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The 2020 Carolina Jazz Festival is Thursday, February 20, 2020 to Saturday, February 22, 2020.

Carolina Jazz Festival PosterFestival Events


Thursday, February 20, 2020 

7:30 pm, Moeser Auditorium, Hill Hall, UNC-CH
UNC Jazz Combos featuring guest artists Steve Wilson, alto sax, and Dave Stryker, guitar


Friday, February 21, 2020

1:25-2:15 pm, Room 1201 Kenan Music Building
Open rehearsal with the UNC Jazz Band, Jim Ketch, Director
With Guest Artists: Steve Wilson and Dave Stryker

2:30-4:30 pm, Moeser Auditorium, Hill Hall
Workshop on Combo Playing and Improvisation
With Guest Artists: Steve Wilson and Dave Stryker

8:00 pm-10:00 pm, Moeser Auditorium, Hill Hall
UNC Jazz Band, Jim Ketch, Director with guest artists Steve Wilson, alto sax, and Dave Stryker, guitar. Scholarship Benefit Concert. Admission $10.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Moeser Auditorium & Rm 1201 Kenan Music Building
North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival. A full day of adjudicated big band and combo performances, as well as, as post-performance clinics, and concerts. Free

8:00 pm, Memorial Hall
Headliner Concert: Maria Schneider Orchestra. Tickets available from Carolina Performing Arts.


Founded in 1977, the Carolina Jazz Festival (CJF) promotes a broad range of programming spanning performance, education, and scholarship. Our 2020 Carolina Jazz Festival will be the 43rd festival led by current Director of Jazz Studies Jim Ketch. Headlining the 2020 festival is the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Saxophonist Steve Wilson and guitarist Dave Stryker will serve as Artists-in-Residence for the festival. For additional information about the Carolina Jazz Festival, contact Festival Director Jim Ketch (

The CJF links UNC-Chapel Hill to the educational wing of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC). The festival features the North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival (15 years) which has engaged student participation from North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Georgia, and New Jersey. In addition to the Artists-in-Residence for CJF, the JALC also clinicians for the regional EE festival.

In addition to the performances by the Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Jazz Faculty Ensemble, and Artists-in-Residence Dave Stryker and Steve Wilson, the EE festival will feature concerts featuring the UNC Jazz Combos and the UNC Jazz Band. The EE festival will feature performances by over a dozen high school jazz bands and a dozen high school jazz combos.

The Carolina Jazz Festival also partners on the UNC campus with Carolina Performing Arts and a host of other organizations that provide financial and organizational support to the festival.

For 2020, the Carolina Jazz Festival wishes to thank the following:

Out-of-state support: Jazz at Lincoln Center, Essentially Ellington, Jamey Aebersold Jazz
In-state support: The Durham Jazz Workshop; Drs. Lewis and Olive Greenwald
The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill support: Carolina Performing Arts; Institute for the Arts and Humanities, UNC Jazz Studies; UNC Department of Music; Phi Mu Alpha – Sinfonia


Festival Guest Artists


Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson, saxophone (Photo Credit John Abbott)

Steve Wilson, alto saxophone

“The Sideman Becomes the Star”
“Mr. Wilson is essential to this city’s jazz landscape”
– Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Wilson is an endlessly adaptable alto and soprano saxophonist, at home in myriad settings.”
– New York Times
“One of the finest saxophonists in the business”

Steve Wilson has attained ubiquitous status in the studio and on the stage with the greatest names in jazz. A bandleader in his own right, Jazz Times calls him the consummate saxophonist-composer and one of the finest alto and soprano saxophonists of our time. A musicians musician, Wilson has brought his distinctive sound to more than 100 recordings led by such celebrated and wide-ranging artists as Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, Bill Bruford, Gerald Wilson, Maria Schneider, Joe Henderson, Charlie Byrd, Billy Childs, Karrin Allyson, Don Byron, Bill Stewart, James Williams, and Mulgrew Miller among many others. Wilson has eight recordings under his own name, leading and collaborating with such stellar musicians as Lewis Nash, Carl Allen, Steve Nelson, Cyrus Chestnut, Greg Hutchinson, Dennis Irwin, James Genus, Larry Grenadier, Ray Drummond, Ben Riley, Nicholas Payton, Orrin Evans, Ugonna Okegwo and Bill Stewart.

