Lawrence Jazz Weekend was initiated in 1981 to:

  • Bring renowned professional jazz artists to the Lawrence campus
  • Establish a 100% non-competitive jazz educational festival
  • Create an autumn educational event as an inspirational jump-start for school jazz groups
  • Promote improvisation as a primary focus in school jazz ensembles

The 1981 festival attracted 125 students from 8 Fox Valley high school ensembles. By 1987, Jazz Weekend attracted over 1000 middle school, high school, collegiate, and teacher participants from 60 schools in 5 Midwestern states.

Attending school 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.

Jazz Weekend Guest Artist Roster

1981: Steve Houghton, Leon Breeden, and Buddy Baker
1982: Zoot Sims and the Mitchell-Ruff Duo
1983: Slide Hampton and “Fire and Ice”
1984: Bobby McFerrin and Rayburn Wright
1985: Art Blakey, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim Hall, Jerry Coker, and The Hi-Lo's
1986: Gerry Mulligan, Bobby McFerrin, Gene Bertoncini, and Michael Moore
1987: Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, and Dianne Reeves
1988: Wynton Marsalis, J.J. Johnson, and Cheryl Barnes
1989: Michael Brecker and Diane Schuur
1990: Benny Golson, Marlena Shaw, John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Marc Johnson, Tim Hagans, and John Fedchock
1991: Chick Corea Elektric Band and Marlena Shaw
1992: New York Voices and Jack DeJohnette Trio
1993: Bobby Watson and Moore by Four
1994: Joe Henderson Trio and Jon Hendricks & Co:
1995: Cassandra Wilson and John Harmon
1996: Joe Lovano, Gunther Schuller, Janis Siegel, and Fred Hersch
1997: Diana Krall, Jon Faddis, Slide Hampton, and Jimmy Heath
1998: New York Voices and Marcus Roberts
1999: Kevin Mahogany and Arturo Sandoval
2000: Dave Holland Quintet, Nancy King, and Steve Christofferson
2001: Bobby McFerrin and Uri Caine
2002: Wayne Shorter, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade, and Dianne Reeves
2003: Kurt Elling, Lars Jansson, and the Mingus Big Band
2004: Eliane Elias Trio, Marc Johnson, and Tim Hagans
2005: Jane Monheit, Kenny Wheeler, Matt Harris, Steve Houghton and Clay Jenkins
2006: Jon Hendricks and LHR Redux, Wycliffe Gordon, and Chris Vadala
2007: Patricia Barber and the Branford Marsalis Quintet
2008: New York Voices and Ingrid Jensen
2009: Steve March Tormé, Brian Lynch, Joel Frahm, Geoffrey Keezer, Ike Sturm and Zach Harmon
2010: Luciana Souza and Conrad Herwig
2011: Tierney Sutton Band and John and Gerald Clayton
2012: Kurt Elling and Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
2013: Kate McGarry and The Yellowjackets



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