Founded in 1977, the Carolina Jazz Festival (CJF) promotes a broad range of programming spanning performance, education, and scholarship. Our 2017 Carolina Jazz Festival will be the 41st festival led by current Director of Jazz Studies Jim Ketch. Headlining the 2018 festival is the Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet. Ttumpeter Alphonso Horne and saxophonist Patrick Brantley, Jr. 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 (13 years) which has engaged student participation from North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., and New Jersey. Both the CJF and JALC provide guest artists and clinicians for the festival where concert performances, clinics, and adjudication abound.

In addition to the performance by Ambrose Akinmusire, Alphonso Horne, and Patrick Bartley Jr., the festival will feature the UNC Jazz Band and the UNC 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 2018, 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

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

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

 Performing 7:30pm Thursday, February 15, 2018  Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill

Box Office: 919-843-3333, or

“A thrilling young trumpeter and astute bandleader with a unique spark in his playing.” – The New Yorker

Headlining the Carolina Jazz Festival, this young trumpet innovator’s serene, elusive compositions reassemble conventional jazz elements in mercurial, unorthodox musings. A winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, Ambrose Akinmusire has appeared with jazz greats including Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding and Jason Moran. His album the imagined savior is far easier to paint received five stars in All About Jazz and The New York Times named his debut recording  2011’s #1 album.

Alphonso Horne, Trumpet

Trumpeter Alphonso Horne has performed with many renowned jazz artists including Wynton Marsalis,Wes Anderson, Marcus Roberts, Delfeayo Marsalis, Diana Reeves, Michael Feinstein, and Jane Monheit. Alphonso has won many awards, including the National Trumpet Jazz Trumpet Competition. In the August, 2011 issue of JET Magazine, world-renowned trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis included Alphonso in a list of 16 young jazz musicians entitled, “Wynton’s Picks: Who’s Got Next.”

In the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Horne subbed for Wynton Marsalis in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and toured with the orchestra for the 2013 25th Anniversary Tour. Mr. Horne also performed on Broadway in the 17-piece orchestra for the show “After Midnight” featuring guest artists Fantasia Barrino, Dule Hill, K.D. Lang, Babyface, Toni Braxton and many more.

Mr. Horne holds degrees from Florida State University (BM), and The Julliard School (MM). Mr. Horne is a member of the Count Basie Orchestra and is currently premiering in the Broadway show, “Shuffle Along” featuring Savion Glover, Audra McDonald and many more.

Patrick Brantley Jr., saxophone

Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Patrick Bartley, Jr. is a musician with experience in a wide range of situations, most notably for appearing on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and being featured in the Emmy-nominated HBO special Wynton Marsalis: A YoungArts Masterclass, which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Although a South Florida native, Patrick is a has spent the majority of his professional music career in NYC prior to graduating from the Manhattan School of Music. As an on-demand sideman, he has performed and recorded with musicians such as Louis Hayes, Jonathan Batiste, Mulgrew Miller, Jeff Coffin, and Wynton Marsalis, and has performed at world-renowned venues such as The STAPLES Center, Madison Square Garden, and the Black Sea Jazz Festival.

Born and raised in Hollywood, Florida, Patrick owes much of his success to his primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. While in middle school, under the tutelage of Melton Mustafa, Jr.—son of world-renowned trumpeter Melton Mustafa, Sr.—Patrick became the youngest musician to perform at the Jazz In The Gardens jazz festival in Miami Gardens, Florida, as well as the only musician to have performed on the stage twice. It was with Melton Mustafa, Jr. and Sr. that Patrick also got his first professional recording opportunity, this time at age 17. The recording session included Mulgrew Miller, Essiet Essiet, Ray Mantilla, Jason Jackson, and Victor Lewis. While attending high school, after making the Grammy High School Jazz Ensembles for two consecutive years, Patrick was given the opportunity to perform with the Dave Matthews Band live on the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards, and was also a YoungArts Gold Award recipient in Jazz.

Patrick’s interest in Japanese art, music, and culture started from the early age of 6 years old, when he saw the massively popular and groundbreaking anime series Dragon Ball Z–which had syndication on Toonami at the time–and fell in love immediately. Before having any idea what anime was or that it was from Japan, Patrick continued to watch anime and play Japanese video games throughout middle school and high school, and played along to the soundtracks while simultaneously learning the saxophone.

It wasn’t until college, however, that Patrick decided to seriously focus on studying and performing Japanese music. After hearing the band School Food Punishment play “Futuristic Imagination” as the ending theme for the anime Eden of the East, Patrick felt a shift in his musical consciousness. It was in this moment that Patrick began to realize the reasons why he loved Japanese music so much; the intense devotion to deep melodies resonated within him, and he began to connect several dots that helped him to discover similarities between this new foreign music that enchanted him so much and the African-American blues-rooted music that he grew up with.

While his career has mainly focused on jazz-related work, Patrick also works in several musical contexts. Patrick is currently a sideman in two bands formed by friends in New York City: XD 7, a jazz-fusion group formed at the Manhattan School of Music that has done two tours and has two albums released, has influences that span from Earth, Wind, and Fire to Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis music; and The Arsonists, which is a quintet based in the jazz tradition, but takes elements of today’s world and plays what can be called “punk jazz”—highly intense music that serves to acknowledge the taboos of the modern jazz world and make them irrelevant with music that touches on multi-cultural backgrounds and is embodied with energy and free spirit.

