Guest Artists, Competitions, Clinics.

Special Guest with The Collective

Don Byron with The Collective

Thursday, April 27, 2017
7:30 p.m.
Nightingale Concert Hall

For two decades, Don Byron — a recipient of the first Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, has been a singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, exploring widely divergent traditions while continually striving for what he calls "a sound above genre." 

As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he redefines every genre of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip--hop, funk, rhythm & blues, gospel, klezmer, or any jazz style from swing and bop to cutting--edge downtown improvisation. He has been consistently voted best clarinetist by critics and readers alike in leading international music journals since being named "Jazz Artist of the Year" by Down Beat Magazine in 1992. Acclaimed as much for his restless creativity as for his unsurpassed virtuosity as a player, Byron has presented a multitude of projects at major music festivals around the world.

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, he was exposed to a wide variety of music by his father, who played bass in calypso bands, and his mother, a pianist. His taste was further refined by trips to the symphony and ballet and by many hours spent listening to Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Machito recordings.

As a practicing jazz historian, many of his albums have been recreations (in spirit) of forgotten moments in the history of popular music. Examples are Plays the Music of Mickey Katz and Bug Music. Byron's album Ivey--Divey received a Grammy nomination for best instrumental solo and was voted Album of the Year by Jazz Times Magazine. In 2007, he was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a United States Artists Prudential Fellowship. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for composition for his "7 Etudes for Piano" and won the "The Samuel Barber Rome Prize for Composition," which came with a one--year residency at the American Academy in Rome where he began work on his first opera.

Photo of The Bad Plus

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

Friday, April 28, 2017
7:30 p.m.
Lawlor Events Center

The Bad Plus — bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King — have a well-earned reputation for pushing the limits on what is expected of a piano-bass-drums trio. For almost two decades, the genre-smashing band has created an original repertoire of inventive music, along with iconoclastic covers of artists as divergent as Nirvana, Neil Young, Aphex Twin and Ornette Coleman.

For its appearance at the 2017 Reno Jazz Festival, the New York-based trio is joined by saxophonist Joshua Redman. It’s a collaboration that began in 2011 with a handful of performances before they went into the studio to record The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, which was released in 2015.

The merger was a successful one.

“The newly christened Bad Plus Joshua Redman took the stage … and proceeded to raise the roof,” according to a review in Metroland of Albany, N.Y. “In a word, the music the quartet produces is sublime. More than that, it’s as though Redman is the long-lost fourth member of the group, just waiting to be snapped snugly into place.”

The Bad Plus almost has exclusively performed as a trio. Occasionally, guests join the band in concert, but only one of its previous 10 albums has included a fourth member. Redman, however, has long enjoyed mixing his musical partners. He has collaborated with Brian Blade, Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau and Pat Metheny, as well as with the SFJAZZ Collective and his bandmates in James Farm.

“On the live gigs, Josh plays magnificent, long tenor solos which are very much in the jazz tradition,” Iverson said. “That’s obviously not the focus when we play as The Bad Plus. It’s fun to for us to enjoy that extended blowing territory, especially with someone as great as Josh. On the album, however, there is still a focus on composition.”

Redman told the Minneapolis’ Star Tribune, “Playing with the Bad Plus has allowed me to explore a part of my playing, and my musical heritage, that I’ve never before accessed in quite the same way with any other group. The adventure with The Bad Plus pushes me toward the fringes and draws me into the core.”

The Bad Plus’ latest albums carry on the trio’s commitment to what members have dubbed “avant-garde populism” — the idea serious music can be as engaging and accessible as it is forward-thinking and provocative.

King said The Bad Plus is a “mixed media band at heart.” “We have conversations which are so stimulating as if we’re in an art salon. I’ve never experienced that in other bands. In The Bad Plus, we’ll talk about a conductor or symphony for hours and then switch over to muscle car films from the 60s. In our music, we believe high and low can be mixed together without seeming precious,” he said.

For more about The Bad Plus, visit

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman concert is included in the Jazz Fan, Full Festival and Friday passes. Visit our Purchase page for options in buying individual concert tickets and for more information.

Festival Showcase and Awards Ceremony

Saturday, April 29, 2017
6:30 p.m.
Lawlor Events Center

The Festival Showcase will feature encore performances from some of the highest-rated groups and soloists in the festival.

During the showcase performances, awards will be given in recognition of individuals and groups who place in the top five of each category (top eight for middle school bands).

The Festival Showcase and Awards Ceremony concert is included in the Jazz Fan, Full Festival and Saturday Passes. Visit our Purchase page for options in buying individual concert tickets and for more information.