Bon Iver/Memorial HS Jazz Album

Justin Vernon’s concert with alma mater’s jazz ensemble released on CD

Kinzy Janssen, photos by Mike O'Brien |

To support Memorial High School’s acceptance to the Essentially Ellington Festival in NYC, Memorial Alum Justin Vernon played a sendoff concert with the jazz band Sunday, April 19. The concert will be available on CD.

Last April, an exceptional concert took place in the auditorium at Memorial High School that combined the talents of famed alumnus Justin Vernon with the beyond-their-years musicality of Jazz Ensemble I. Under the direction of Bruce Hering, the students performed jazz and blues standards, then invited Vernon to join them for an eight-song set which included adaptations of two Bon Iver songs: For Emma and Lump Sum.

Shortly after this fundraiser/concert, the students traveled to New York City for the Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival – the same esteemed national competition that Vernon brought his guitar to 10 years earlier. This year, the band captured third place and were aptly named “One of America’s Best Jazz Bands.”

Let’s say you missed that sold-out concert. Or you attended, but want something more substantial than a memory. Luckily, Jazz Ensemble I has just announced the release of a CD recording of this concert. Local sales of the CD, entitled A Decade with Duke, will feed directly into the program that fosters these young musicians. Part of the iTunes sales of the concert’s second set (the songs that included Vernon) will likewise help keep an otherwise-robust program financially robust as well.

CDs are available for purchase in Eau Claire only at the following locations: Brickhouse Music, Morgan Music, and the Volume One office at 17 S. Barstow.