In 2015 Wilson released his first project as a leader in 12 years, Steve Wilson & Wilsonians Grain: Live in New York: The Vanguard Sessions, on Random Act Records. Recorded live at the famed Village Vanguard in NYC on May 24 & 25, 2014, the recording features Wilsons potent quartet with Orrin Evans, Ugonna Okegwo and Bill Stewart. The CD was conceived to truly capture the live experience and the sound of one of the best listening rooms in the world. The tracking order reflects a Wilsonians Grain set, and includes three Wilson originals, and tunes by Orrin Evans, Joe Chambers, Thelonius Monk and Migiwa Miyajima. WBGO Radio describes Wilsonians Grain as jazz at its finest in conception, execution and spontaneity.

He has recorded another project, Sit Back Relax & Unwind, for JMI Records that features Ray Angry, Ben Williams and Willie Jones, III just recently released. In the vein of the old CTI recordings, it is an analog recording and will be released a vinyl LP only. Produced by Steven Mandel (Music Supervisor the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Roots), he also contributed four tunes that were arranged by Wilson. There are two new tunes by Wilson and an arrangement by Ray Angry of David Bowies Space Oddity.

Starting his formal training on saxophone in his native Hampton, Virginia, Wilson also played oboe and drums in school bands while performing in various R&B/funk bands throughout his teens. After a year-long stint with singer Stephanie Mills he decided to major in music at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where he performed and/or studied with Jimmy and Percy Heath, Jon Hendricks, Jaki Byard, John Hicks, Frank Foster and Ellis Marsalis. During those years he was also in constant demand for recording studio work, and as backing musician for touring shows such as The Four Tops and Sophisticated Ladies. Landing a chair with O.T.B (Out of the Blue), a sextet of promising young players recording on Blue Note Records, Wilson moved to New York in 1987 and the following year toured the U.S. and Europe with Lionel Hampton. Becoming a first-call choice for veteran and emerging artists alike, Wilson was the subject of a New York Times profile A Sidemans Life, highlighting his work with Ralph Peterson, Jr., Michele Rosewoman, Renee Rosnes, Marvin Smitty Smith, Joanne Brackeen, The American Jazz Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Leon Parker, and Buster Williams Quintet Something More. In 1996 he joined the acclaimed Dave Holland Quintet, and from 1998-2001 he was a member of Chick Coreas Grammy winning sextet Origin.

Cited by his peers in a New York Times poll as one of the artists most likely to break out as an established leader, Wilson recorded four CDs New York Summit, Step Lively, Blues for Marcus and Four For Time on the Criss Cross label. He then recorded two projects for Chick Coreas Stretch Records label Generations, his multi-generational quartet with Mulgrew Miller, Ray Drummond and Ben Riley and Passages which features his long-time musical partners Bruce Barth, Ed Howard and Adam Cruz, and special guest Nicholas Payton. Containing nine original compositions Passages established Wilson as a leader whose vision reveres the past, creates a soundscape of the present, and reaches toward the future.

In 2003 Wilsons recording Soulful Song was released on MAX JAZZ launching the labels Horn Series. It features special guest vocalists Rene Marie, Carla Cook, and Phillip Manuel and issues forth a powerful and provocative performance from these dynamic and versatile artists. As Wilson explains, Its a tribute Black radio, as it was called then, that was particularly inclusive in its programming and a galvanizing force in the community. On the same station one could hear R&B, jazz, blues, gospel, comedy, local news and affairs, and social commentary. In addition to new original material the program includes arrangements of songs by Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Abbey Lincoln, Gil Scott Heron, Earth, Wind & Fire, Patrice Rushen, and The Staple Singers.