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 Ethnomusiclogy, 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

Festival Events

Thursday, February 15

7:30pm  Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet, Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill.
Box Office 919-843-3333 or tickets online at

Friday, February 23

1:25-2:15 p.m. — Open Rehearsal with the UNC Jazz Band with artists-in-residence Alphonso Horne, trumpet and Patrick Brantley Jr., saxophone. Kenan Music Building Rehearsal Room 1201 KMB. Free and open to the public.

4:00 p.m. — Concert: UNC Jazz Combos with Artist-in-Residence Alphonso Horne and Patrick Bartley, Jr. Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, February 24

8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. — NC Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival. Offered in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center. Jazz Combos perform in 1201 Kenan Music Building and Jazz Bands perform in Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall. Jazz  (A schedule will be posted following registration of all bands)

8:00 p.m. —  Concert: UNC Jazz Band with Artists-in-Residence Alphonso Horne, trumpet and Patrick Brantley Jr.    Jim Ketch, Director. Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall. Scholarship Benefit Concert. Tickets are $10 ($5 if UNC faculty/staff or students) and can be purchased at the door.

North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival – 2018 Info Letter and Registration Form

Dear Colleagues:

The 2018 Carolina Jazz Festival at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (year 41!) is proud to once again partner 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 24, 2018 The Carolina Jazz Festival will host the 13th 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. Our registration form and this letter will also be placed on the website. You may register to perform or to simply attend and observe the festival and workshops. We will make registration open to all NC high school jazz bands and jazz combos as well as from a select group of bands from Virginia as well.

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. Additional ensembles from a single school can also be registered. We limit participation by one school to no more than two jazz bands and/or three combos. Total registration from one school must not exceed 4 ensembles. Registration for two ensembles is $250; three ensembles is $300; four ensembles is $325.

Checks may be made payable to: Carolina Jazz Festival 2018

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 1, 2018 when we will begin to put together the festival schedule and program.

All high school ensembles participating in the festival are required to join Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2017-2018 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 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
  • All eligible charts from the Essentially Ellington library charts are published by 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 2017-2018 Essentially Ellington program, you may also elect to perform any of the previously published 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 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 it can be placed within the performance time period. We strongly encourage everyone in the combo being offered the opportunity to improvise.

Procedures for Combos

Each combo will receive 35 minutes for their performance and post-performance clinic. This includes warm-up onstage, set-up, tuning, performance, clinic, and exit from the stage. 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 eligible to compete in their own divisions and also to compete for overall Outstanding Ensemble and Combo Awards

Adjudicators – Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Division and Combo Division

Serving as adjudicators for the Carolina Jazz Festival are the following artists:

Alphonso Horne, trumpet (Artist-in-Residence for 2018 Carolina Jazz Festival)

Patrick Brantley, alto sax (Artist-in-Residence for 2018 Carolina Jazz Festival)

Todd Williams, tenor saxophonist (Essentially Ellington Adjudicator provided by Jazz at Lincoln Center)

Doug Tidaback, EE Finalist Director of the Tuscon Jazz Institute  (Essentially Ellington Adjudicator provided by Jazz at Lincoln Center)

Stephen Anderson, Jazz Faculty (jazz piano/composition), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Dan Davis, Jazz Faculty (drum set), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill


The judges will select the following awards:

Outstanding High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Community Jazz Band

Overall Outstanding High School Jazz Band (regular and community eligible)

Outstanding High School Jazz Combo

Outstanding Community Jazz Combo

The Outstanding High School Jazz Band and Outstanding Community Jazz Band will each receive a plaque, a $100 check from the Durham Jazz Workshop, and a coupon to receive educational materials from Jamey Aebersold Jazz. The Outstanding Jazz Band (regular program) will be invited to open the evening concert of the UNC Jazz Band (7:50pm Saturday, February 24, 2018) with their 3-tune set.

The Outstanding High School Jazz Combo (includes both regular and community groups) will receive a plaque, a $100 check from the Durham Jazz Workshop, and a coupon to receive educational materials from Jamey Aebersold Jazz.

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.

UNC Summer Jazz Workshop 2018

My colleague Dr. Stephen Anderson is pleased to announce that the UNC Summer Jazz Workshop (June 2018) will provide a free tuition scholarship (valued at $375) to the most Outstanding Student Performer at the 2018 Carolina Jazz Festival.

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

We are thrilled to announce that Ambrose Akinmusire will perform at UNCs Memorial Hall at 8:00pm on Thursday, February 15,  2018. Tickets can be obtained at 919-843-3333. If you plan to bring a group ask for help at the Carolina Box Office when you call.

Tentative Schedule for Saturday, February 24, 2018 (13th 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 if needed Hill Hall.

9:00am-Noon     Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos

Noon-1:00pm     Lunch

1:00-3:30pm      Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos

3:30-4:15pm       Remarks by our guest artists/adjudicators

4:15-4:45pm     Mini-Concert UNC Jazz Band featuring Alphonso Horne, trumpet and Patrick
Brantley, alto sax

4:50pm:            Awards Ceremony

8:00pm             Evening Concert: UNC Jazz Band featuring Alphonso Horne and Patrick Brantley Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall

Contact Information

If you have questions about the festival, please contact James Ketch at the 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