UW-Green Bay gears up for Jazz Fest XLIV, featuring Kenny Werner Trio

jazz-fest-topThe University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will continue a longstanding musical tradition Saturday, Feb. 1, presenting Jazz Fest XLIV on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive. This annual educational and performance event will culminate in a public concert at 4 p.m. that day in the Cofrin Family (main) hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

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Since its inception more than four decades ago, the UW-Green Bay Jazz Fest event has drawn middle- and high-school students from across the region for a day of ensemble performances and clinic and master clinic sessions. One or more high school jazz ensembles are selected during the day to perform at the afternoon concert, which also features the UW-Green Bay Jazz Ensemble and a special guest artist. For 2014, UW-Green Bay Music is pleased to welcome the Kenny Werner Trio, led by namesake pianist Werner and also featuring drummer Ari Hoenig and bassist Johannes Weidenmueller. A musician, composer, arranger and educator who began performing at age 4, Werner has been inspired to explore both the technical and spiritual aspects of creativity. He was awarded the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his seminal work, “No Beginning No End,” a musical journey exploring tragedy and loss, death and transition, and the path from one lifetime to the next. Werner has been part of Jazz Fest before, said John Salerno, UW-Green Bay Associate Professor of Music.

“This is the 44th Jazz Fest and we have an old friend, who’s been here before on several occasions, Kenny Werner,” Salerno said. “And he’s bringing a trio with him — a magnificent trio with Ari Hoenig and Johannes Weidenmueller — and they’ll be playing on Saturday afternoon.”

Tickets for the Jazz Fest XLIV concert are $12 in advance, available from the University Ticketing Service & Information Center — call (920) 465-2400 or visit www.uwgb.edu/tickets. Tickets also can be purchased at the door (Weidner Center box office) for $15. UW-Green Bay is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

“I’ve always loved this music,” Salerno said. “And even if you don’t know much about it, I think you ought to come out and see what this is about, at least this festival. It’s a good way to start because of the artists that we have.”

Concert personnel are as follows:

UW-Green Bay Jazz Ensemble: Saxophone: Julio Reyes, Cole Watkins, Sam Stranz, Kelton Jennings, McKenna VanderLeest; Trumpet: Greg Koeller, Chase Collins, Adam Gaines, Gatlin Grimm; Trombone: Michael Hogan, Alex Reed, Joe Russett, Bill Burroughs; Rhythm section: Kyle Sweeney, piano; Matt Hillmann, guitar; Tony Pesavento, bass; Sean Roherty, drums.

Middle and high schools participating in Jazz Fest XLIV are: De Pere High School; Hartford Union High School, Norway, Mich.; North Middle School, Menominee Falls; Notre Dame Academy, Green Bay; Two Rivers High School.

Adjudicators and clinicians for the event are: Jordan Christiansen, Green Bay; Adam Gaines, UW-Green Bay; Craig Hanke, UW-Green Bay; Terry Iattoni, Green Bay; Lovell Ives, Green Bay; Sam Stranz, Green Bay; Tom VandenAvond, De Pere; Chris Salerno, UW-Green Bay.

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