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11th Annual Oregon Jazz Festival

Escape the winter doldrums with two nights of hot jazz for the 11th Annual Oregon Jazz Festival Jan. 23 and 24 at University of Oregon and Lane Community College.

During the day, the festival consists of clinics for student jazz musicians and concert performances from high schools. This year, students will have the opportunity to work with festival clinician Branford Marsalis, a music educator, Grammy-winning saxophonist and Tony-winning composer. Marsalis will also be performing in a concert presented by the Eugene Symphony 8 pm Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Hult Center. 

Ron Bertucci, a music instructor at LCC and co-director of the festival, says the OJF “forged a partnership with the Eugene Symphony Association. We worked together so they could procure some grants with the Hult Center to bring Branford Marsalis.” He notes, “This partnership with the Eugene Symphony is a first for us. It’s pretty special that you have a jazz artist come out and do something with a symphony.”

Friday night’s concert at LCC’s Ragozzino Performance Hall includes big band performances from both LCC and UO Jazz Ensembles with guest appearances from the festival’s clinicians.

In celebration of the collaborative nature of jazz, Saturday’s concert will be a performance by 10 visiting musicians. “This year for the first time we have a composer’s dectet,” Bertucci says. “These are all really great artists from around the West Coast that are playing in the dectet. What’s really cool about this is this music was written for this group of musicians for this festival,” adding, “It’s an ensemble; it’s not common these days.”

The dectet roster includes tenor saxophonist and director of the UO Jazz Ensemble Steve Owen, baritone saxophonist and Emerald City Jazz Kings member Jesse Cloninger (also formerly of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies), trumpet player Paul Mazzio, who currently plays with Portland Jazz Orchestra, and jazz pianist and Willamette University music professor James Miley. 

OJF performances kick off at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday, Jan. 23 and 24, at Lane Community College’s Ragozzino Performance Hall; $20 general, $10 students. All ages. For more information, visit oregonjazzfestival.com.