Greater Saint Louis Jazz Festival preview –

– PHOTO: The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at University of Missouri-St. Louis. Photo by Cate Marquis for The Current © –

By Christian DeVerger, Staff Writer for The Current

The annual Greater Saint Louis Jazz Festival is coming this weekend to the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus.

From Thursday, Mar. 19, to Saturday, Mar. 21, the Touhill will host a plethora of big bands and jazz combos from around the area. Further, the festival also features special guests Lou Marini, Clay Jenkins, Steve Wiest, Montez Coleman, and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Consisting of two nights of music from some of the best in the field, the festival is a must-see for any fan of jazz, and is also a great way to introduce oneself to the genre.

The first of the headlining show takes place on Friday evening at 8 p.m. The UMSL Jazz Ensemble will open the performance, under the direction of Jim Widner, teaching professor of music and director of jazz studies. Following the ensemble’s performance, the night will feature a combo performance, which includes some of the most standout names in jazz. Lou Marini, a platinum recording artist and multi-instrumentalist will be on Saxophone and author, professor, and recording artist Clay Jenkins will be playing trumpet. The Grammy-nominated Steve Wiest will be playing trombone and percussion will be performed by St. Louis native and rising jazz star Montez Coleman.

The following evening, the festival will present the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. The UMSL Jazz Ensemble will once again take the stage at 8 p.m., and shortly afterward, the Grammy-nominated Orchestra will perform. The Los Angeles based group, lead by John Clayton, has been regarded as one of the best modern big bands in jazz.

Tickets for each show are $25 for the general public, and $10 for students. More information about the Greater Saint Louis Jazz Festival is available on the Touhill website Whether you are a fan of jazz or not, the festival is a showcase of amazing talent that any music lover can appreciate.

© The Current 2015