Wilson was a member of the Blue Note 7, an all-star septet assembled to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records in 2009. The project culminated in a successful 50-city tour of the U.S., and their recording Mosaic. Also that year Wilson made his orchestral debut performing Heitor Villa Lobos Fantasia for Soprano Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra with the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra. By popular demand he returned to the VMF in 2010 performing a commissioned work Sweet For Duke for Saxophone & Chamber Orchestra by Jonathan Ragonese.

In February 2011 Wilson celebrated his 50th birthday with a six-night engagement, leading six different bands at Jazz Standard, NYCs premiere jazz club. The all-star line-up included Mulgrew Miller, Bruce Barth, Karrin Allyson, Lewis Nash, Jeff Tain Watts, Carla Cook, Geoffrey Keezer, Christian McBride, Linda Oh, Ed Howard, Adam Cruz, Diane Monroe, Joyce Hammann, Nardo Poy and Troy Stuart. In a major interview feature preview, the Wall Street Journal proclaimed, The Sideman Becomes the Star. The WSJ article by award-winning journalist Larry Blumenfeld added, Mr. Wilson is essential to this citys jazz landscape. Since the 1990s Wilson has been regularly cited in the Downbeat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls in the soprano and alto saxophone categories. The Jazz Journalists Association nominated him for Best Alto Sax Player in 2008, and for Best Soprano Sax Player in 2010. His work in film has included being artistic consultant to Harvey Keitel for “Lulu On The Bridge as well as being featured on the soundtrack.

Wilsons current projects reflect his multifaceted artistry, versatility, and associations with some of the most highly regarded artists on the scene. His quartet Wilsonians Grain, which consists of Orrin Evans, Ugonna Okegwo, and Bill Stewart or Clarence Penn, has been featured on NPR live from the Kennedy Center and the Village Vanguard in New York City, and headlined at the prestigious Detroit Jazz Festival in 2011. Wilson is one-half of two dynamic duos, Musical Dialogue with renowned drummer Lewis Nash, they released their recording Duologue on MCG Jazz, and in another with pianist Bruce Barth as documented on their recording Home on the We Always Swing label. He co-leads an elegant trio with pianist Renee Rosnes and bassist Peter Washington, and with composer/arranger David ORourke has a repertoire as soloist with strings. Wilson is touring member of the Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Billy Childs Quartet, Christian McBride & Inside Straight as well as McBrides Grammy-winning Big Band, and the Buster Williams Quartet.

An in-demand and passionate educator Wilson is the Director of Jazz Studies and an Associate Professor of Music at City College of New York. In 2019 he joined the prestigious faculty at Ravinias Steans Music Institute in Chicago, IL.

He has been artist-in-residence and/or guest artist at University of Oregon, University of Michigan, University of Maryland-College Park, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Delaware, Lemoyne College, North Carolina Central University, Bowling Green University, Lafayette College, University of Northern Colorado, SUNY New Paltz, Florida State University, California State University at Stanislaus, University of Manitoba, Hamilton College, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and for the award winning arts organization CITYFOLK in Dayton, Ohio.

With the support of friend and mentor Dr. Billy Taylor, Wilson has been a frequent guest performer/educator at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He has been a featured performer, panelist, and clinician at conferences of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Chamber Music of America, and International Association of Jazz Educators. Wilson was honored with the Marc Crawford Jazz Educator Award from New York University 2001 and the Virginia Jazz Award 2003 Musician of the Year presented by the Richmond Jazz Society, recognizing his outstanding service in the advancement of jazz and education in their respective communities. He is an active mentor in the nurturing and promotion of his former students emerging careers who have performed with The Count Basie Orchestra, Johnny Mandel, Beyonce Knowles, Roy Hargrove, and many others.

