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The festival breaks out of its campus walls in the evenings for featured performances by headliners and guest artists, backed by the nationally renowned UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I. Some of the top bands from the day's school competition will get the opportunity to play in front of a packed house.
Friday & Saturday NightsDoc Severinsen and Carl Allen play with the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble One both Friday and Saturday nights!
April 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Eau Claire State Theatre
April 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the Eau Claire State Theatre
*The Friday night concert will feature the Grammy-nominated UW-Eau Claire Jazz Enesmble I and the College Honor Band and Combo.
*The Saturday night concert will feature the Grammy-nominated UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I and the top High School Honor Bands from the day's competition.
2017 Headliners Announced!
Best known for leading the NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Doc Severinsen continues to be beloved by fans across America. He began playing the trumpet when he was a young boy, and quickly found success winning the Music Educator’s National Contest at age twelve. His entry into television began with playing first trumpet for NBC-TV’s in 1954, he began playing in the “Tonight Show Band” in 1962, and he became band leader by 1967.
Known for his flashy performances, Doc kept the band’s music modern and by updating many well-known swing music and jazz standards. He also wowed the audiences with his comedic talents as we would occasionally fill in as announcer on The Tonight Show. Even after the end of the show’s run in 1992, Doc continued performing for audiences as Doc Severinsen and His Big Band traveled across the country.
Doc is a Grammy award winner and has made more than 30 albums. Some of the best-known include The Very Best of Doc which includes 15 of his signature pieces, Unforgettably Doc, Grammy-nominated Once More With Feeling, and Grammy award winning Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band – Volume I. Intending to retire in 2006, Doc moved to Mexico where he ended up meeting guitarist Gil Gutierrez, who he now travels with in a quintet called the San Miguel Five. In addition, Doc continues to tour with his Big Band and performs with symphony orchestras all over the country.
Milwaukee born drummer, Carl Allen, has contributed to the jazz community in countless ways. As a child he listened to R&B, gospel, and funk, but found his true calling in jazz when he listened to legendary saxophonist Benny Carter. His passion for music led him to graduate from William Patterson College in New Jersey in 1983 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies and Performance. After graduation, Allen played with numerous talented musicians such as J.J. Johnson and Joe Henderson.
Though he has proven to be a skilled sideman, Allen has released several CD’s as leader including, Piccadilly Square, The Dark Side of Dewey, The Pursuer, Testimonial, and Get Ready. Along with all of his accomplishments as a performer, Allen is also a dedicated educator and businessman. He began teaching at the Julliard School in 2001, and served as Artistic Director of Jazz Studies from 2008-2013. His dedication to encouraging the next generation of musicians earned him an honorary doctorate from Snow College in 2012. As a businessman, he co-founded Big Apple Productions in 1988 with saxophonist Vincent Herring. In addition he created Nella Productions, which educates along with producing through a series of workshops on jazz that Allen runs around the world. Talented performer, producer of nearly 70 credits and passionate educator, Allen is completely devoted to the future of jazz music.
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The first jazz ensemble (called Stage Band at that time) was started in 1962 by students. John Buchholz and his brother Jim were two of them. Larry McCaghy ran the band as a pianist. Bob Gantner (who successfully convinced the Board of Regents circa 1947? to establish a music department at what was then known as Wisconsin State University Eau Claire) was the head of the Music Department at that time and he gave the band $400 to buy music. That's about $4000 in today's money!
Ron Keezer was at Berklee in Boston from 1961-63 and was sending charts to the band. He returned to Eau Claire the fall of 1963. He ran the band for one year (1963-1964) and then Joe Casey took over as a faculty member in the fall of 1964 and the students could finally get credit for the course. Ron was in the band during the ‘63-64 and ‘64-65 school years. He graduated in 1965. He then went to school at UW-Madison (‘65-66), taught in Muskego, WI for two years and returned to Eau Claire in the summer of 1968. He got a Master’s degree in 1969 and the University hired him.
