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First Prize – Zeb Jewell-Alibhai, trumpet 
Second Prize – Joseph Folglia, saxophonist 
Honorable Mention – Alex Welch, bass 
Honorable Mention – Emma Gonzalez, voice 
Honorable Mention – Luke Ramee, trombone 

The annual Carolina Jazz Festival held online from Thursday, February 18 to Saturday, February 20, 2021.


The concerts will be live streamed at the UNC Department of Music YouTube channel at:

  • Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm – UNC Jazz Combo Concert Livestream from Kenan Music Building
  • Saturday, February 20 at 4pm Closing Performance and Award Ceremony
  • UPDATED: Saturday, February 20 at 7:00pm – UNC Faculty Jazz Concert Livestream from Kenan Music Building


Jazz Big Band Coaching Sessions with individual sections will take place Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, February 19-20.  

Due to the challenges of the pandemic this year and the strain on high school budgets, there will be NO FEE to participate in any of the events. We anticipate that spaces will be limited, so time will be given to ensembles and individual students who sign up first.  Also due to the necessary online format, the Carolina Jazz Festival will consist of two components this year.

  1. JAZZ BAND COACHING: High School Directors (only) may sign up for a time to have UNC Jazz Studies faculty and guest artists coach individual sections of their bands.
  2. INDIVIDUAL/SOLO PERFORMANCES HIGH SCHOOL COMPETITION FOR CASH PRIZES: The Carolina Jazz Festival annually awards prizes to outstanding student jazz bands and jazz combos.  While at the same time we wish to recognize excellent student ensembles and their directors for their diligent practice and hard work throughout the year rehearsing together, the UNC Jazz Studies Faculty have long held a sentiment of deemphasizing the type of competitive spirit between musicians that can be detrimental to our collective goal to come together and form a musical community through the music that we play.  This year, however, since so many ensembles are unable to rehearse together collectively, we felt that hosting a solo performance category with cash prizes that go directly to outstanding students who exhibit talent and hard work in their craft might help the students to remain motivated to practice while we continue living in isolated circumstances.  All students — i.e., those who are new to jazz, as well as those with more experience, are welcome and encouraged to submit videos to have the opportunity to receive coaching from the UNC Faculty and the guest artists. Availability for time slots is limited so we encourage students to sign up early.   


With parental consent, individual high school students may choose to sign up for for the “Individual/Solo Performance High School Competition” by downloading and video recording themselves performing with two of the backing tracks that are provided at the links below.   Students may alternatively select other repertoire and backing tracks of their choice that are sold by Jamey Aebersold or through other sources and by video recording themselves performing two tracks.  Successful video submissions will strive to have a good balance between the soloist and the backing track so that we can hear the students perform in context.  Students who wish to participate should do the following:  

      • DOWNLOAD LEAD SHEETS AND BACKING TRACKS HERE.  Students may use the provided lead sheets and backing tracks, or they may choose other standard repertoire and have live accompaniment or use other backing tracks to record with to submit for the competition.  
      • Submissions are due Tuesday, February 16 by 11:59pm.  
      • Play the melody at the beginning one time through the form of the tune.
      • Improvise a few choruses (meaning improvise over the chord changes all the way through the form of the tune).
      • End the tune by playing the melody once again all the way through the form of the tune. 
      • Students will video record themselves playing with the backing track and will upload their videos to YouTube in an “Unlisted” (but not private) status.  They will then post a link to their videos and sign up for a time to receiving coaching from a UNC faculty and/or guest artist at the link provided below:  


Student awards will be given at the brief Closing Performance and Award Ceremony on Saturday, February 20 at 4pm.  The awards are:

      • $150 First Prize
      • $100 Second Prize
      • $50 Honorable Mention
      • Certificates for Outstanding Performers (no cash prizes)


ROLAND BARBER – Trained at Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music, Roland Barber has performed with an impressively diverse list of artists including Chaka Khan, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kirk Whalum, the Wooten Brothers, the Chico O’Farill Orchestra, Robin Thicke, the Temptations, Manny Oquendo y Libre, and the Saturday Night Live Band. He’s performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Blue Note, the Beacon Theater, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Madison Square Garden.

