Elkhart Jazz Festival

Elkhart Jazz Festival

Since 1988, jazz legends and jazz fans have come together each summer for one memorable weekend at the Elkhart Jazz Festival. Combining warm, intimate, small town hospitality with the excitement of big city jazz, the Elkhart Jazz Festival has become an internationally acclaimed event.

During its inaugural weekend in 1988, the festival welcomed 67 musicians and 3,000 jazz enthusiasts. Today, the festival showcases more than 100 performers and draws an audience of 15,000 to our community celebration of America's classic art form - jazz.

Why the phenomenal growth? It's because of the extraordinary efforts of hundreds of community volunteers. More than 200 dedicated men, women and teens donate their time throughout the weekend to bring the festival to life. They set up stages, take ticket orders, help people find their seats, announce the acts, transport musicians, move equipment…and much more.Elkhart Jazz Festival

Playing a crucial supporting role in the festival are the numerous corporate sponsors, the City of Elkhart, loyal patrons and other benefactors. In addition, many of the instruments featured during the festival are provided courtesy of area musical instrument manufacturers, such as Ludwig Drums, Conn-Selmer Musical Instruments, and Shirk's Piano. Popularly known as the Band Instrument Capital of the World, Elkhart's companies employ nearly 2,000 skilled craftspersons in the production of instruments that give voice to music.

The Elkhart Jazz Festival is perhaps the only volunteer-delivered jazz festival in the nation. And it's only one reason that Elkhart is known as "The City with a Heart."

Elkhart Jazz Festival Website

Elkhart Jazz Festival Facebook Page

Click here to purchase gift certificates for the 2013 Elkhart Jazz Festival

Festival passes (*include a ticket to see Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis)
Single Session passes
     Evening: $55, Afternoon: $35, Student Evening: $27.50, Student Afternoon: $17.50, Student Jazz Pass: $65
     $115, $70, $50, $40
The patron pass, with its preferred seating and numerous patron-only events, is the very best way to experience the 26th year of EJF!
Artist Information

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: An American professional big band that is produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, a major performing arts institution structured as a non-profit organization that is housed in its own faculty at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, New York. Comprised of 15 of today's finest jazz soloists and ensemble players, the band has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra for over 18 years. The band has toured over 300 cities in more than 35 countries on 6 continents. The Orchestra performs a vast repertoire, from rare historic compositions to Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works. Wynton Marsalis is the artistic director for Jazz at Lincoln Center, Inc., and director of and trumpeter with the Orchestra

John Pizzarelli: An American jazz guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader. He has had a lengthy career as a recording artist, recorded twenty-three albums of his own, as well as other joint recordings with his father, Bucky Pizzarelli, and has appeared on more than forty albums of other recording artists.
Davina and the Vagabonds: Davina and The Vagabonds are known in The Twin Cities, Minnesota as being the busiest band in town because of their hard-working professionalism, high energy stage performance, and original sound. Davina and the Vagabonds average over 300 performance dates a year, trying to share their music with the world.

Dave Bennett: Dave Bennett is a jaw dropping clarinet prodigy who brings to life the music of "The King of Swing" with incredible technique, expression and sensitivity.

Bria Skonberg: New York-based trumpeter/vocalist/songwriter Bria Skonberg has been performing since the age of 4. Originally from Chilliwack, BC Canada, she has been a bandleader and guest artist all over North America, Europe, China and Japan. Best known for her knowledge of classic jazz and pursuit of worldwide fun, she is creating a style all her own rooted in swampy New Orleans and blues with swing, pop and world music influences.

Greg Abate: Grammy-nominated jazz musician Greg Abate has more than a dozen recordings under his belt. A composer, saxophonist and flutist, Abate has traveled internationally to perform at jazz festivals in Europe, Russia, Canada and across the United States.

Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band: Formed 23 years ago in Florida, Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band continues the musical traditions of artists like Jelly Roll Morton and Count Basie. Trombonist Bill Allred was part of the 25th Anniversary Jazz Band that performed at the 2012 Elkhart Jazz Festival.

Carl Sonny Leyland Trio: The ragtime influenced Carl Sonny Leyland Trio features Marty Eggers on bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums and, of course, bandleader Carl Sonny Leyland on piano. Leyland brings versatility to the group with a repertoire that spans early jazz to rockabilly.

Chuck Redd Quartet with Ken Peplowski, Frank Tate and Graham Dechter: Experienced drummer and vibraphonist Chuck Redd has toured internationally with multiple stops in Europe and Japan. Redd has been featured on at least 70 recordings and was a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra for 15 years.

Joan Collaso: Vocalist Joan Collaso is a Elkhart Jazz Festival favorite. The soulful Chicago native blends jazz with R&B, blues and gospel. She has contributed backup vocals for Susan Boyle, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Sugarland and Tim McGraw.

Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers: Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers pays tribute to the music of the late ’20s and early ’30s when jazz was making a transition into swing.

The Faux Frenchmen: Gypsy jazz is the heart and soul of The Faux Frenchmen. The quartet formed in 2002 with acoustic guitarists George Cunningham and Brian Lovely, violinist Paul Patterson and bassist Don Aren.

Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra: The 18-piece Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra highlights music by big band giants like Count Basie, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman but does not shy away from more contemporary styles performed by artists Frank Mantooth and Maynard Ferguson. The orchestra formed in 2005 with a mix of trained musicians, music teachers and big band fanatics.

Kris Brownlee: Rising contemporary jazz saxophonist and Megawave Records artist Kris Brownlee sets the pace again at the Elkhart Jazz Festival, fusing vintage talent with accented grooves and contemporary soulful arrangements. His latest album, "Sincerely Yours," features collaborations with Grammy Award-winning producer Michael Broening, as well as other prominent contemporary jazz artists such as trumpet player Cindy Bradley, Argentinian vocalist Gabriela Anders, and legendary guitarist Freddie Fox.

Nia Quintet: The Nia Quintet regularly performs original music and covers classic tunes at some of Chicago’s hottest jazz clubs. The band’s second album, “Earth Sign,” is expected to be released this year.

Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub: Elkhart Jazz Festival veteran Bucky Pizzarelli is a self-taught guitarist who toured with artists Vaughn Monroe and Benny Goodman. Born in New Jersey, Ed Laub studied under Pizzarelli and started playing the seven-string guitar more than 40 years ago.

Ariel Pocock: Young pianist and vocalist Ariel Pocock has landed honor after honor from Downbeat Magazine, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation and the Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition. Pocock studies under jazz pianist Shelly Berg at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.

Tom Rigney and Flambeau: Spicing up the Elkhart Jazz Festival, Tom Rigney and Flambeau will add Cajun and zydeco flair to the lineup. The band has been hopping from festival to festival since 2000.

Truth in Jazz: Elkhart County’s own Truth in Jazz has been celebrating music from the big band era since 1998. Band members have performed with artists including Bobby McFerrin, the Glenn Miller Band and Sarah Vaughan among others.

VibeNation: Local festival favorite VibeNation has been going strong for 20 years. The band has appeared at Elkhart’s Rhapsody in Green, Concert on the Green, WVPE jazz events and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.”

The Whistle Pigs Dance Band: Described as a “close-knit family of musicians,” The Whistle Pigs Dance Band has shared the stage with The Temptations, Charlie Daniels, The Birds, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and many others. The band specializes in classic rock, jazz and rhythm and blues.

John Hasse: Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution, Hasse is a leading jazz historian and lecturer. He is Duke Ellington's biographer, co-author of the textbook Discover Jazz, and founder of Jazz Appreciation Month.

Artist information collected and provided by The Elkhart Truth.