Local Youth to Perform in Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival Feb. 7-8


bradlealiCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 23, 2014 – More than 500 area high school and junior high students in 25 jazz ensembles will perform at the 16th annual Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival Feb. 7-8 at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

The students will perform for three experts in the field of jazz. They also will receive written and recorded comments as well as a live clinic session at the end of their performance. The bands will perform from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 7 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.

Admission is free.

Bands attending represent Cape Central High School, North County High School, DeSoto High School, Dexter High School, Woodland High School, Kelly High School, Northwest High School, Hillsboro High School, Fox High School, Seckman High School, Herculaneum High School, Jefferson City High School and Fredericktown High School, as well as junior high bands from Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and Hillsboro, Mo., and Murphysboro, Ill.

Gala Concert The festival will feature acclaimed guest artist and lead saxophonist for the Harry Connick Jr. Orchestra, Brad Leali, during the annual gala concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall. Leali, jazz saxophonist on the faculty of the University of North Texas, will perform alongside the University’s jazz ensembles in this concert. The performance will feature music for the big band, which traditionally includes saxophones, trumpets, trombones and rhythm section.

Leali also has played with the Count Basie Orchestra and was a staple in legendary New York jazz venues like the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Iridium and Birdland. He has also performed in the Lincoln Center in the orchestras of jazz legends Nancy Wilson and Benny Golson. His numerous television appearances include The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Arsenio Hall, BET and the Harry Connick Jr. Christmas Special.

Most recently, Leali performed at President Barack Obama’s 2008 inaugural, backing up artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Mary J. Blige and Herbie Hancock. Other artists with whom he has played include Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Foster, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, The Mingus Big Band, Jack McDuff, George Duke, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimmy Smith, Robert Downey, Jr., Fantasia, Billy Joel, Kid Rock, Yolanda Adams and Brian McKnight.

Also performing at the Feb. 7 gala concert will be Southeast’s Studio Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Lab Band.

Studio Jazz Ensemble

Led by Robert Conger, professor of music at the University, this band will take the stage performing selections including “Gellar’s Cellar,” “Puddin’ Time” and the ballad “I’m Old Fashioned,” which will feature Leali on saxophone. It will perform a Pat Metheny classic, “First Circle,” which is a tricky piece that has alternating time signatures and has a very lyrical tuneful quality. Many students will be featured in the set including Steven Watkins on tenor sax, Matt Flanagan on trombone, Brian Martin on trumpet and Trevor Smith on alto sax.

Jazz Lab Band The concert also will feature Southeast’s Jazz Lab Band, which will be under the direction of Jay Contrino, adjunct instructor of music at the University. Among its program will be “Blues in Hoss Flat” and the Les Hooper tune “Fast Forward.” This ensemble will highlight talented students as soloists including Sam Harris on alto sax, Derek Morrison on tenor sax, Adam Devine on trombone and Brian Martin on trumpet. Leali will join them on the jazz standard performing “I’m Glad There is You” among other charts. The band is comprised of both music and non-music majors and will be playing a variety of jazz compositions.

Phi Mu Alpha The Southeast chapter of Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity coordinates logistics of this event, including guiding bands from warm-up to performance, handling collection of adjudication data and the audio recording of each ensemble, as well as setup and tear down before and after each group. This is an annual service project for this fraternity, which benefits the University as well as the surrounding community.


For more information, please contact Robert Conger at (573) 651-2398. Tickets 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 or visiting RiverCampusEvents.com.