Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival

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2021Jaquet logo

TO: Middle Tennessee music students, directors, and general public

Greetings to you. The MTSU School of Music and the Illinois Jacquet Foundation invite you and your students to participate online in the 2021 MTSU Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival.  With support from the Tennessee Arts Commission we have unlimited capacity for students to participate in all our Zoom sessions on Saturday, April 10, 2021. All events are FREE to students and the public via Zoom and through the MTSU School of Music concert YouTube livestream at . The festival, is full of outstanding educational components including: 

  • Saturday 3:30 p.m. guest Zoom clinic by Downbeat magazine and Grammy award-winning baritone saxophonist GARY SMULYAN. A veteran of the New York City jazz scene, Gary will discuss his career as a working jazz musician, educator, give saxophone insights, and the details of jazz improvisation.
  • Saturday evening CD release celebration concert featuring MTSU Jazz Ensemble I, and a YouTube premiere of a new collaboration recording with Downbeat magazine and Grammy award-winning baritone saxophonist GARY SMULYAN.
  • Saturday: MTSU Combo performances for highly respected jazz educators-adjudicators, Casey Brefka (leader, Music City Big Band) and MTSU alumnus Cord Martin in a non-competitive format.
  • Weekday one-hour online clinics with MTSU students and Brefka and Martin are available on Thursdays, April 1st and Thursday, April 8th at 11:30 a.m. Topics include music business, jazz trumpet and saxophone performance instruction, and time for Q + A.  For those interested, a zoom link will be sent out upon registration.
  • Guest clinic the Art of Small Group Jazz Performance by the MTSU Faculty Quintet, Brian Mueller (drums), Jonathan Wires (bass), Matt Endahl (piano), Jamey Simmons (trumpet), and Don Aliquo (saxophone). Topics include soloist/rhythm section interaction, jazz styles, song form, basic arranging, and musicality.

 Registration for the festival is at  For further information, contact Jamey Simmons,  REGISTRATION FOR THE EVENT WILL BE OPEN UNTIL THURSDAY, APRIL  9th.     

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 the Illinois Jacquet Foundation go to We hope that you and your students will joins us in this celebration of America’s great art form at Middle Tennessee State University.  Best wishes for continuing success in your programs.

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

Tennessee Arts Commision


Schedule of Events

Thursday, April 1st, 11:30 a.m.
Casey Brefka ZOOM jazz trumpet, music industry clinic
Thursday, April 8th, 11:30 a.m.
Cord Martin ZOOM jazz saxophone clinic
Saturday, April 10th, 2021
All LIVE events occur in Hinton Hall, available to MTSU jazz students and jazz pedagogy students, and online through the MTSU School of Music livestream, available at


 9:00 a.m.          MTSU Combo performance and clinic, Jamey Simmons, Director, Hinton Hall

10:00 a.m.        MTSU Combo performance and clinic, Jonathan Wires, Director, Hinton Hall

11:00 a.m.        MTSU Combo performance and clinic, Matt Endahl, Director, Hinton Hall

Noon                 Break

 1:00 p.m.         MTSU Jazz Ensemble 2, Don Aliquo, Director, Hinton Hall

 2:15  p.m.        Jazz faculty clinic – the Art of Small Group Jazz Performance, Hinton Hall      

 3:30  p.m.        Guest Zoom clinic by Grammy-winning saxophonist Gary Smulyan

 5:30 p.m.          Special CD release concert by MTSU Jazz Ensemble I, Jamey Simmons, Director