The Denton Arts and Jazz Festival is a celebration of the arts in a community known for embracing and nurturing music, dance, choral, drama and the visual arts. The free event is produced by the Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. with the generous support of sponsors such as the Dallas/Fort Worth American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147 and the city of Denton. Held the last full weekend in April at Denton’s Quakertown Park, the event features seven stages of continuous music, fine art, crafts, and food, games and information booths in a beautiful, outdoor setting.
The Festival Foundation uses proceeds from booth rentals and concession sales to support the arts throughout the city of Denton. Arts facilities, service organizations, and preservation projects have all been the recipients of the proceeds from past events, in addition to public art for the enjoyment of all.
Come see the best that Denton has to offer – the sights, sounds and flavors that make up the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival are perfect for all ages.
Due to the large crowds we ask that you leave your pets at home – SERVICE DOGS ONLY, PLEASE and NO COOLERS IN THE JAZZ AREA!
HEADLINERS for 2015 are:
The UNT One O'Clock Lab Band
For 67 years the One O’Clock Lab Band has been the premier ensemble of the Jazz Studies Division at the University of North Texas College of Music in Denton, Texas. Since the 1970’s, the band’s albums have received six Grammy nominations with a multitude of great composers, performers, and educators all throughout the music world. Over 60 recordings and a tradition that just keeps swingin’, the One O’Clock Lab Band is now under the direction of Jay Saunders.
Randy Brecker - Friday, April 24, 2015 @ 9:00 pm n the Jazz Stage
Jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/ Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.
Born into a musical family, Randy’s talent was nurtured from an early age. He attended Indiana University from 1963-66 studying with Bill Adam, David Baker and Jerry Coker and later moved to New York where he landed gigs with such prominent bands as Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band, the Duke Pearson Big Band and the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.
In 1967, Randy ventured into jazz-rock with the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, but left to join the Horace Silver Quintet. He recorded his first solo album, ‘Score’, in 1968, featuring a young, then unknown 19 year-old tenor saxophonist named Michael Brecker. After Horace Silver, Randy joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the seminal fusion group ‘Dreams’. The group recorded two adventurous and wildly acclaimed albums: ‘Dreams’ and ‘Imagine My Surprise’ (now collector’s items) before they disbanded in 1971. In 1992 Randy and Michael reunited for a world tour and the triple-Grammy nominated recording, ‘The Return of the Brecker Brothers’. The follow-up, 1994’s ‘Out of the Loop,’ was a double-Grammy winner. Brecker’s first Grammy as a solo artist came in 1997 with his ‘Into The Sun’ recording featuring Randy’s impressions of Brazil. As a composer, performer and in-demand Yamaha clinician, Randy Brecker continues to influence and inspire young musicians around the world.
Dr. John the Night Tripper - Saturday, April 25, 2015 @ 9:00 pm on the Jazz Stage
The legendary Dr. John is a six-time Grammy Award-winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Known throughout the world as the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy, Dr. John is a true icon in American culture. His colorful musical career began in the 1950s when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City, including recordings by Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Joe Tex and Frankie Ford.
Dr. John headed west in the 1960s, where he was in great demand as a session musician, playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones' “Exile On Main St.” During that time he launched his solo career, developing the charismatic persona of Dr. John The Nite Tripper. A legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album “Gris-Gris,” which introduced to the world his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots.
In addition to his six Grammy wins (1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2013), he has received six other Grammy nominations over the years. In 2007 he was nominated for “Sippiana Hericane,” his Hurricane Katrina benefit disc. After Hurricane Katrina Dr. John immediately stepped up to the plate with generous relief fund-raising concerts and recordings. In 2007 he was also inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2008 he released “City That Care Forgot,” winning him a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. His latest album "Locked Down", released in 2012 with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys also won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
In 2013 Dr. John was awarded an honorary doctorate from Tulane University alongside His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After a half century of creating music for others and himself, Dr. John continues to write, arrange, produce and interpret with a passion that has yet to wane.
Brave Combo - Sunday, April 26, 2015 @ 7:00 pm on the Jazz Stage
Trying to describe Brave Combo’s music requires a pretty extensive vocabulary – at least when it comes to musical styles. For the past three decades the Denton, Texas based quintet has perfected a world music mix that includes salsa, meringue, rock, cumbia, conjunto, polka, zydeco, classical, cha cha, the blues and more. They are America’s Premier Dance band and a rollicking, rocking, rhythmic global journey -- offering what one critic recently wrote, “Even if you come for the party, you'll leave with something of a musical education.”
Keyboardist, guitarist, accordionist, and singer Carl Finch founded the band in 1979, releasing their first records on the band's own Four Dots Records. Alongside Finch for most of Brave Combo's 30 years has been multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Barnes, who joined in 1983. Barnes is known for his lively and imaginative stage wear, as well as playing an array of reeds and woodwinds, harmonica, pennywhistle, guitars, you name it, sometimes in multiple, simultaneous combinations. Rounding out the current line-up are trumpet player Danny O'Brien, drummer Alan Emert and Little Jack Melody on bass guitar.
Winner of 2 Grammy Awards with a total of 7 nominations, Brave Combo continues to tour extensively and is currently working on their next CD release.