Great Plains Jazz Festival
The Great Plains Jazz Festival features nationally renowned adjudicators, clinicians and guest artists. The festival is designed to be an educational experience for band directors and students from middle school through college. Ensembles perform for written and recorded comments and then proceed to a different room for a clinic from one of the adjudicators. In addition to the individualized clinic that each band receives, participants also have the opportunity to attend general clinic sessions presented by guest artists and adjudicators. The highlight of the festival is the opportunity to hear professional jazz concerts for free or greatly reduced prices.
Jazz artists that have recently appeared at the Great Plains Jazz Festival include Brubeck Brothers, Bela Fleck, Doc Severinsen, Diane Schuur, the Jim Widner Big Band, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Jim Pugh, Marvin Stamm, Hubert Laws, and the Blue Note 7 featuring Ravi Coltrane and Nicholas Payton.
2018 Great Plains Jazz Festival featuring Rick Hirsch's Big Ol' Band, Chris Potter, and Indrikis Veitners
February 23-24, 2018
- Due to the renovation/construction/addition at UNO's Strauss Performing Arts Center, ALL Friday Festival Participants will perform in the Milo Bail Student Center this year.
- Saturday Festival Participants will perform at the Holland Performing Arts Center Scott Recital Hall.
- Evening headliner performances will take place both nights at
8pm. Friday's concert will feature Rick Hirsch's Big 'Ol Band with Indrikis Veitners and Saturday's concert will feature Chris Potter with the UNO Jazz Ensemble.
Guest Artist & Clinicians
Critics hail Rick Hirsch's music as “audacious, seductive, sumptuous, and [occasionally] raucous.” He and his Big Ol’ Band have been making waves since the release of their debut album Pocono Git-Down.
Hirsch tailors all of his music to highlight the individual personalities of his band-mates, all of whom are long-time friends and collaborators of Hirsch, and who are top-flight musician-educators mostly residing in small cities and college towns. Collectively, they’ve performed and recorded with the Bob Mintzer Big Band, the Airmen of Note, the Buddy Rich Big Band, the US Army Jazz Ambassadors, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Maria Schneider, Max Roach, Curtis Fuller, Clark Terry, and the indie-pop band Saint Motel.
Hirsch began his career apprenticing with master jazz composers Bob Mintzer and Toshiko Akiyoshi, serving each as a personal music copyist. He has since garnered numerous composition awards and countless commissions for artists including jazz icons Yusef Lateef, Tito Puente, and Eddie Henderson; the Capitol Quartet and Osland Saxophone Quartet; and the Penn State Blue Band, to name a few. And he lives in the middle of Pennsylvania, three-hours drive to the nearest big city.
A world-class soloist, Chris Potter is an accomplished composer and formidable bandleader and saxophonist. Chris has emerged as a leading light of his generation. Down Beat called him “One of the most studied (and copied) saxophonists on the planet” while Jazz Times identified him as “a figure of international renown.” Jazz sax elder statesman Dave Liebman called him simply, “one of the best musicians around,” a sentiment shared by the readers of Down Beat in voting him second only to tenor sax great Sonny Rollins in the magazine’s 2008 Readers Poll.
School performances at the Great Plains Jazz Festival are free and open to the public.
Tickets are required for the evening headliner concerts.
Friday, Feb. 23,
- Tickets for Friday are $15 general admission and $5 for students and directors
- Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom
Saturday, Feb. 24,
- Tickets for Saturday are $15 general admission and $5 for students and directors
- Holland Performing Arts Center Scott Recital Hall
2017 Omaha Performing Arts Combo Competition (Saturday Only)
Omaha Performing Arts will be holding their annual jazz combo competition in conjunction with the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival. This annual competition element of the festival provides outstanding student ensembles a chance to shine in a combo setting. Winners will perform as the opening act
- High School and College student jazz combos of 10 or fewer musicians are eligible to compete.
- Combos will have a clinic in the same venue after their performance in the remaining allotted performance time.
- Fee: $50 per Jazz Combo. Terms and conditions of competition and performance prize are subject to change.
Visit Omaha Performing Arts for more information.
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