Annual Jazz Festival returns to West Chester University – Daily Local

WEST CHESTER – For the first time since 2019, West Chester University’s Wells School of Music will bring world-class entertainment and free live jazz to the surrounding community during the annual Jazz Festival from March 23-26.

Most performances are free and take place on the West Chester University campus at the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center, 817 S. High St., West Chester. This year, the Festival will extend to the borough of West Chester with a performance at Uptown! Knauer Center for the Performing Arts, 226 N. High St., West Chester.

The Jazz Festival is the university’s first program since 2019 due to some productions being paused due to COVID-19.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University of West Chester, this year’s 3-day festival pays tribute to the past, present and future of Wells School of Music at the University of West Chester with performances featuring faculty, alumni and current students, as well as performances by jazz legends.

Director of Jazz Studies Jonathan Ragonese said: “During this celebration of West Chester University’s 150th anniversary, we wanted to celebrate our accomplished alumni, faculty and students by showcasing their work at the festival. Our own faculty jazz band, as well as our beloved student jazz ensemble, the Criterions, are among the many points of pride at Wells School of Music. Additionally, alumni of Wells School of Music at West Chester University perform across the continent and on world-class stages. We want local audiences to take advantage of these mostly free offerings and hear and enjoy some of the best jazz artists associated with West Chester University.

Events include the Larry Marshall Trio on March 23 at noon. It’s free, at the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre. At 8 p.m. on March 23, it’s the WCU Faculty Jazz Band, free at the Madeleine Wing Adler Theater. March 24 at 8 p.m. is WCU Criterions Celebrate Alumni, free at the Madeleine Wing Adler Theater. On March 25, a free concert by John Swana will take place at 1 p.m. at the Madeleine Wing Adler Theater. Later, at 7:30 p.m., David Liebman with the Dali String Quarter takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. in Uptown! Knauer Center for the Performing Arts. This is a paid event. Tickets to https://secure.uptownwestchester.org/2824/2825.

David Liebman is considered a contemporary music renaissance man with a career spanning over fifty years. He has performed with masters such as Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, McCoy Tyner and others. He will perform with the University of West Chester’s quartet in residence, the Dalí Quartet, in a concert which will also feature the beloved Criterions Jazz Ensemble from the University of West Chester. The concert features a world premiere composition by Jonathan Ragonese, director of the Criterions Jazz Ensemble.

On Saturday, March 26, the High School Jazz Ensemble showcase will take place at 10 a.m. at the Madeleine Wing Adler Theater. This is a paid event. Some of the best high school jazz ensembles in the area will perform in half-hour sets. Student sets will receive feedback from WCU faculty. Tickets are $12 / $7 students at www.wcupatix.com/schoolofmusic.

Full listings and details of all programs can be found at www.wcupa.edu/jazzfest.

Willie J. Johnson