Grammy Award-winning bassist Christian McBride and the Inside Straight band will headline this year's Carolina Jazz Festival Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 23 through 25, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Saxophonist Steve Wilson, a member of Inside Straight, will be the artist in residence for the 35th annual festival. This year's festival, themed "Jazz: In Sound and Image," also features a roving photography exhibit.
Workshops, concerts and late-night jams during the festival will showcase the guest artists, UNC Jazz Band, UNC Jazz Combos and Charanga Carolina. The Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Festival—presented in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center—returns for its seventh year. High school and middle school bands from North Carolina and Virginia will come to UNC's Frank Porter Graham Student Union on Thursday, Feb. 23, for a day of performances and clinics.
For a schedule and more information, visit http://music.unc.edu/jazzfest or call (919) 962-1039. For tickets, contact the Memorial Hall Box Office at 140 E. Cameron Ave., open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (919) 843-3333 or visit www.carolinaperformingarts.org.
"Bassist Christian McBride is one of our nation's great cultural and artistic ambassadors," said Jim Ketch, festival director and music professor and director of jazz studies in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences. "He is a tireless advocate for jazz, jazz education, and the arts in our schools. His music is rooted in the jazz tradition, yet it's fresh and new. Steve Wilson is highly respected for his saxophone artistry, musicianship and wide-ranging experience in all facets of the music. His passion for jazz education and young people makes him one of the most outstanding artists we have ever invited to the Carolina Jazz Festival."
Major performances include:
• Friday, Feb. 24: Fred and Gail Fearing Jazz for a Friday Afternoon, 4 p.m., Kenan Music Building rehearsal hall, featuring the UNC Jazz Combos. Free.
• Friday, Feb. 24: Christian McBride and Inside Straight, 8 p.m., Memorial Hall. Part of the Carolina Performing Arts season. Tickets (919) 843-3333: $15 to $39; $10 for students. Come early for a free lecture and demonstration on jazz improvisation featuring members of the UNC jazz faculty, 7 p.m., Historic Playmakers Theater.
• Saturday, Feb. 25: UNC Jazz Band, 8 p.m., Kenan Music Building Room 1201, with guest artist Steve Wilson. Free.
A roving art exhibit by Durham photographer Steven Bromberg, "Portraits of Carolina Jazz," will feature photographs of Carolina jazz faculty, students and guest artists. Jazz will be performed at exhibit openings.
• Through Friday, March 2: Frank Porter Graham Student Union gallery. Second Friday Art Walk reception at 6 p.m.
• Through Monday, March 26: Ackland Art Museum study gallery. Preview reception at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, will feature music from UNC jazz faculty and students.
• Additional photos will be on display in the lobbies of festival performance venues, including Kenan Music Building and Memorial Hall.
McBride has performed and recorded with jazz artists McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis and Joshua Redman, as well as with hip-hop, soul, pop and classical artists such as Sting and soprano Kathleen Battle. He is former creative chair for jazz at the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Wilson has played on more than 100 recordings with artists such as Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, Joe Henderson and Charlie Byrd, and has produced seven recordings under his own name.
Campus festival sponsors are the Office of the Executive Director for the Arts, Carolina Performing Arts, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, Carolina Union Activities Board, Center for the Study of the American South, department of music, UNC jazz studies and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonians, a music fraternity.
National sponsors of the jazz festival are Essentially Ellington, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Double Time Records, The Music Resource and Jamey Aebersold Jazz. Community sponsors are WNCU-FM, Jazz Foundation of North Carolina Inc., Art of the Cool Project and West End Wine Bar.