The Wichita Jazz Festival will mark its 47th year with eight exciting days of diverse music April 1-8, and kicks-off with a showcase and community gathering at McAdams Recreation Center. From the start, the week just gets better, ending with three great nights of Jazz during the festival’s closing weekend.
Fri., April 6 features Bassist Ben Allison and his East Coast jazz performance with group Think Free. Sat., April 7 features Afro Cuban Funk Band Palo for a Latin Jazz Dance Party. The festival closes out on Sun., April 8 with a concert featuring saxophonist Eric Alexander and legendary jazz pianist Harold Mabern.
The kickoff at McAdams Park will feature the Delano Jazz Orchestra, the Wichita Jazz Festival Sessions group and more area acts, as well as presentation of the festival’s Homer Osborne Award for outstanding contribution to jazz education. Fran Jackson will act as emcee.
Founded in 1971, WJF strives to perpetuate and popularize jazz through educational initiatives with young musicians and to ensure that its yearly festival is one of the area’s premier cultural events for all music lovers. A totally volunteer organization, the festival has been on an upswing in recent years, with an expanded board, a new advisory council, additional events, more community partnerships and larger audiences.
A $75 festival pass will guarantee admission to all eight days of events. Seating is general admission; student discounts are available with ID. To purchase passes or single tickets, go to wichitajazzfestival.com. Tickets also will be sold at the door, though may be limited.
The major sponsor of the 2018 festival is Wichita-based aerospace manufacturer Perfekta Inc., with additional funding provided by the Gordon W. Evans Charitable Trust and the Arts Council.
2018 WICHITA JAZZ FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
Apr. 1 McAdams Park, 1329 N. Ohio 4-7 p.m. Kickoff Showcase and Community Gathering featuring the Delano Jazz Orchestra (4 p.m.), the WJF Sessions combo and other area acts, and presentation of the Homer Osborne Award for outstanding contribution to jazz education. Fran Jackson is emcee. Free.
Apr. 2 Roxy’s Downtown, 412 E Douglas 7:30 p.m co-sponsored with the Tallgrass Film Festival. “Bill Frisell: A Portrait,” Emma Franz’s 2017 documentary film about a mild-mannered guitarist.
Apr. 3 Fisch Haus 524 S Commerce 7:30 p.m. Evening of tunes and talk curated by bassist Mark Foley. Free.
Apr. 4 Roxy’s Downtown 412 E Douglas 7:30 p.m. Trio led by bassist-vocalist Katie Thiroux. Opening act, WJF Sessions combo. $20; students $5 with ID.
Apr. 5, Krehbiel Auditorium, Bethel College, North Newton 7:30 p.m. Brad Leali, associate professor of jazz saxophone, performing with the Bethel College Jazz Ensemble and the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble. Freewill offering.
Apr. 6 Roxy’s Downtown, 412 E Douglas 7:30 p.m. Bassist Ben Allison, composer and performer who reflects the inventive state of the art of East Coast jazz, performs with Think Free members Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Steve Cardenas (guitar) and Allan Mednard (drums). $20; students $5 with ID.
Apr. 7 Roadhouse Event Center 7:30 p.m. Latin Jazz Dance Party starring Miami-based PALO! and its festive Cuban funk $30; students $5 with ID.
Apr. 8 Roxy’s Downtown 412 E Douglas 7:30 p.m. Tenor sax star Eric Alexander and his quartet featuring his 81-year-old mentor, veteran pianist Harold Mabern. $30; students $5 with ID.