JazzFest XXXIX sees return of faculty, alumni musicians

GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s JazzFest XXXIX will help celebrate the 80th birthday of former music faculty member Lovell Ives with re-appearances by former University musicians.

JazzFest, which includes a full day of musical performances and education on campus, is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31. The public concert begins at 4 p.m. in the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, 2420 Nicolet Drive.

The final show features the UW-Green Bay Jazz and Vocal ensembles and a special Alumni Jazz Band directed by Ives, featuring Mark Israel, class of 1982, on the trumpet and Mark Burditt, ’81, on the trombone, along with about 30 other returning alumni musicians. Burditt and Israel currently tour together nationally with the U.S. Air Force elite jazz ensemble, the Falconaires.

“All of those people are show-stopper musicians,” Ives said of the returning alumni that will make up the all-star alumni jazz band. “They can all come out front and be headliners.”

Lovell Ives

Lovell Ives

The UW-Green Bay Jazz Ensemble and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble will each perform several arrangements composed by Ives throughout his career. Some of the arrangements are, “What Now My Love,” “It Might As Well Be Spring,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Things We Did Last Summer,” and “Ellington Medley.”

Other jazz hits adorn the program covering a variety of jazz tastes, from the days of the earliest jazz to modern jazz, Ives said.

Ives, UW-Green Bay’s first jazz director and founder of the University’s jazz program in the late 1960s, remains active arranging professionally for groups and orchestras across the country. He plays trumpet in the River City Six band. Ives retired from UW-Green Bay in 1997.

High school jazz bands, combos and vocal ensembles will perform for judges earlier in the day with a chance to be included as part of the final concert. Performances are judged on jazz style, enthusiasm, program and technical precision. Burditt and Israel will also give a jazz clinic to the young musicians.

Tickets for the 4 p.m. concert are $12 in advance or $14 at the door. Order online at www.uwgb.edu/tickets, or call University Ticketing Services at (920) 465-2217 or (800) 328-8587.

Video Transcript

(Jazz music in the background)

JazzFest XXXIX
A tribute to Lovell Ives

Saturday, January 31, 4 p.m.
Weidner Center for the Performing Arts

(Question) What is “JazzFest at UW-Green Bay?

Prof. Lovell Ives
Former UW-Green Bay jazz professor

Well it started 39 years ago, obviously. In the infancy… what is it… you’ll have to add to it.

Prof. John Salerno
UW-Green Bay jazz professor

(Laughs) From its inception.

Lovell Ives
From its conception, yeah. The University had only been going one year. And so it was a long time ago. We had a band going and the second year, we put on a JazzFest for the area and invited some bands in. I think we only had maybe three or four bands. At that time not many people had jazz band in their high schools as well as at the universities. So it was a long time ago.

John Salerno
It was one of the first in the state, really.

(Question) What will make “JazzFest XXXIX” extra special this year?

John Salerno
Well, Lovell’s students from many years coming back. Many (students). One from Alaska, a couple from Colorado. All over the country, they’re coming back to play for this guy. They all studied with him and it’s going to be a great, great tribute.

Normally we have guest artists. This is a guest artist of all his students.

Lovell Ives
All of those people are show-stopper musicians. They can all come out front and be headliners. The problem is we won’t have time for them all to play out in front. But they’ll be performing in the band and so fourth.

(Question) What can the audience expect at “JazzFest XXXIX”?

John Salerno
A great variety of music, both singing and instrumentalists. The band will be terrific. There are some great, great players coming in. One after the other.

There are some really fantastic jazz performers coming back. As Lovell said, each one could probably be the host or maybe the star of any number of JazzFests. So, it’s an opportunity to see a great deal of talent.

(Question) Why should people come out to the “JazzFest XXXIX” concert on Saturday, Jan. 31?

Lovell Ives
Well, it should be a very entertaining concert. Chris Salerno has a marvelous group and there are professional singers coming back to work in her group. And we’re doing a variety of music, tunes going back from 1911 and different eras of jazz music, to some pretty hip stuff we just wrote recently.

So it should be a really, very entertaining program.

A tribute to Lovell Ives
Saturday, Jan. 31, 4 p.m.

Background Music: Kevin MacLeod, www.incompetech.com


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