on image for publication quality photo
Left, Bill Evans Festival
guest artist Ted Rosenthal
BILL EVANS FEST HONORS
HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana
University will honor one of its most renowned alumni, the late Grammy
Award winning jazz pianist Bill Evans, at the fourth annual Bill Evans
Jazz Festival, Feb. 21-24.
The four-day tribute to
the 1950 Southeastern graduate will showcase the Ted Rosenthal Trio, faculty
and student jazz ensembles, and a lecture by Evans expert Win Hinkle, said
David Evenson, head of the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts.
All festival events are
free and will take place in Southeastern’s Pottle Music Building Auditorium.
“This festival represents
a microcosm of Bill Evans' achievements,” said festival organizer Richard
Schwartz, director of jazz studies at Southeastern. “It highlights two
of Evans' most notable qualities -- his drive to explore new musical frontiers
and his gentle manner of sharing jazz with others.”
Evans, who graduated from Southeastern
with honors in 1950, recorded more than 70 albums, won seven Grammy Awards
and earned an international following. Throughout his life, he fondly remembered
his college years, calling his time at Southeastern the happiest period
of his life. He returned to campus for a concert 30 years after his graduation,
shortly before his death in 1980. Southeastern named Evans its first “Alumnus
of the Year” in 1969.
As this year’s headliner,
jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal will be joined by drummer Eliot Zigmund, who
recorded with Evans, and bass player Sean Smith for a 7:30 p.m. concert
on Feb. 24 at the Pottle Music Building Auditorium.
“I am honored to be playing
at the Bill Evans Jazz Festival,” Rosenthal said. “I think it's a great
thing that the festival exists, and I'm very happy to be saluting Bill's
legacy and influence on jazz piano.”
Rosenthal, whose has included
many of Evans’ compositions on his own recordings,
said he first encountered the jazz legend at the age of 12 at Yale
“I heard Bill give a master
class for John Mehegan’s jazz class in 1979,” he said. “It was great to
hear him play and talk about music.” Rosenthal said he also remembers being
given a transcription of Evans’ “Turn Out the Stars” by his piano teachers.
“It was really beyond me,”
Rosenthal said, “but I learned it by studying the recording.”
Festival events, which are all free and are scheduled for the Pottle
Music Building Auditorium, include:
Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m., Southeastern
One O’Clock Big Band. Glen Hemberger, Southeastern’s director of bands,
will conduct Phil Woods’ “Goodbye Mr. Evans” with Schwartz as saxophone
soloist. The band’s performance of Leonard Bernstein's "Prelude, Fugue
and Riffs” will showcase Southeastern faculty member Andrew Seigel, clarinet.
Feb. 22, 2 p.m., guest lecture.
Win Hinkle, publisher of “Letter From Evans,” will present a lecture,
“Do Transcriptions Really Tell The Bill Evans Story?” Hinkle said he plans
“to compare commercially available notated transcriptions with the actual
recordings and attempt to determine what can and cannot be captured by
traditional music notation.” He will use selections such as "My Foolish
Heart," "On a Clear Day" and "Autumn Leaves."
Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m., Southeastern
Jazz Combos. Southeastern faculty and students performers will include
Schwartz, alto saxophone; Nick Volz, trumpet; Henry Jones, piano; Dave
Carbonara, bass; and Kevin Estoque, drums.
Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m., Faculty
and Guests Jazz Quintet. Schwartz will be joined in concert by fellow
Southeastern faculty member Hank Mackie, guitar, and University of Southern
Mississippi guests John Palensky, bass, and John Wooton, drums.
Feb. 24, 2 p.m., High School
Big Band Workshop with Ted Rosenthal. Rosenthal will critique performances
by invited jazz big bands from Mandeville High School and Northshore High
School and will talk about his philosophy of jazz.
Feb. 24, 4 p.m., Jazz Master
Classes with Southeastern faculty. Southeastern music faculty will
offer instruction on instrumental technique to the young musicians from
Mandeville and Northshore high schools. Students from other high schools
interested in participating should contact Schwartz at 985-549-5938 or
For additional information on the Bill
Evans Jazz Festival, contact Schwartz or the Department of Music and Dramatic