Local performers Rudy Love and Donna Tucker, and Grammy winning guitarist Bill Frisell will be featured at this year’s jazz festival, along with a community big band and student groups from around the Midwest.
RUDY LOVE: DOCUMENTARY and CONCERT
Rudy Love will be a centerpiece of this year’s Wichita Jazz Festival, with a performance by the Love Family Band and a showing of the documentary “This is Love” on Thur., March 28.
The Love fest will take place at Wichita’s Crown Uptown Theatre, 3207 E. Douglas. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Local high school jazz musicians will play for a half hour starting at 7 p.m., and then the main event starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Love event are $40 or are included with the $80 Festival Pass for all events. Visit WichitaJazzFestival.com for details.
The film “This is Love” packed Wichita’s Orpheum Theatre in October during the Tallgrass Film Fest. It documents Love’s professional rise, playing with Little Richard, Ray Charles and Sly Stone and working as a pilot vocalist for the Temptations and Marvin Gaye – and his failure to gain fame due to shady music industry practices that included his records being released under other artists’ names.
This screening and live performance by Love may end up being the most attended Wichita Jazz Festival event in years.
JAZZ IN MCADAMS PARK
The festival will pay tribute to the musical legacy of the Dunbar / McAdams Arts and Business District with a free afternoon concert 3-7 p.m. Sun., March 31, in McAdams Park. Sit on the grass with a picnic or get something from a food truck.
The area hosted and spawned many great musicians and entertainers for decades starting in the 1920s.
“Jazz in the Neighborhood” will feature music from area high school musicians; the longtime local blues/jazz favorites the Macy Brothers Quartet; and the Delano Jazz Orchestra, a community big band that will play classics from Count Basie, Stan Kenton and more.
BILL FRISELL TRIO
Guitarist Bill Frisell is a Grammy Award winner who often uses his jazz skills to explore other types of music like folk, country, and general Americana from Aaron Copland to Bob Dylan.
Two of his most recent popular albums include a tribute to John Lennon (“All We Are Saying”) and a tribute to the Fender Stratocaster guitar (“Guitar in the Space Age!”). Make no mistake about his jazz bona fides, though; he’s held his own on albums with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Ron Carter.
He’ll appear with his trio (with drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Thomas Morgan) at the Crown Uptown at 7 p.m. Sat., March 30. Tickets are $40 or included with the $80 Festival Pass. The Delano Jazz Orchestra will open the concert.
Singer Donna Tucker has been a Wichita mainstay for a number of years. If you haven’t seen her perform live, you’ve probably heard her on a commercial. She has the type of jazz voice that can really class up a joint.
Following studies at Kansas State University, she sang in a variety of venues and circumstances across the country, including with the Woody Herman Orchestra and the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Starting in 1999, she became a headlining singer for the Westin hotel chain, and was based at the Westin Tokyo in Japan for months at a time.
Tucker will perform Fri., March 29, at the Crown Uptown with her Kansas City Band. A special dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and the performance will follow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for dinner and show are $75, show only is $40. Show only is included in the $80 Festival Pass, but dinner is not. Dinner reservations must be made by Wed., March 27.
WSU JAZZ INVITATIONAL
For the jazz festival’s opening event, Wichita State University will host a Jazz Invitational for nearly 20 high school and college ensembles starting at 5 p.m. Fri, March 22, and all day Sat., March 23, in Miller Concert Hall and elsewhere on campus. Admission is free.
Featured guest artist for the event is drummer Dennis Mackrel, an alumnus of the Count Basie Orchestra and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, who will perform with the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Arts Ensemble 1 starting at 5:30 p.m. Sat., March 23. Admission is free.
For more info, visit WichitaJazzFestival.com.