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22nd Annual Elon Jazz Festival to feature the Marcus Roberts Trio on Feb. 17

The Elon Jazz Festival featuring the Elon University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Rusty Smith, adjunct instructor in music, will be joined by saxophonist Doug Henry to kick off this year's festival concert which will feature the Marcus Roberts Trio on Saturday night, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the McCrary Theater.

Jazz saxophonist Doug Henry, a staple of the Charlotte, N.C., jazz scene for nearly four decades and current member of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, joins the Elon University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Rusty Smith, adjunct instructor in music, to showcase both classic and current jazz compositions along with dazzling improvisation.

The evening will conclude with a performance of the Marcus Roberts Trio, a long-term musical partnership between Marcus Roberts (piano), Rodney Jordan (bass) and Brian Carter (drums).

Pianist/composer, Marcus Roberts, has been hailed as “the genius of the modern piano.” In 2014, the celebrated CBS News television show "60 Minutes" profiled his life and work on a segment entitled “The Virtuoso.”  The show traced Roberts’ life to date from his early roots in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to his remarkable career as a modern jazz musician.

Roberts grew up in Jacksonville where his mother's gospel singing and the music of the local church left a lasting impact on his own musical style. He began teaching himself to play piano at age five after losing his sight and did not have his first formal lesson until age 12. Despite that late start, he progressed quickly through hard work and good teachers.

His recordings include solo piano, duets, and trio arrangements of jazz standards as well as original suites of music for trio, large ensembles, and symphony orchestra. His popular DVD recording with the Berlin Philharmonic showcases his groundbreaking arrangement of Gershwin's Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra ("A Gershwin Night," EuroArts 2003).

Roberts launched his own record label, J-Master Records, in 2009. Since then he has released several popular recordings on that label including: "New Orleans Meets Harlem, Volume 1" (trio), "Deep in the Shed: A Blues Suite" (nonet), "Celebrating Christmas" (trio), "From Rags to Rhythm (trio), Together Again: Live in Concert (quartet), Together Again: In the Studio" (quartet), "Romance, Swing, and the Blues" (12-piece band), and finally, in the fall of 2017, a trio recording called "Crescent."

Roberts has long been dedicated to the training and development of younger musicians. Each year, he returns to the Savannah Music Festival where he serves as an associate artistic director as well as the director of the annual Swing Central Jazz programs that bring high school students from all over the country to Savannah for educational programs and a band competition. Roberts is an associate professor of music at the School of Music at Florida State University. He holds an honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Juilliard School.

This concert is presented by the Music Department in conjunction with the Elon University Lyceum Series. Admission is FREE - No tickets are required. 

The festival also includes the following workshops, master classes and rehearsals. All events are in McCrary Theater in the Center for the Arts except as noted. 

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Workshop/Master Class:  Visiting Band Performance Critiques

Doug Henry and Jon Metzger, facilitators

Friday, Feb. 16

10 a.m. — Cedar Ridge High School Jazz Ensemble II, Josh Cvijanovic, director

10:30 a.m. — Cedar Ridge High School Jazz Ensemble I, Josh Cvijanovic, director

11 a.m. — Knightdale High School Jazz Ensemble, Bill Holmes, director

11:30 a.m. — East Chapel Hill Jazz Combo I, Ryan Ellefsen, director

Noon — East Chapel Hill Jazz Combo II, Ryan Ellefsen, director

12:30 p.m. — Grimsley High School Jazz Band, Dr. Stefan Stuber, director

1:30 p.m. — Panther Jazz Collective, John Russell, director

2 p.m. — McDougle Middle School, Luis Rodriguez, director

2:30 p.m. — Western Alamance High School, Michael Jefferson, director

3 p.m. — Clover Garden School, Steve Morris, director

3:30 p.m. — Graham Middle School, Calvin Evans, Jr., director

4 p.m. — Georgetown Day School, Brad Linde, director

4:30 p.m. — Georgetown Day School, Brad Linde, director

Sponsored by the Department of Music and the Office of Cultural and Special Programs

Rusty Smith,
2/13/2018 2:35 PM