Dave Stryker
Dave Stryker in perfromance with The Stryker-Slagle Band at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, NYC 2/10/2008. Dave Stryker: Guitar, Steve Slagle: Alto & Soprano Saxophone, Joe Lovano: Tenor Saxophone, Jay Anderson: Bass, Victor Lewis: Drums

Dave Stryker, guitar

Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker leading his own group (with 30 CD’s as a leader to date), or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and many others, you know why the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.”

Hot House magazine awarded him Best Guitarist Fans Decision for 2017. He was recently voted once again as one of the top Jazz Guitarists in the 2019 Downbeat Critics and Readers Polls for the 10th time.

Dave’s CD “Eight Track III” stayed at #1 on JazzWeek Radio chart for 6 straight weeks. “Strykin’ Ahead” featured the same lineup as “Eight Track II”- Steve Nelson, Jared Gold and McClenty Hunter, and received great reviews. “Messin’ with Mister T”, is a celebration of the man he worked with for over a decade — Stanley Turrentine, “Mister T” — with ten of the greatest tenor sax players on the scene today. It went to #1 on JazzWeek Radio and stayed in the Top 50 for 20 weeks and has received great reviews including 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat magazine. Dave’s last CD “Eight Track” was #9 for 2014 on the Jazz Week Radio Charts where it stayed for 20 weeks topping off at #3 for 3 weeks. Downbeat magazine picked it as one of the Top CD’s of 2014, and ran a feature article in the June 2014 issue on Dave.

“I have followed Dave Stryker’s playing since his early days in Omaha through his long stay with Stanley Turrentine and his longstanding relationship with the great alto player Steve Slagle (another undersung heavy out there) and he just gets better and better with one of the most joyous feels around.” –Pat Metheny

Dave Stryker grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to New York City in 1980. After establishing himself in the local music scene, he joined organist Jack McDuff’s group for two years 1984-85. When McDuff wasn’t on the road (literally traveling by van all over the country) they worked a steady four-night a week gig at Dude’s Lounge in Harlem. His first break, this turned out to be an invaluable experience, paying his dues night after night with the soulful jazz organist. It was at Dude’s Lounge that Stryker met tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, who would occasionally sit in. After leaving McDuff, Turrentine asked Stryker to join his quintet. From 1986-1995 he played with the legendary saxophonist at all the major festivals, concert halls, and clubs throughout the world. He is featured on two Turrentine CD’s (Stanley recorded Stryker’s tune “Sidesteppin”). With Turrentine, Stryker was able to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. The ten years playing alongside the tenor legend helped Stryker realize the importance of having his own sound. Dave continued to work with Stanley and was with him during his final week at the Blue Note in NYC, when he passed in Sept. 2000.

Early on Stryker realized that as much as he loved playing standards and the jazz repertoire he had to have something of his own to give to the music. He feels that his writing combined with his playing is what shapes his musical expression. He has recorded and published over 150 of his own compositions and has released “The Dave Stryker Songbook” with most of his original music. Also 18 of the compositions (from the first five SteepleChase CD’s) are compiled in the book: “The Music of Dave Stryker” (SteepleChase Music) which can be ordered on this website.

Some of the other artists who have recorded Dave’s music are: Stanley Turrentine, Kevin Mahogany, Victor Lewis, and Steve Slagle. Dave continues to perform with The Dave Stryker Organ Trio, his Blue to the Bone Band, and The Stryker/Slagle Band. Recent gigs for The Stryker/Slagle Band have included a recent week at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, The Blue Note in Las Vegas, The Jazz Bakery in LA, and a 2003 tour of Japan.

Sideman work has included vocalist Kevin Mahogany’s group, with Dave writing and arranging music for Kevin’s Telarc release “Pride and Joy” and “Another Time, Another Place” on Warner Bros and tours of Europe, Japan, Brazil, Poland and Carnegie Hall. He also has worked with Blue Note saxophonist Javon Jackson and pianist Eliane Elias. He has appeared on over 50 CD’s as a sideman. As a producer, Stryker compiled the CD “The Guitar Artistry of Billy Rogers” which is the only existing record of the brilliant jazz playing of the late underground legend who was his friend, former teacher and member of the Crusaders. He has also produced “A Tribute to Grant Green” on Evidence Music.

