Drummer Nussbaum sets the beat for MTSU’s Jacquet Jazz Festival April 1

Mar 06, 2023 at 10:58 am by WGNS News

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Renowned jazz drummer Adam Nussbaum will set the beat for MTSUSchool of Music students and faculty and area high school musicians Saturday, April 1, when he headlines Middle Tennessee State University’s annual Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival. 

Nussbaum will cap a day of learning for the young musicians when he and MTSU’s student Jazz Ensemble I perform in a public concert set for 7:30 p.m. April 1 in Hinton Hall inside the Wright Music Building at 1439 Faulkinberry Drive. 


“This year’s festival features innovative performers and educators that will be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for jazz students and audiences to experience," said Jamey Simmons, director of MTSU’s Jazz Studies Program.  

“The concert will showcase Adam Nussbaum’s abilities alongside our student artists, and he will share with us his gifts as a renowned educator as well.” 

Nussbaum, a performer, composer and bandleader who’s played with a “who’s who” list of performers that includes Michael and Randy Brecker, Eliane Elias, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, James Moody and John Scofield, is also a teaching artist who’s presented Sonor drums and Zildjian cymbal clinics and master classes worldwide. 

He'll present a free 3:30 p.m. jazz clinic in Hinton Music Hall April 1 before his MTSU concert, too.   

The April 1 concert is free for MTSU students, faculty and staff and workshop participants. Concert tickets for the public are available at $10 each by contacting Simmons at james.simmons@mtsu.edu. Discounts for area band students and educators are also available. 

High school jazz bands can register to participate in all the Jazz Festival events by emailing james.simmons@mtsu.edu by Thursday, March 16. A complete schedule is available at https://www.mtsu.edu/music/jazzfest.php

The educational component of the day will feature performances by 11 groups, including high school jazz ensembles and MTSU combos from 9 to noon; the student Jazz Ensemble II, directed by professor Don Aliquo, at 1 p.m.; and a special MTSU jazz faculty clinic, “The Art of Small Group Jazz Performance,” with a performance and Q&A session. 

MTSU faculty and Nashville area pros will offer comments to the groups to help sharpen their skills and train the next generation of jazz artists. All the daytime performances are free and open to the public. 

MTSU’s annual Jazz Festival, which honors the late tenor saxophonist Jean-Baptiste “Illinois” Jacquet, gives high school musicians an individual focus on jazz style and the art of jazz improvisation. Students in MTSU’s jazz program and area schools' jazz ensembles participate in concerts and clinics led by faculty members and guests throughout the event. 

The Illinois Jacquet Foundation established a scholarship for MTSU jazz students in the artist’s name in 2014. The School of Music renamed the festival in 2016 to honor Jacquet, an innovator with Count Basie’s and Lionel Hampton’s bands who died in 2004 after a storied 60-year-plus career.  

MTSU’s Jazz Ensemble I is the program’s top performing student group. These experienced student musicians focus on cutting-edge works and big-band repertoire alongside new compositions and arrangements of their own.  


For more information about the Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival at MTSU, contact Simmons at 615-898-2724 or james.simmons@mtsu.edu or visit https://www.mtsu.edu/music/jazzfest.php

More information about Nussbaum is available at https://www.adamnussbaum.net

For more information about the Illinois Jacquet Foundation, visit https://illinoisjacquetfoundation.org.  

For details on MTSU School of Music performances and events, call 615-898-2493 or visit https://www.mtsumusic.com and click on the "Concerts" button. 


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