Sneak Peak at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival

Gene Power

I know it’s early… way early… but I still can’t help but get excited about our upcoming Eau Claire Jazz Festival. In its 42nd year, the festival has gotten a huge boost by drawing on the local arts community and tapping into resources throughout the Chippewa Valley. The festival is beginning to take on a new life thanks to organizer Patty Horecki and her army of volunteers and interns. They have broadened the scope of the festival by bringing in visual artists, more clubs and local performance venues (my jazz band played at Oakwood Mall as part of the event last year), and poets to give it a more community based feel. Eau Claire is a jazz town after all and there is a lot of talent to put on display.

And then there is the festival week. It’s a week later than usual this year – April 2-5 – to kick off the start of National Jazz Appreciation Month. There are some great guests coming to Eau Claire. One of the hottest tenor players out there, Chris Potter, will be in town along with Jiggs Whigham on Trombone. And of course there will be UWEC Jazz I along with all of the outstanding talent from colleges and high schools throughout Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. It’s a must-attend event!

Check out this awesome video of Chris Potter! I got to jam with him at the University of Minnesota when I was in high school. He came to town on tour with the Mingus Big Band. (This is not video of that jam session… I know you’re disappointed)