Considered one of the best of its kind in the world, and lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as "showcasing music's future," the Reno Jazz Festival at the University of Nevada, Reno has been bringing jazz superstars and the finest emerging young artists to town for more than five decades. Celebrating 53 years of jazz, 1962-2015, the Reno Jazz Festival hosts three days of concerts, competitions and events on the University's campus, April 23-25, including acclaimed saxophonist Donny McCaslin, award-winning ensemble SFJAZZ Collective, and innovative vocal group Vertical Voices.
Joining the 2015 University of Nevada, Reno Jazz Festival in concert, Donny McCaslin kicks off the festival Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Nightingale Concert Hall, performing with the University's faculty jazz ensemble, The Collective. Acclaimed saxophonist, composer and Grammy nominee for "Best Jazz Instrumental Solo," McCaslin has been called a "powerful voice in modern creative music" by the Huffington Post.
Inspired by his father, a pianist and vibraphonist, the young McCaslin started playing tenor saxophone at 12 and quickly progressed, touring Europe and participating in the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival's California All-Star band while in high school. After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., he joined Berklee professor Gary Burton's quintet, with whom he toured for four years. McCaslin has received a Doris Duke grant for new jazz composition from Chamber Music America, and his acclaimed recording, In Pursuit, comprises the results of that work. Currently, McCaslin is a member of Dave Douglas's Quintet and Maria Schneider's Orchestra, while also recording as leader and sideman on numerous ventures with other titans as Gary Burton, Eddie Gomez, The Mingus Band and Pat Metheny.
Friday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Lawlor Events Center, the SFJAZZ Collective brings its all-star award-winning ensemble comprised of eight of the finest performers/composers at work in jazz today. Launched in 2004 by the renowned San Francisco Jazz Organization - the West Coast's largest jazz presenter and a recognized international leader in jazz creation and education - the SFJAZZ Collective has become one of the most exciting groups on the jazz scene. In addition to its outstanding line-up, the ensemble has been praised for its innovative approach to repertoire, each year performing a new list of compositions by a modern jazz master. Through this pioneering approach, the SFJAZZ Collective embodies a commitment to jazz as a living, ever-relevant art form.
The Friday evening concert opens with vocal innovators, Vertical Voices. Venturing into new artistic territory within the vocal jazz genre with fresh and innovative power, the quartet - Julia Dollison, Kerry Marsh, Jennifer Barnes and Greg Jasperse - records and performs amazing wordless vocals, new compositions, improvisation and more.
The finest jazz educators and musicians on the planet travel to the University of Nevada, Reno each spring to perform and teach at the Reno Jazz Festival and this year is no exception. In addition to evening concerts by world-renowned guest artists, the Reno Jazz Festival also offers daytime competitions, workshops and clinics by scores of professional jazz artists and adjudicators for more than 9,000 young jazz musicians from school groups throughout the West. The three-day festival culminates in a showcase concert and awards ceremony Saturday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Lawlor Events Center, to honor the best and brightest young standouts.