Barber has performed in venues the world over, from Manhattan to Estonia, including Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Blue Note, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden. Television appearances include MTV’s Making the Band, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, CBS’ Today Show and the ESPN Awards. Barber has performed with titans of jazz music as well as young lions, including Stefon Harris, Clark Terry, Steve Turre, Houston Person, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Wynton Marsalis, Sean Jones, and the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Ensemble.

Beyond the jazz world, Barber is an avid student of American and world music. His signature artistry includes an elegant tone, masterful improvisational storytelling, a blues-rich vocal influence, and deft technical command. Barber is also a celebrated composer and arranger, and was awarded a New Works Jazz Grant from Chamber Music America, which led to the writing and premier of his first extended suite, Songs of the Village, written for his quintet. This suite saw its world premiere at Lincoln Center in 2010. Barber’s compositions also fuel his first CD (released in 2013), Heart Expressed, Art Finessed, which features a combination of musicians from the Nashville and New York jazz scenes, including drummer Ulysses Owens (Christian McBride Trio), pianist Gordon Webster, saxophonist Rahsaan Barber (Roland’s twin brother), and Nashville’s Jim Ferguson on upright bass.

Barber holds an M.M. in Jazz Studies from Manhattan School of Music (2005), as well as an Artist Diploma (2003) and B.M. in Jazz Studies (2001), both from Indiana University. His main stylistic influences are Al Grey, Steve Turre, J.J. Johnson, and Louis Armstrong. Barber’s teachers have included David N. Baker, M. Dee Stewart, Jiggs Whigham, Steve Turre, Tom Lundberg, and Horton Monroe.

NATHAN WARNER was raised in South Bend, Indiana. He began his trumpet studies at the age of ten under the tutelage of Jeff Christiana. He attended the Interlochen Arts Camp, where, in his second summer, he was the winner of the prestigious Governor’s Scholarship. Mr. Warner completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies on full scholarship at the Indiana School of Music, where he studied with John Rommel, David Baker, Edmund Cord and William Adam. He completed his Masters Degree in Classical Trumpet Performance at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Vincent Penzarella of the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Warner has performed with Clay Aiken, Alejandro Sanz, Slide Hampton, Jon Faddis, Lou Marini, The Four Tops, Kurt Masur, The Temptations, Frederick Fennell, Olivia Newton-John, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Allen Vizzutti, among others. He currently resides in Manhattan, where he is in demand as a classical, orchestral, commercial, big band and jazz performer. As a champion of music education for inner city youth, Mr. Warner was the music teacher at St. Mark the Evangelist School in Harlem and has worked with the Midori and Friends Foundation. In addition, he has worked for the New York Pops Orchestra Outreach Program and the Hartwick College Summer Music festival and Institute. He is currently on the faculties of the New York Summer Music Festival and the Manhattan School of Music’s Pre-College Division. Nathan is also currently a member of the Sugartone Brass Band, New York’s premier second-line, New Orleans-style band.


Dr. Stephen Anderson, Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Piano, Composition
Rahsaan Barber, Director of the UNC Jazz Band, Saxophone, Improvisation
Baron Tymas, Artist in Residence, Jazz Guitar
Jason Foureman, Lecturer, Jazz Bass
Dan Davis, Lecturer, Drumset
Dr. Juan Álamo, Associate Professor of Percussion, Jazz Studies

Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival 

Due to the pandemic, Essentially Ellington has cancelled all of their Regional Essential Ellington High School Festivals this year.  We look forward to collaborating with them in the future.


If you have questions about the festival, please contact Dr. Stephen Anderson.

Dr. Stephen Anderson, D.M.A.
Professor, Composition and Jazz Studies
Director of Jazz Studies
Department of Music, CB #3320
The University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320
919.537.1358 Phone