The 2023 installment of the festival coincides with the launch of the new jazz studies degree program at the school.

This winter, one of the most celebrated events on the Moores School of Music calendar returns to the University of Houston. On Saturday, Feb. 25, the school will present the 25th anniversary of its annual Jazz Festival—and one jazz legend will be along for the ride.

Saturday night we will see accomplished saxophonist Bill Evans joining the Moores School of Music's Jazz Orchestra as a special guest headliner for a performance. A veteran musician and producer, Evans began his career in the 1980s and has performed with numerous jazz luminaries, including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and John McLaughlin.

“The 25th Jazz Festival is certainly a highlight for the jazz area at the Moores School of Music,” Marmolejo said. “We have been well supported by the university and have been fortunate to present great jazz artists as our special guests from the very beginning.”
Noe Marmolejo, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies

Marmolejo said the festival represents a valuable opportunity for students to perform with venerated musicians in the jazz world.

“I think the most exciting thing about the festival is preparing the Jazz Orchestra ensemble to perform with world class jazz artists,” Marmolejo said. “It's a great experience for our students to rub elbows with jazz icons.”

Throughout the day on both Friday and Saturday, the Jazz Festival will also host judged performances from registered, high school, junior high, and middle school jazz bands and combos. Each registered band will give a 30-minute performance, immediately followed by a 30-minute judges’ clinic. Awards will be given out to outstanding middle and high school bands, and All Star awards will be presented to distinguished soloists.

The 25th anniversary of the jazz festival coincides with the launch of the Moores School of Music’s dedicated jazz studies program later this year. Though UH has long had an accomplished Jazz Orchestra, this is the first time it has offered an accredited jazz degree program.

Marmolejo will lead the jazz studies program. He said he is thrilled at the prospect of growing jazz at the University.

“The School of Music now has a jazz degree in the books, and it is my hope that this will expand the area so that we can add to the already great school that we are a part of,” Marmolejo said.

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Marmolejo said the festival promises to showcase not only some incredible jazz talent—from student performers, to Bill Evans’ special guest slot—but also the Moores School of Music’s capabilities as a jazz education institution.

“I hope our audience and the festival participants will come away with a once in a lifetime experience, that's always the goal,” Marmolejo said “I also hope that the participants will investigate coming to school at the Moores School of Music. It’s definitely a recruiting tool.”

“I am most proud of the students who have participated in the jazz area,” Marmolejo said. “They have become family to me, and I can't imagine my life without them.”
Noe Marmolejo, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies

The 25th anniversary of the Moores School of Music Jazz Festival will take place on Feb. 25th at 7:30 p.m. at the Moores Opera House on the UH campus.

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