The 35th Ohio State University Jazz Festival 2012

Ohio State’s 35th Annual Jazz Festival kicks off in just over a week, with a lineup that is one for the ages. The festival, which is conducted over a four day period, will feature many well-known artists including The Miguel Zenon Quartet and the Ohio State Jazz Ensemble. The event will take place in the Weigel Auditorium on the Ohio State Campus. The event is sure to have “something for every jazz lover.”

The 2012 Festival opens with a headliner concert by El Movimiento (pictured) on Thursday, April 19 at 6 p.m. in Weigel Auditorium. Comprised of an all-star roster of Nashville’s leading jazz and world-music artists El Movimiento (or “ElMo” as the band is affectionately called) has in a few short years established itself as a sensation on the Music City’s jazz scene. The septet’s powerful and original sound and repertoire are the result of a unique partnership between a multi-cultural trio of accomplished instrumentalists and composers: saxophonist and Nashville native Rahsaan Barber, Dominican percussionist Giovanni Rodriguez, and Puerto Rican trumpeter Imer Santiago. El Movimiento has dedicated itself to two inspiring missions: to build on the heritage established by Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Machito and other Latin jazz giants, and to incorporate into its sound contemporary influences like modern jazz, rock and other popular American styles. Advance ticket sales are available through the OSU Theatre Box Office at 614-292-2295. Tickets at the door (cash or checks only): $12 general public / $6 senior citizens and students with ID.

On the same evening at 8 p.m., the Miguel Zenon Quartet is presented by the Wexner Center for the Arts in conjunction with the OSU Jazz Festival.

Zenón has been honored with one of the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious “genius awards” in recognition of his progressive jazz, which plumbs the depths of Latin music – particularly the roots of his own heritage in Puerto Rico – and of his own originality. Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook, the 2011 release featured in the quartet’s concert here, was recently selected as #1 Best Jazz Album of 2011 by NPR, placed in New York Times critic Nate Chinen’s 2011 top ten list, and nominated for a Grammy. Previous outstanding recordings include Esta Plena (2009), in which “the instrumental prowess of Zenón’s playing, the vigor of his compositions, and the sensitivity of his band to Puerto Rican song forms point to new possibilities in jazz” (Chicago Tribune).

For this concert, Zenón is joined by the same stellar musicians who perform on Alma Adentro: Luis Perdomo on piano, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and Henry Cole on drums. They’ll stretch out on classics by five of the most important Puerto Rican songwriters in history: Bobby Capo, Tite Curet Alonso, Pedro Flores, Rafael Hernandez, and Sylvia Rexach. Zenón calls these songwriters “the George Gershwins, Cole Porters and Jerome Kerns of Puerto Rican song.” As Nick Chinen notes, “the dragonfly speed and lightness of Mr. Zenón’s alto saxophone playing is reason enough to love this meditation on the music of his homeland.”

Set up cabaret-style, the Wexner Center Performance Space offers a perfect setting for live jazz. You experience the music up close with superb sound and can sip wine, beer, or a soft drink as you enjoy the show. Advance ticket sales are available at or the Wexner Center Ticket Office at 614-292-3535. Prices are $15/Wexner Center members and students; $18/general public.

The award-winning Ohio State Jazz Ensemble, the premier ensemble of the Jazz Studies area, will present a concert of many jazz styles on Friday, April 20 at 8 p.m. under the direction of Dr. Ted McDaniel. Featured in this concert are jazz soul vocalist Dr. E and a preview appearance by Derrick Gardner. Advance tickets are available through the OSU Theatre Box Office at 614-292-2295. Tickets at the door (cash or check only): $6/general public, $4/senior citizens and students with ID.

Saturday, April 21 will feature a full day of Ohio State jazz bands and clinics running from 9 a.m. to noon in Weigel Auditorium. Performances include the OSU Jazz Workshop Ensemble, directed by Jim Masters; the OSU Jazz Lab Ensemble, directed by Kris Keith; various other OSU Jazz Combos playing New Orleans, swing, bebop, Latin, and fusion, coordinated by Shawn Wallace.

These performances are FREE!

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The Saturday evening headliner concert will feature Derrick Gardner and the Jazz Prophets at 8 p.m. in Weigel Auditorium.

Jazz trumpeter Derrick Gardner is inspired by the finest hard-blowing funky bop bands of the 1960’s. With extraordinary, creative natural talent, Gardner quickly made his mark upon arriving on the New York jazz scene in 1991. There he began a top-flight career that has taken him around the world performing internationally with the Count Basie Orchestra (1991-present), Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Band, Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band, and The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. The Jazz Prophets formed in 1991 and continues to be the primary vehicle of Gardner’s distinctive, hard-driving music. The band’s three-man horn line, consisting of himself, tenor sax player Rob Dixon, and Derrick’s brother, trombonist Vincent Gardner of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, has been together since the beginning. Derrick Gardner and the Jazz Prophets’ second release on Owl Studios, Echoes of Ethnicity, was heralded with rave reviews and received the honor of being awarded the 2009 “Best Jazz Album of the Year” by the Independent Music Awards. J. Sheel of Jazz Review writes: “[Gardner’s] recording as leader of the Jazz Prophets on Echoes of Ethnicity proves to be another spectacular high point in a career that has placed him among such awe-inspiring bands as Harry Connick Jr., Frank Foster, and the Count Basie Orchestra.”

Advance tickets are available through the OSU Theatre Box Office at 614-292-2295. Tickets at the door (cash or check only): $12/general public, $6/senior citizens and students.

High School Jazz Bands Day concludes the festival on Sunday, April 22 in Weigel Auditorium. Adjudicated performances run from 9 a.m-4 p.m. (times approximate). The OSU Jazz Ensemble will perform a mini-concert at 4:15 p.m., followed by the awards presentations. All Sunday events are FREE!

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