Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival

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2020Jaquet logo

Dear Directors,

The MTSU School of Music and the Illinois Jacquet Foundation invite your middle or high school jazz ensemble or combo to participate in the 2020 MTSU Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival on March 20 – 21st, 2020.  The festival, located in the Wright Music Building, 1439 Faulkinberry Drive, on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, is full of major educational components including: 

  • Evening concerts featuring MTSU Jazz Ensemble I, ETHOS Youth Jazz Ensemble, MTSU alumnus saxophonist, Cord Martin, and Downbeat magazine award-winning baritone saxophonist, Gary Smulyan.
  • Middle/High School jazz ensemble performances for a panel of highly respected jazz educators/adjudicators in a non-competitive format, but with comment sheets/ratings, and a post-performance clinic for each band.
  • Outstanding Musicianship Awards, an Outstanding Soloist Award, and Outstanding Ensemble Award(s) selected by festival adjudicators, with one or more ensembles chosen to perform on the Saturday evening concert.
  • An invitational high school Honors Combo, led by MTSU faculty member Don Aliquo.
  • Clinics by MTSU faculty and guests, including Casey Brefka (leader, Music City Big Band), Mike Parkinson, Brian Mueller, Patrick Atwater, Miguel Alvarado, Desmond Ng, Jamey Simmons, and the MTSU faculty rhythm section.
  • Saturday, 4 pm awards ceremony/concert featuring the MTSU Salsa Band, Lalo Davila, director. 

The full jazz ensemble fee is $125, combo fee is $50, including tickets for the Friday and Saturday night concerts.  Registration for the festival is HERE.  For further information, contact jazz festival producer Kyle Etges at or Jamey Simmons, James.Simmons@mtsu.eduMONDAY, MARCH 9, 2020 IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE – ONLY 16 ENSEMBLES WILL BE ACCEPTED.

For more information about registering your ensemble, visit this link.


 The festival honors the legacy of tenor saxophonist/band leader, Illinois Jacquet, who rose to prominence in the 1940s with the big bands of Count Basie and Lionel Hampton.  To learn more about Illinois Jacquet visit this site.  We hope that you and your students will participate in this celebration of America’s great art form on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.


Jamey Simmons
Director of Jazz Studies, School of Music
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
615 898 2724