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Eau Claire Jazz Festival to Feature Chris Potter, Jiggs Whigham and Randy Sabien

RELEASED: March 9, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — The Eau Claire Jazz Festival, a partnership of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Eau Claire community, will host the 42nd annual jazz festival Thursday through Sunday, April 2-5.

The Eau Claire Jazz Festival, formerly known as the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Festival, is one of the oldest and largest jazz events in the nation, with more than 80 college, high school and middle school big bands, combos and vocal jazz groups from around the Midwest participating. The festival includes critiqued performances, interactive clinics, vocal and instrumental master classes, and concerts featuring distinguished jazz artists.

Chris Potter Jiggs Whigham Randy Sabien
Chris Potter
Jiggs Whigham
Randy Sabien

This year's guest artists are Grammy-nominated tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, internationally acclaimed trombonist Jiggs Whigham and innovative jazz violinist Randy Sabien.

Potter was described by the Detroit Free Press as "easily the most compelling saxophonist of his generation." He performed on Steely Dan's Grammy-nominated album and was nominated for his own Grammy award for "Best Instrumental Jazz Solo" on Joanne Brackeen's "Pink Elephant Magic." The youngest recipient ever to receive the annual Danish Jazzpar Prize, he has performed extensively with the Dave Holland Band and over the world with his own ensembles.

At age 17, trombonist Oliver "Jiggs" Whigham was a featured soloist and first trombone in the Glenn Miller Orchestra. In 1979 he was named professor and head of the jazz department at Cologne University College of Music, the first appointment of its kind in Germany. He is a soloist and clinician worldwide, conductor of the BBC Big Band in Great Britain and artistic director of the Berlin Jazz Orchestra. He has recorded with countless artists, including Count Basie, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz.

Potter and Whigham will be the featured artists at the headliner concerts at 7:30 p.m. April 3 and 7 p.m. April 4 at Memorial High School in Eau Claire.

NPR hailed Sabien as "the past, present and future of jazz violin." At 21, he became the founder and chairperson of the jazz string department at The Berklee College of Music in Boston. He performed with and produced three albums for Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jim Post before creating his own record label, Fiddlehead Music. He plays regularly as a jazz violin guest soloist with symphonies across the country.

Sabien will perform at 2 p.m. April 5 at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls.

Other featured guest artists include vocalist and pianist Christine Salerno, vocalist and saxophonist Woody Mankowski, and drummer Kevin Washington.

Tickets are available online and at Festival Foods and Mega East and West in Eau Claire.

Visit their Web site for more information about the festival and ticket information, or contact Martha Seroogy at 715-836-4092 or



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