Jazz Series Presents Gala Festival Concert with Former Director of ‘The Airmen of Note’ as Special Guest Artist


Photo of Joe Eckert.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 28, 2010 – Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Music is proud to announce their second concert of the 2009-2010 Jazz Series featuring Joe Eckert, former lead alto saxophonist with the Air Force’s Jazz Band, “The Airmen of Note.”   The concert is scheduled for Friday, Feb, 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall located in the Cultural Arts Center at the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus.  The concert will feature music for the big band which traditionally includes saxophones, trumpets, trombones and rhythm section.  

Prior to joining the faculty at Texas Christian University in the fall of 2007, Joseph Eckert served as associate professor of saxophone and director of the jazz program at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., where he joined the faculty full time after retiring from a 20-year career as lead alto saxophonist/woodwind specialist and music director for the  Air Force “Airmen of Note” in Washington, D.C.   Prior to joining “The Airmen of Note,” he was professor of saxophone and director of jazz studies at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va., where his ensembles were awarded for their excellence and he received the “Outstanding Teacher Award” for 1982-1983.

While with “The Airmen of Note,” Eckert toured extensively across North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has performed with some of the great names in jazz to include Louie Bellson, The Brecker Brothers, Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine, Jimmy Heath, J. J. Johnson, Cleo Laine, Mike Mainieri, Carmen McRae, Clark Terry, Kenny Werner, Paquito D’Rivera, Joe Williams and many others.

Some of Eckert’s free-lance activities have included performances with the Dallas Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra and tours with Liza Minelli and Nelson Riddle. Comfortable in both jazz and classical idioms, he is the only member of the faculty at Shenandoah to have been a guest soloist with the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Brass Quintet.  He has served as an adjudicator and clinician at music festivals, high schools and colleges nationally and internationally.  Eckert is currently a Yamaha performing artist/clinician.

Studio Jazz Ensemble

The Studio Jazz band will feature jazz favorites including Jerome Richardson’s “Groove Merchant” and Matt Catingub’s “Even More Blues (but my Tooth is Fine Thanks).”  With Eckert, they will perform Sammy Nestico’s alto feature “Samantha,” and a Paquito D’Rivera classic entitled, “Who’s Smoking!?”  Many students will be feature soloists including Spencer Day on tenor sax, Nate Nall on trumpet and Brandon Harvey on drumset. 

Jazz Lab Band

Also performing at the concert will be the University’s Jazz Lab Band with Eckert as soloist. This ensemble will be directed by Southeast alumnus Joseph Pappas who is assuming the associate director of band duties for the spring semester. This band is comprised of both music and non-music majors and will be playing a variety of jazz compositions.


May be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651–2265. Tickets may also be purchased online at metrotix.com, keyword “jazz concert” or by calling toll free (800) 293-5949.