Dave is the Adjunct Professor of Jazz guitar at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. He is passing along his experience by teaching privately and at The Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop, and The Litchfield Jazz Camp. His book “Dave Stryker’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Method Vol. III” is available here on his website at


Maria Schneider Orchestra

Performing 8:00 pm Saturday, February 22, 2020, Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill
Box Office: 919-843-3333, or

Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence. There, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She herself has received numerous commissions and guest-conducting invites, working with over 90 groups in over 30 countries.

Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, making her long list of commissioners quite varied, stretching from Jazz at Lincoln Center, to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, to collaborating with David Bowie. She is among a small few to have received GRAMMYS in multiple genres, have received the award in both jazz and classical categories, as well as for her work with David Bowie.

Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with twelve GRAMMY nominations and five GRAMMY awards. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company, ArtistShare. Her album, Concert in the Garden (2004) became historic as the first recording to win a GRAMMY with Internet-only sales, even more significantly, it blazed the “crowd-funding” trail as ArtistShare’s first release. She’s been awarded many honors by the Jazz Journalists Association and DOWNBEAT and JAZZTIMES Critics and Readers Polls. In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, presented Schneider with an honorary doctorate. ASCAP awarded her their esteemed Concert Music Award in 2014. And in 2019, the National Endowment for the Arts bestowed on Schneider the nation’s highest honor in jazz, naming her an NEA Jazz Master.

Schneider has become a strong voice for music advocacy and in 2014, testified before the US Congressional Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about digital rights. She has also appeared in CNN, participated in round-tables for the United States Copyright Office, and has been quoted in numerous publications for her views on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Google, digital rights, and music piracy.

A collaboration with her orchestra and David Bowie resulted in his single called, “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime),” and brought Schneider a 2016 GRAMMY (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals). Schneider and her orchestra also received a 2016 GRAMMY for The Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album). Their next recording project, Data Lords, is underway (2019) through ArtistShare and is set to be released April 1, 2020.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Jazz Faculty

Jim Ketch, Director of Jazz Studies, Professor of Music
Stephen Anderson, Professor of Music, Composition, Jazz Studies, Jazz Piano
David Garcia, Associate Professor Ethnomusicology, Charanga Carolina
Juan Álamo, Assistant Professor of Music, Percussion, World Music, Jazz Vibes and Marimba
Ed Paolantonio, Lecturer Jazz Piano and Combos
Jason Foureman, Adjunct Jazz Bass and Combos
Dan Davis, Adjunct Jazz Drumset and Combos
Aaron Hill, Adjunct Jazz Saxophone
Scott Sawyer, Adjunct Jazz Guitar

UNC Featured Ensembles
UNC Jazz Band
UNC Jazz Combos


North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival – 2019 Info Letter and Registration Form





Dear Colleagues:

The 2020 Carolina Jazz Festival at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (year 43!) is proud to collaborate with Jazz at Lincoln Center to bring the internationally recognized and acclaimed Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival to North Carolina. On Saturday, February 22, 2020, The Carolina Jazz Festival will host the 15th annual North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival (EE). We invite you to complete the registration form found at the end of this letter as soon as possible, as we will fill our limited performance vacancies on a first-come-first-served basis. Make note, that we offer both a jazz band and jazz combo division. We also invite younger bands to come and observe the day. Our registration form and this letter will be placed on the website. You may register to perform or to simply attend and observe the festival and workshops.

All jazz festival info will reside at this URL:

Two Registrations: CJF and JALC

Registration for the Carolina Jazz Festival is $150 for either a jazz band or combo. Directors wishing to bring two to four groups may do so. We limit participation by one school to no more than two jazz bands (no more than 4 ensembles total from any one school). Registration for two ensembles is $250; three ensembles is $300; four ensembles is $325.

