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UNF School of Music presents 34th Annual Great American Jazz Series

UNF Jazz Ensemble 1 students standing with their instruments on an outdoor staircaseThe University of North Florida’s Jazz Studies Program is proud to present the 34th Annual Great American Jazz Series (GAJS) performance on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Robinson Theater. This is the first concert of the 2021-22 GAJS season, and is the ensemble’s first live, in-person concert since Feb. of 2020.

Jazz Ensemble 1, led by director J.B. Scott, is the flagship ensemble of UNF’s prestigious Jazz Studies Program. Thanks to the visionary leadership of Rich Matteson in 1986, UNF's Jazz Ensemble 1 has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the finest collegiate jazz ensembles worldwide. The majority of group members of UNF JE 1 are undergraduates, making this achievement that much more impressive.

The first half of the concert will feature a special performance by the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts’ Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Don Zentz. Long recognized as one of the leading high school jazz bands in the country, DA SOTA’s Jazz Ensemble I has had the honor of performing at many esteemed venues and events. These include the 1992 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago, prestigious jazz festivals in Europe, and Essentially Ellington competitions in New York City where the band was named the winner in 2006. The band’s Essentially Ellington win was chronicled in the award-winning film documentary “CHOPS,” which has served as an inspiration for many band programs across the nation. 

The second half of the performance will feature UNF's Jazz Ensemble 1 performing the music of Gary Lindsay, a talented writer and arranger who has recently retired from the University of Miami’s world-renowned Frost School of Music after 40 years of teaching. In addition to composing and performing with the Miami Saxophone Quartet, Lindsay has played with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Henry Mancini, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Mathis, Mike and Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Jaco Pastorius and many others. He has also performed as a featured jazz soloist with the Florida Philharmonic and the Naples Philharmonic, and has performed in pit orchestras for numerous shows including West Side Story, The Music Man, Porgy and Bess, Hello Dolly, Man of La Mancha, The Fiddler on the Roof and more.

“Gary’s music is very challenging and beautiful,” said J.B. Scott, UNF associate professor and artistic director of the GAJS. “UNF JE1 is doing an amazing job with his music.”

To learn more about the UNF Jazz Ensemble 1, visit the School of Music’s website. For more information and to register for the 34th Annual Great American Jazz Series, visit the website.