire’s 43rd Annual Jazz Festival is a two-week celebration of all things – you guessed it – jazz. Sponsored in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Eau Claire’s Jazz Fest plays host to nationally recognized musicians, local artists, and student musicians and brings them in front of audiences in large music venues to coffeehouses. Musicians and organizers will also be providing a free jam session, as well as hands-on jazz education and awareness clinics. This year, Jazz Fest will welcome back nearly 20 UWEC Jazz graduates, all of whom studied under Jazz Fest’s artistic director, Robert Baca, to perform in the first Jazz Alumni Band Concert at Zorn Arena on April 17. Some of the big names this year include Grammy-winning trumpeter Nicholas Payton, the premier saxophonist Kenni Holmen, cellist Matt Turner, alto saxophonist Richie Cole, violinist Randy Sabien, and jazz vocalists Connie Evingson and Fred Steele. Haymarket Grill, Oakwood Mall, and numerous coffeehouses will host small concerts as well. Whether you enjoy jazz in intimate settings or love to dance to swing-era music, there will be something for everyone, from preschool jazz storytime to a jazz slam.

Eau Claire Jazz Festival • April 15-18 • throughout the city • various times • www.eauclairejazz.com

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