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The 51st Annual Jazz Festival Approaches!

| Noelle Nuss



The 51st annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival, presented by Eau Claire Jazz Inc. in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will be filling the city with music from April 21-22. Jazz musicians and festivalgoers will be joining together to learn about, play and enjoy jazz music through various clinics and concerts happening throughout the weekend.


Performances by world-renowned jazz musicians along with competitions for middle school, high school and college jazz ensembles welcomes community members of all ages to join in on the festivities and explore the world of jazz.


Since its first event in 1967, the Eau Claire Jazz Festival has grown to be one of the oldest and largest jazz festivals in the United States. With over NUMBER bands and solo artists, there will never be a shortage of jazz music throughout the weekend.


The Eau Claire Jazz Festival is organized by UW-Eau Claire student interns. Professionals on the festival’s board work directly with the interns to aid them and assure the best possible experience for all who attend the festival.


In addition to student interns coordinating the festival, UW-Eau Claire Alumni help run some of the clinics that are held on the campus throughout the weekend. UW-Eau Claire plays a vital role in the music community by having such a strong presence at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, adding even more to the event experience.


Guest artist headliner concerts


Grammy award winner and trumpet player, Doc Severinsen will be playing alongside Milwaukee born drummer, Carl Allen and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Jazz Ensemble I during the 2017 Eau Claire Jazz Festival this April 21 and 22.


With more that 30 albums under his belt, Doc Severinsen has had quite the music career so far and continues to play for fans across the country. Doc is best known for leading the “Tonight Show Band” after joining in 1962. From time to time Doc would even fill in as the announcer on The Tonight Show. He was able to captivate audiences with flashy performances and updating jazz and swing music to fit an evolving, modern taste. Today, Doc still tours with his Big Band and plays in orchestras across the United States.


Carl Allen, drummer, educator and businessman, has similarly had an exciting music career. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies and Performance from William Patterson College in New Jersey in 1983, Allen played with various musicians including J.J. Johnson and Joe Henderson. Allen acted as the Artistic Director of Jazz Studies at the Julliard School from 2008-2013, after he started teaching there in 2001. In 1988, Allen co-founded Big Apple Productions then later went on to create Nella Productions, which is a jazz education and production program. Allen invests a lot of his efforts working towards the ever-evolving future of jazz music.



52nd Street


Downtown Eau Claire will be jam-packed with jazz on Friday night, April 21. Sponsored by Royal Credit Union, 52nd Street is  re-creation of the historic 52nd Street of New York City, where jazz greats like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong sat in with different ensembles in a variety of nightclubs . More than 60 bands will perform in 16 club venues along Barstow Street throughout the night.


Artistic director for the Eau Claire Jazz Festival and director of jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Robert Baca, speaks about the growing festival and 52nd Street events.


“Its success and outreach has connected the city of Eau Claire to the university in a very direct way,” Baca says. “Folks from both the university and community of Eau Claire pack the streets to join the fun and excitement of enjoying jazz music with thousands of others.”


For the second year now, Eau Claire City Council will close streets downtown to accommodate the event.


Tickets for 52nd Street are available as $10 all-access wristbands sold at the door. One wristband provides all-night access to all of the venues. Venues consist of both 21+ and all ages.