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41st Annual Jazz Festival to Feature Jazz Greats March 27-30

RELEASED: March 14, 2008

Nnenna Freelon
Benny Golson
Dave Weckl
Chris Brubeck
Nnenna Freelon, Benny Golson, Dave Weckl and Chris Brubeck will perfomr at UW-Eau Claire's Jazz Festival.

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host its 41st annual Jazz Festival March 27-30.

UW-Eau Claire's Jazz Festival is one of the oldest and largest jazz events in the nation, with more than 70 college, high school and middle school big bands and combos from the Midwest participating. The festival includes critiqued performances, topical clinics, vocal and instrumental master classes, and concerts featuring distinguished jazz artists.

This year, the guest artists are five-time-Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, saxophone legend Benny Golson, Hall of Fame drummer Dave Weckl and trombonist Chris Brubeck with Triple Play.

Freelon will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Zorn Arena. She has been described as a "spell-binding professional who rivets attention with her glorious, cultivated voice and canny stagecraft." She has performed and toured with Al Jarreau, Aretha Franklin, Dianne Reeves, George Benson, Herbie Hancock and Clark Terry.

Golson and Weckl will be the featured artists at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 28, and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. Golson is the only living jazz artist to have written eight standards for the jazz repertoire. He has performed with numerous jazz legends, including John Coltrane, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Farmer and Red Garland. In 2007, he received the Mellon Living Legacy Jazz Award presented by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Weckl has been dubbed "one of the 25 best drummers of all time" in the Drummer's Hall of Fame. He has toured with Paul Simon, Madonna, George Benson, Mike Stern and Chick Corea. His cutting-edge style and innovative use of electronic and acoustic drums have been showcased in nine albums.

Following the Friday concert, an open jam will begin at 10 p.m. at the Green Mill Restaurant in the Holiday Inn at 2703 Craig Rd. in Eau Claire. All jazz lovers are invited to bring an instrument and play some tunes. Members of UW-Eau Claire's Jazz I and the Jazz Fest guest artists will be there to play along.

The State Theatre will host trombonist Chris Brubeck with Triple Play at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 30. Brubeck is a composer and arranger for the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Aspen Wind Quintette and the Manhattan Choral Festival. His compositions have been aired on more than140 national radio stations. He currently performs with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet and with Triple Play — an acoustic blues/jazz/folk trio with vocals.

Tickets for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday concerts are on sale at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727, and will be sold at the door. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $8 for students and senior citizens.

For tickets for Sunday's concert, contact the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center at 715-832-2787.

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