Checks are payable to: Carolina Jazz Festival 2020

Mail checks to James Ketch, Carolina Jazz Festival, Department of Music, Kenan Music Building, CB#3320, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320.

We will accept registrations until February 3, 2020 when we will begin to put together the festival schedule and program. Caution: the slots usually fill up before the registration is closed.

All high school ensembles participating in the festival are required to join Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2019-2020 Essentially Ellington program. By joining the free program, directors will receive original big band transcriptions from JALC. New members can join the program online by visiting and by completing an online membership form. For questions about the Essentially Ellington program contact Maegan McHugh or Antoinette Henry at 212-258-9810 or

Carolina Jazz Festival Rules – High School Jazz Band Division

High School Jazz Bands will be required to perform three selections as follows:

  • One score must be a swing tune,
  • One score must be a ballad,
  • and one score to be a director’s choice from any genre.
  • One of these three compositions, whether swing, ballad, Latin, etc., must be from either the current repertoire or previous titles listed in the JALC Essentially Ellington library.
  • All eligible charts from the Essentially Ellington library are published by either Warner Bros Publications or Alfred Publishing Co. and prominently feature an Essentially Ellington logo on the cover of the conductor’s score. Remember directors, that in addition to the charts received through membership with the 2019-2020 Essentially Ellington program, you may also elect to perform any of the previously published EE charts.

For a complete list of all titles in the Essentially Ellington library, visit and select “Library” from within the red “Resources” tab on the right.

Procedures for Big Bands

Each band will receive 25 minutes total for their performance. This includes set-up, tuning, and exit from the stage. A warm-up room will be available to each band 25 minutes prior to their scheduled performance time. Adjudicators will provide a critique of your performance and provide numerical ratings on a festival adjudication sheet. Directors are not required to provide adjudicators with scores. We prefer our judges to listen and observe, rather than to be focused too much on viewing and studying a printed score.

We require that each director:

1. provide three copies of a program guide for the judges
2. provide a listing of the compositions and composers,
3. provide a listing of the soloists (name and instrument) for each selection, and the entire personnel for the band.
4. designate lead players so that we might be in a better position to identify students should they be considered for an award.

Post-performance clinic with judge
Each jazz band will receive a 20-minute clinic with one of our Essentially Ellington clinicians.

Carolina Jazz Festival Rules – Combo Division
High School Jazz Combos will be required to perform a minimum of two selections with one composition being a blues. A third selection is optional if placed within the performance time. We encourage everyone in the combo to improvise.

Procedures for Combos
Each combo will receive 30 minutes for their performance and post-performance clinic. Adjudicators will provide a critique of your performance and provide numerical ratings on a festival adjudication sheet. Directors are not required to provide adjudicators with scores. We prefer our judges to watch and listen, rather than be focused too much on a printed score.

We do ask that each director to:

1. provide a program guide for the judges. The program guide should list the compositions, composers and/or arrangers, the soloists for each selection, and the entire personnel for the combo.
2. If your two selections do not require the full thirty-five minutes on stage, we invite the adjudicators to work directly with each combo in a clinic setting. We imagine a 15-20 minute performance (2 tunes), followed by a 15-20 minute clinic.

Community Division Ensemble
Community jazz bands and/or combos are welcome to register and perform at the festival. These bands, selected from across a city or region are now eligible for the Outstanding Big Band and/or Outstanding Combo Awards.

Adjudicators – Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Division and Combo Division
Serving as adjudicators for the Carolina Jazz Festival are the following artists:

Steve Wilson, saxophonist (Artist-in-Residence for 2020 Carolina Jazz Festival)
Dave Stryker, guitarist (Artist-in-Residence for 2020 Carolina Jazz Festival)
Two Essentially Ellington clinicians sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center (tbd)
Stephen Anderson, Jazz Faculty (piano/composition), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Dan Davis, Jazz Faculty (drum set), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Note: We are at work trying to arrange for Maria Schneider to speak to all the high school jazz bands on Saturday afternoon, February 22. Her orchestra will conclude the festival that Saturday evening at 8pm in Memorial Hall.

