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The 47th annual Wichita Jazz Festival will feature PALO!, Eric Alexander Quartet, and more during the eight-day event in April.

More details from Wichita Jazz Festival (www.wichitajazzfestival.com):

2018 WICHITA JAZZ FESTIVAL presents PALO!, Eric Alexander Quartet featuring pianist Harold Mabern, and shows by bassist Ben Allison, vocalist-bassist Katie Thiroux, saxophonist Brad Leali and more.

The Wichita Jazz Festival (WJF) will mark its 47th year with eight exciting days of music April 1-8, including a Latin Jazz Dance Party at the Roadhouse Event Center headlined by Miami-based PALO! and an evening with tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and legendary pianist Harold Mabern at Roxy’s Downtown.

The major sponsor of the 2018 festival is Wichita-based aerospace manufacturer Perfekta Inc., with additional funding provided by the Gordon W. Evans Charitable Trust and the Arts Council.

The diverse lineup also includes a concert at Roxy’s by bassist Ben Allison and Think Free, a show at Roxy’s by vocalist-bassist Katie Thiroux and her trio, and a big band collaboration with Bethel College in North Newton starring saxophonist Brad Leali. Other nights will bring a showing of “Bill Frisell: A Portrait,” co-sponsored by the Tallgrass Film Festival, and an evening of tunes and talk at Fisch Haus curated by bassist Mark Foley.

A kickoff showcase and community gathering at McAdams Park will feature the Delano Jazz Orchestra, the Wichita Jazz Festival Sessions group and more area acts, as well as presentation of the festival’s Homer Osborne Award for outstanding contribution to jazz education. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and City Council member Brandon Johnson are expected to attend, while Fran Jackson will act as emcee.

Sustaining its proud status as the nation’s longest-running educational jazz festival, WJF again will co-host the annual Wichita State University Jazz Invitational, which last year featured adjudicated performances by 16 middle and high school and college jazz groups from four states. Educational programs coordinated with Bethel College and the Kansas chapter of the Percussive Arts Society will further extend WJF’s reach to student musicians in 2018, and the talented teens of the WJF Sessions group will perform twice during festival week.

A $75 festival pass will guarantee admission to all eight days of events. Seating is general admission; student discounts are available with ID. To purchase passes or single tickets, go to wichitajazzfestival.com. Tickets also will be sold at the door, though may be limited.

Regional partners will include Roxy’s Downtown, WSU, Bethel College, the Kansas chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, the Tallgrass Film Festival, Fisch Haus, the City of Wichita and 89.1 FM KMUW. In-kind contributors include the Ambassador Hotel Wichita, Hertz, Howerton+White, Wesley Inn and the Siena Tuscan Steakhouse.


4-7 p.m. Sunday, April 1, McAdams Park
Kickoff Showcase and Community Gathering featuring the Delano Jazz Orchestra (4 p.m.), the WJF Sessions combo and other area acts, as well as presentation of the Homer Osborne Award for outstanding contribution to jazz education. Fran Jackson is emcee. Free.

7:30 p.m. Monday, April 2, Roxy’s Downtown, co-sponsored with the Tallgrass Film Festival “Bill Frisell: A Portrait,” Emma Franz’s 2017 documentary film about a mild-mannered guitarist who stands out for his versatility, distinctive sound and influence across contemporary music.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, Fisch Haus
Evening of tunes and talk curated by bassist Mark Foley. Free.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, Roxy’s Downtown Trio led by bassist-vocalist Katie Thiroux, an L.A. native and Berklee grad who’s been called a “multitasking talent” (the New Yorker) and “rising star in the jazz firmament” (All About Jazz). Opening act, WJF Sessions combo. $20; students $5 with ID.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, Krehbiel Auditorium, Bethel College, North Newton Brad Leali, associate professor of jazz saxophone and director of the Three O’Clock Lab Band at the University of North Texas, performing with the Bethel College Jazz Ensemble and the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble. Freewill offering.

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday, April 6, Duerksen Fine Arts Center, Wichita State University WSU Jazz Invitational with top high school and college bands in a daylong juried competition at WSU.

7:30 p.m. Friday, April 6, Roxy’s Downtown Bassist Ben Allison, a New York-based composer and performer who reflects the inventive state of the art of East Coast jazz, performs with Think Free members Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Steve Cardenas (guitar) and Allan Mednard (drums). $20; students $5 with ID.

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7, Roadhouse Event Center Latin Jazz Dance Party starring Miami-based PALO! and its festive Cuban funk, which has earned the band Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations. Concert sponsored by Perfekta Inc., and also supported by the Kansas chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. $30; students $5 with ID.

7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8, Roxy’s Downtown Tenor sax star Eric Alexander and his quartet featuring his 81-year-old mentor, veteran pianist Harold Mabern. Alexander, a prolific recording artist based in New York, has propelled his instrument’s bop-based jazz tradition into the 21st century; the Memphis-born Mabern has been called “one of the great post-bop pianists.” $30; students $5 with ID.

For more information, contact Ken White, president of WJF board of directors, 316-262-6644.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: wichitajazzfestival.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WichitaJazzFestival
Twitter: @WichitaJazzFest

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