Reno Jazz Festival celebrates 60 years

Headliner artists include groundbreaking saxophonist Miguel Zenón and vocal phenom Michael Mayo

Miguel Zenon stands with band outside for photo

Acclaimed jazz artists, like Miguel Zenón, will perform and lead workshops during the 60th annual Reno Jazz Festival April 28-30, 2022.

Reno Jazz Festival celebrates 60 years

Headliner artists include groundbreaking saxophonist Miguel Zenón and vocal phenom Michael Mayo

Acclaimed jazz artists, like Miguel Zenón, will perform and lead workshops during the 60th annual Reno Jazz Festival April 28-30, 2022.

Miguel Zenon stands with band outside for photo

Acclaimed jazz artists, like Miguel Zenón, will perform and lead workshops during the 60th annual Reno Jazz Festival April 28-30, 2022.

The Reno Jazz Festival celebrates 60 years of excellence in jazz with a triumphant return to the stage April 28-30, 2022.  

Since 1962, the Festival has welcomed thousands of young musicians to the University of Nevada, Reno campus for three full days of jazz performance, workshops, concerts and coaching.

Traditionally an 8,000 person plus sized event, this year’s event is smaller but packed with content and artistry.  More than 15 workshops on a range of jazz related topics will be offered from some of the country’s leading jazz artists and educators.

“60 years is no small achievement and much gratitude and credit are due to all those that have been a part of RJF over the decades: students, parents, directors, adjudicators, headliners, volunteers and the many past and present members of the RJF Team,” says Festival Director and saxophone professor, Peter Epstein.

“We’ve learned a huge amount in the last 60 years and especially in the last two years, as we have had a little more time to think and reflect about what the Reno Jazz Festival represents and what we hope to achieve during the next 60 years.”

For the first time, all Festival activities will include an in-person and livestreamed component. This way there are opportunities for in-person attendance and the Festival becomes accessible to schools and musicians across the country.

The Festival begins on Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. with an opening performance inside Nightingale Concert Hall, featuring jazz vocalist Michael Mayo performing alongside the University faculty ensemble, The Collective. This performance is also the culminating event of the Performing Arts Series’ 61st anniversary season.

Mayo is a rising jazz composer and vocal phenom gifted with perfect pitch and extraordinary improvisational chops. The Collective, one of the most creative and distinctive jazz ensembles in the northwestern United States, features Pianist Adam Benjamin, Bassist Hans Halt, Drummer Andrew Heglund, Saxophonist Peter Epstein and Trumpeter Josh Reed.

On Friday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m., groundbreaking saxophonist, Miguel Zenón, will take the stage in Hall Recital Hall alongside his quartet, Drummer Henry Cole, Bassist Hans Glawischnigm and Pianist Luis Perdomo. The evening will kick-off with a performance by the University’s premier jazz ensemble, directed by Josh Reed.

Miguel Zenón, a MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow and multiple Grammy Nominee, represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most influential saxophonists and composers of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between jazz and his many musical influences.

From 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, 16 different workshops will be presented in Hall Recital Hall and the Wells Fargo Auditorium. Workshops cover a range of topics including Forging a New Legacy in Jazz with Berklee College of Music’s Managing Director of the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, Finding and Honing Your Compositional Voice with Pianist and Composer Annie Booth and Finding Your Way through Harmony with Saxophonist and Composer Otto Lee.

Friday, April 29 at 10 p.m., nationally and internationally recognized jazz musicians will take turns performing in an improvisational show that is free and open to the public at Laughing Planet (941 N. Virginia St.). The official Festival Jam Session will also be livestreamed and live broadcast on KWNK 97.7 FM in Reno, Nev. The local community is encouraged to attend for an in-person experience that will last well into the early hours the morning. The house band features Pianist Annie Booth, Bassist Richard Giddens, Saxophonist Otto Lee and Drummer Tina Raymond.

In-person and livestreamed tickets are available for all Festival activities. Purchase tickets online at the RJF website, by phone through Lawlor Events Center (775) 784-4444, or in-person at the Lawlor Events Center Box Office (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, 1500 N. Virginia St. Reno, lower level entrance).

Jazz Fan Passes include access to all Festival activities ($70 - $60 Adult; $26 Music Directors and Students; $40 Youth; $10 University of Nevada, Reno students). Individual concert tickets to Michael Mayo + The Collective are $31 - $36 (Adult), $16 (Youth), and $5 (University of Nevada, Reno students).  Individual concert tickets to the Miguel Zenón Quartet are $26-$22 (Adult), $16 (Youth), and $5 (University of Nevada, Reno students).

University students can purchase tickets online through April 22. After that date, student tickets must be purchased in-person with a valid student ID at the Lawlor Events Center or at the box office the night of the show (at the event venue, opens one hour before the performance).

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