We will present plaques to the following ensembles:

Outstanding High School Jazz Band
Outstanding High School Community Jazz Band
Overall Outstanding High School Jazz Band (selected from one and two above)
Outstanding High School Jazz Combo
Outstanding High School Community Jazz Combo

A $60 coupon redeemable by Jamey Aebersold Jazz will be presented to each of the 5 ensembles listed above. The judges will also identify Outstanding Soloists and Outstanding Performers during the festival. At the awards ceremony these individuals will be recognized and provided with a certificate signed by the guest artists.

The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
We are pleased to announce that the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra will perform at Memorial Hall at 8:00pm on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Call 919-843-3333 for tickets. If you plan to bring a group ask for help at the Carolina Box Office when you call. A reduced ticket price for a group might be possible

Tentative Schedule for Saturday, February 22, 2020 (15th annual) North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

All EE events to be held in the Kenan Music Building and Hill Hall.

8:30am-Noon   Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos
Noon-1:00pm   Lunch
1:00-4:00pm     Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos
4:15-4:45pm     Mini-Concert UNC Jazz Band featuring Dayna Stephens, tenor sax
4:50pm              Awards Ceremony
8:00pm              Evening Concert: UNC Jazz Band

Contact Information
If you have questions about the festival, please contact James Ketch at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

James Ketch, Director                             Office Phone: 919-962-7560
Carolina Jazz Festival                              Home Phone: 919-493-3378
Department of Music                               Cell: 919-812-2142
Kenan Music Building, CB#3320        Email:
University of North Carolina                Fax: 919-962-3376
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320

North Carolina Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Registration Form (Deadline: February 3, 2020)

Name of Director: ___________________________________________________________________

Name of School:_____________________________________________________________________

School Address: _____________________________________________________________________

City: ______________________________ Zip Code: ____________________________________

School Phone: _________________________ Cell Phone:___________________________________

Email: ___________________________________ Fax: _____________________________________

Enroll the following ensembles for the North Carolina Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival to be held on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

____ Jazz Band _____ Jazz Combo ____Additional Jazz Band or Jazz Combo (circle)

Enclosed is: $150 for 1 ensemble           $250 for 2 ens.           $300 for 3 ens.           $325 for 4 ens.

Checks made payable to Carolina Jazz Festival 2016.


___yes ___ no I have registered with the 2019-2020 Essentially Ellington program

We will travel to UNC by: ___cars ___bus


Mail completed registration and check to:

James Ketch, Carolina Jazz Festival, Department of Music, Kenan Music Building CB#3320, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320. Email:

Registration Form may be faxed to: James Ketch at 919-962-3376 Questions: Jim Ketch, cell phone 919-812-2142

A complete schedule for the February 20-22, 2020 Carolina Jazz Festival

will reside at this URL:

Tentative Schedule for Saturday, February 22, 2020 (15th annual) North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. All EE events to be held in the Kenan Music Building and Hill Hall.

8:30am-Noon   Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos
Noon-1:00pm   Lunch
1:00-4:00pm     Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos
4:15-4:45pm     Mini-Concert UNC Jazz Band featuring Dayna Stephens, tenor sax
4:50pm              Awards Ceremony
8:00pm              Evening Concert: UNC Jazz Band


Contact Information
If you have questions about the festival, please contact James Ketch at UNC-Chapel Hill.

James Ketch, Director                             Office Phone: 919-962-7560
Carolina Jazz Festival                              Home Phone: 919-493-3378
Department of Music                               Cell: 919-812-2142
Kenan Music Building, CB#3320        Email:
University of North Carolina                Fax: 919-962-3376
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320