Bill Evans Jazz Festival returns for its 21st anniversary


Austin O'Brien

Director of Jazz and Percussion Studies Michael Brothers directs the University Jazz Ensemble at the Nov. 4, 2021 concert in the Pottle Music Annex Band Hall.

The 21st Bill Evans Jazz Festival will take place April 6-9. 

The festival will feature student and faculty jazz performances, along with other schools in the area and guest vocalist Lisanne Lyons.

The daytime performances will be held in the Pottle Music Building and the evening performances are in the Columbia Theater for Performing Arts. Director of Jazz and Percussion Studies Michael Brothers has been planning these performances since last year’s festival, aiming for community involvement.

“One of the things I wanted to change was to make it much more of a community centered event other than just what we do on campus for the students. So putting the evening events in the Columbia just made perfect sense,” Brothers said.

An estimated 18 schools are attending this year, which is an increase compared to the 12 last year. He believes that this increase in participation is a good sign for the jazz program.

The festival will open with the Alumni Jazz Ensemble at 7:30 p.m on April 6. On April 7, regional student jazz groups will perform in the Pottle Auditorium from 2:15 to 6 p.m. SLU’s Advanced Jazz Combo and Lab Band will then perform at 7:30 p.m.

On Friday and Saturday, more schools will participate in the festival from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. SLU’s Jazz Faculty will perform with Lyons at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The University Jazz Ensemble will close off the festival with the guest artist at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Lyons specializes in multiple instruments but will be the first vocal artist to give a guest performance at the festival, according to Brothers. He is looking forward to performing with the Jazz Faculty and University Jazz Ensemble.

“I’m really excited to be performing at the festival and working with the students. This was supposed to happen two years ago and I’m looking forward to finally performing,” Lyons said.

Brothers is ready to work with Lyons and his students together, saying that Lyons is phenomenal at both singing and teaching, so it will be a great experience to have her as a guest.

Senior Chasidy Miller will be performing with the University Jazz Ensemble and participating in the festival. 

“I’m so excited to perform for the festival, as it’s my last one, ever. I’m graduating in May so I’m looking forward to this last month and a half, making memories and making music,” Miller said.

For more information on the festival and the participants, click here.