Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend brings professional jazz artists to the Lawrence campus for a 100% non-competitive jazz education festival. Instrumental and vocal jazz educators continue to appreciate the low-pressure clinic environment, the inspirational boost at the start of the school year, the extended ensemble workshop clinics with renowned clinicians, the special focus upon improvisation, the absence of ratings and trophies, and a "Who's Who" list of professional jazz artists.
Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 / 7:30 p.m.
Lizz Wright has been the recipient of nonstop critical acclaim and ever-increasing audiences ever since her Verve debut. Like so many vocal greats, Wright began her singing in the church. For her it was a small church in Hahira, Ga., where her father served as musical director and where she soaked up the sounds of songs of faith. She was also surrounded by varied types of secular music at home, especially jazz and soul. Wright moved to Atlanta in the late ’90s to attend Georgia State University and began singing classical repertoire under Dwight Coleman. She also began singing jazz, both solo and as part of the popular local group In The Spirit. She made a name for herself in other parts of the country in 2002 as part of a touring concert tribute to Billie Holiday, where her poised, emotive performance stole the show.
A year later, Wright was signed by Verve Records and worked with legendary jazz producer Tommy LiPuma on her debut album, Salt. It topped the contemporary jazz charts and became one of the most acclaimed albums of 2003, mixing standards with new material and styles ranging from gospel to soul to jazz to blues with ease. And her clear, deep voice and mature phrasing certainly belied her age (then 23).
Over her four albums (Salt, Dreaming, The Orchard and Fellowship) Wright has demonstrated she is a top-notch songwriter and also has the interpretive skills to become a premier popular song stylist.
LU Jazz Ensemble
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 / 7:30 p.m.
British saxophone legend Tim Garland, world-leading vibraphone virtuoso Joe Locke and recent Grammy nominee pianist Geoffrey Keezer create a unique three-way dialogue of captivating, immersive music. Bringing their different styles and backgrounds together, they create music that can be spacious or immensely complex, delicate but often approaching orchestral depth, and collectively find their way into a new mood or feel before the listener knows they have left the old one. Their spontaneous interaction, the dovetailing, the assertion of contrasting yet mutually supportive roles are all taken to a new level on this recording. This enduring international alliance of jazz giants is celebrating its 10th anniversary with this album and concerts throughout Europe and the U.S.