After a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Southeastern Louisiana University Department of Music and Performing Arts in Hammond will present the 20th annual Bill Evans Jazz Festival April 14-17, honoring one of its most notable alumni.
For the first time in the history of the festival, all events will be livestreamed via the KSLU Facebook page. The event will not be open to the public again until 2022, conditions permitting.
The festival will feature performances by the Alumni Jazz Ensemble, University Jazz Lab Band and Advanced Jazz Combo, jazz faculty and the University Jazz Ensemble. Sponsored by Lafargue Pianos Ltd. of Metairie, the Rotary Club of Hammond, Holly & Smith Architects, North Oaks Health System and Tangi Meats, the festival will feature guest artist, pianist Frank Martin, whose diverse career as a performer, producer, arranger and educator reads as a “Who’s Who” of the music business.
Martin’s credits include performances with Stevie Wonder, Sting, Randy Brecker, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, Richard Bona, Shankar Mahadevan, Herbie Hancock, Steve Winwood, Santana, Abraham Laboriel, Chris Isaak, B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Botti, Jose Neto & the Netoband, Paul Simon, Patti Labelle, Annie Lennox, John Mellencamp, Debbie Harry, Run DMC, MC Hammer and Ricky Martin.
For the past 23 years, he has been a member of Sting’s “Rainforest Band” performing annually at Carnegie Hall, along with James Taylor, Elton John, Billy Joel and many others, and has served as musical director for Narada Michael Walden, Patti Austin, Angela Bofill and Roy Ayers.
His collaboration with Al Jarreau on the Bill Evans composition “Blue in Green” was featured on Jarreau’s album “Heaven and Earth.” The album won Jarreau the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1993.
Martin is an Adjunct Professor in the Jazz Department of the University of California, Berkeley and, for the past 20 years, on the faculty of the California Jazz Conservatory. He is also a clinician at Lafayette Summer Jazz Workshops, Stanford Jazz Workshops and the Swedish Artists and Musicians Institute.
The festival also will include the Louisiana Association for Jazz Education State Jazz Festival, a competition with performances by area high school jazz ensembles.
The festival will begin Friday morning at 11 a.m., conclude Saturday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. in Pottle Music Building Auditorium, and will also be livestreamed via the KSLU Facebook page.
The evening concert schedule includes the following:
- April 14, 7:30 p.m., Pottle Recital Hall, Southeastern Alumni Jazz Ensemble Concert.
- April 15, Pottle Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m., Southeastern Jazz Lab Band and Advanced Jazz Combo.
- April 16, Pottle Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m., Southeastern Jazz Faculty Concert with Guest Artist Frank Martin.
- April 17, Pottle Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m., Southeastern Jazz Ensemble with Guest Artist Frank Martin.
For more information, call (985) 549-2184.