The 15th annual Baker University Invitational Jazz Festival, featuring the Baker Jazz Ensemble, is this week in Baldwin City.
A concert is planned for 7:30 p.m. Thursday and a day-long competition will take place on Friday in Rice Auditorium on the Baker campus. Both events are free and open to the public.
The Thursday concert will feature the Jazz Ensemble with guest artist Ken Watters, a trumpeter from Huntsville, Ala. J.D. Parr, professor of music, will direct the concert.
On Friday, Watters and four professional jazz musicians from the Kansas City area will adjudicate 18 high school bands, which will receive a rating from the judges and a clinic conducted by one of the jazz artists. Outstanding soloists and one “Exemplary Performer” award winner will be announced after the competition.
Watters, who studied jazz at the University of North Texas and the Manhattan School of Music, has also worked privately with Wynton Marsalis and Joe Lovano. He placed first in the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition, has received numerous Downbeat Magazine Music Awards, and has performed, recorded or toured with celebrities such as Carlos Santana, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Gregg Allman and Harry Connick Jr.