Eau Claire Jazz Festival Guest Artists
Festival Director: Joe Casey
1967- Ken Bartosh
1968- Bud Brisbois, Father Wiskirken, Jim Coffin & Mel Nussbaum
Festival Director: Dominic Spera
1969- John LaPorta
1970- Clark Terry
1971- Phil Wilson & Alan Dawson
1972- David Baker, Oliver Nelson & Charles Suber
1973- Dave Pavolka, Al Cobine, Rufus Reid & Dan Haerle
1974- Gary Burton & Rich Matteson
1975- Bud Brisbois & Lou Marini, Jr.
1976- Roger Pemberton & Ed Soph
1977- Jamie Aebersold, David Baker, Charles Suber & Ray Wright
Festival Director: Jim Olcott
1978- Buddy DeFranco & Dick Shearer
Festival Director: Henry Mautner
1979- Dick Hyman & Eddie Daniels
1980- Mundell Lowe & Bill Berry
1981- Bob Wilber & Jim Pugh
1982- Joe Wilder & Dave Samuels
1983- Nick Ceroli & Plas Johnson
1984- Snooky Young & Mike Moore
1985- Ernie Watts & Ashley Alexander
1986- Bill Berry & Dave Frishberg
Festival Director: Robert Baca
1987- 20th Anniversary Celebration:
Dominic Spera, Rufus Reid, Bill Sears, Dave Pavolka John Radd & The Alumni Big Band
1988- Bill Pierce, James Williams & Rob McConnell
1989- Al Vizzutti & John Von Ohlen
1990- Matt Harris, Bill Evans & Brian Torff
1991- Jiggs Whigham, Red Rodney, Donald Harrison, Matt Harris & The Airmen of Note
1992- Conti Condoli, Ed Soph, Bob Davis, Al Cobine, Dominic Spera, Matt Harris & The Army Blues Ensemble
1993- Ira Sullivan, Matt Harris, Ted Pease, Larry Wiseman & The Air Force Falconaires
1994- David Baker, Rufus Reid, Tana/Reid Quintet (Akira Tana, Rob Schneiderman, Craig Bailey, Dan Faulk), Diana Spradling & Frank Mantooth
1995- Sammy Nestico & Geoffrey Keezer
1996- Carl Fontana, Charlie Byrd, Dominic Spera & The Airmen of Note
1997- 30th Anniversary Celebration:
Michael Brecker, Byron Stripling, Dominic Spera, & The Noteables Air Combat Command Heartland of America Band, 35th Reunion of 1962 UWEC Jazz Band
1998- Harold Mabern & Peter Erksine
1999- Slide Hampton, Ed Calle & The Air Force Heartland of America Jazz Ensemble
2000- Jon Faddis & Bill Reichenbach
2001- Ingrid Jensen, Lewis Nash & The Air Force Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble
2002- The Dave Holland Quintet, Chris Botti, Christian McBride
2003- Wycliffe Gordon, Sam Pillifan & JAZZAX Saxophone Quartet
2004- David Berkman Quartet
2005- Byron Stripling, Maria Schneider, Jerry Bergonzi & The Noteables
2006- Lewis Nash, Brian Grivna, Nachito Herrera & Michael B. Nelson
2007- Kevin Mahogany, Stanley Jordan & Benny Green
2008- Nnenna Freelon, Benny Golson, Dave Weckl & Chris Brubeck
2009- Chris Potter, Jiggs Whigham & Kevin Washington
2010- Nicholas Payton & Kenni Holman
2011- Eric Marienthal & Bobby Sanabria
2012- Andy Martin & John Pattitucci
2013- Claudio Roditi, Geoffrey Keezer & author Michael Perry
2014- Wycliffe Gordon & Byron Stripling
2015- New York Voices, Terell Stafford & Nachito Herrera
2016- 50th Anniversary Celebration:
Jimmy Heath and Stefon Harris
The Eau Claire Jazz, Inc.
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