Artists: Jazz

Showcasing premiere Jazz artists is a long-standing tradition at the ITF, and we are excited to feature a diverse program of performers from across the jazz scene, sharing the stage with some ITF favorites.

This year, our Friday night concert is a tribute to the great JJ Johnson, with featured soloists, Elliot Mason, Vince Gardner, Ryan Keberle, and Tony Baker, backed by an all-star sextet of Eastman School of Music Alumnae: Nick Finzer, Tim Albright, Mark Kellogg, Jim Martin (bass), Catie Hickey, and (Festival Host) Chris Van Hof.  BSU faculty members Cassious Goens III (drums), Scott Routenberg (piano), and Nick Tucker (bass) will step in as the rhythm section for this amazing concert!

English-born trombonist and bass trumpeter Elliot Mason began playing at the age of four, and was already winning awards (The National Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Soloist) by the age 15.  He also won the ITA’s Frank Rosolino Competition, and was a recipient of the Slide Hampton Award at Berklee.  Mason has performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, directed by Wynton Marsalis, since 2007, and recently released his first solo album, Before, Now & After. 

Vincent Gardner has performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Harry Connick, Jr., the Saturday Night Live Band, Chaka Khan, A Tribe Called Quest, and Lauryn Hill, and is also a current member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (since 2000).  He is also active as a composer and arranger.  In 2009, he composed “The Jesse B. Semple Suite,” a 60-minute tribute to the short stories of Langston Hughes, which was both commissioned and featured by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Gardner has five solo recordings, released through Steeplechase Records.

Professor of Trombone at the University of North Texas, Tony Baker is known internationally as a soloist in both jazz and classical styles.  Tony has performed with the Woody Herman Band and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and has shared the stage with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Steve Turre, Terry Gibbs, and John Fedchock.  Well-known to ITF audiences, Tony has been featured at Festivals in Nashville (2001), and Finland (2003), and was the Festival Host (at UNT) in 2002. Be sure to also enjoy Tony’s solo classical recital as a featured Artist elsewhere on the ITF program!

Currently active in New York, Ryan Keberle has enjoyed a multi-style, dynamic career, performing in a diversity of styles, including collaborations with jazz greats such as Maria Schneider and Wynton Marsalis, hip-hop superstars like Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys, and Latin-jazz hitters like Pedro Giraudo and Ivan Lins.  In addition, he has pursued numerous solo projects, many of which explore innovative concepts, such as his “double quartet,” featuring a traditional jazz rhythm section together with a brass quintet.

Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm, with John Fedchock, Nate Mayland, and Alan Ferber

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Jen Wharton’s Bonegasm

Defined as a “climax of musical excitement, characterized by feelings of pleasure centered in the ears and experienced as an accompaniment to hearing a group of trombone players,” Broadway bass trombonist Jennifer Wharton’s upcoming project, Bonegasm, speaks to her “mission to bring peace, love, and trombone to the unsuspecting masses.”

The quartet of NYC top-call trombonists will be backed up by the top-notch jazz rhythm section faculty from host institution Ball State University: Scott Routenberg (piano), Nick Tucker (bass), and Cassius Goens III (drums). Bonegasm will feature music by Sara Jacovino, Edward Perez, John Fedchock, Alan Ferber and Jim McNeely.

What is Bonegasm?  Check out this sample track from their debut album, released February 2019!

Avenico Nuñez presents El Mundo de Salsa

Avenicio Nuñez

Panamanian trombonist Avenico (Veni) Nuñez is a leader in the trombone community of Panamá. Besides teaching at the Youth Music School INAC in Panama City, he is the founder and leader of the Taller de Trombones Panamá, a yearly trombone festival featuring international faculty, the first workshop of its kind in Panamá. He is a trombonist in La Banda Republicana in Panama City, and for many years, Veni has also performed as trombonist in La Orquesta Roberto Delgado, the premiere Latin music ensemble of Central America, and the band that regularly backs up Grammy-winning International Salsa superstar (and actor on “Fear the Walking Dead”) Rubén Blades.

The trombone has always played a central role in Salsa music, and Veni’s performance will feature a variety of music all under the banner of salsa: salsa dura, salsa sensual, conjunto, cha cha, and more. Joined by BSU’s faculty rhythm section, some fellow ITF Artist performers, and the top Latin percussionists from the Indianapolis music scene, this presentation will be top-flight, informative, and could very well just turn into a dance party!

Mark Hetzler with Mr. Chair

Based in Madison, WI, Mr. Chair is a multi-genre group that plays a mix of rock, jazz, modern classical and contemporary improv-based styles.

Trombonist Mark Hetzler holds degrees in music from Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Trained as a classical musician, Mark spent 16 seasons as the trombonist of the Empire Brass Quintet, a world renown brass chamber ensemble. He has released twelve solo recordings on the Summit record label, featuring classical works, avante-garde, modern and electro-acoustic music, and his own original compositions.  Mark’s lifelong fascination with rock and jazz styles eventually found its way into his curiosity for music technology and has led him to use his electro-acoustic skills in many classical, non-classical and improvised settings. Out of this interest, Mr. Chair was born. Joining a group of friends whose musical skills are varied and impressive, Mark helped form The Mr. Chair Quartet in 2016, and has been helping the group to forge a path into a place where classical, rock and jazz styles merge. When he isn’t writing and arranging tunes or exploring performance opportunities for the MC Quartet, Mark is teaching music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is the Professor of Trombone and a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet.

Visit his website here: www.markhetzler.com

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Mr. Chair: Mark Hetzler (trombone), Mike Koszewski (drums), Ben Ferris (bass), Jason Kutz (keyboards)

AND, everyone’s favorite ITF event:

LATE NIGHT JAZZ!

We are excited to keep up the tradition of the late night ITF hang!  This year, we’ll be at Muncie’s Guardian Brewery, and we’re told they’ll be cooking up a special, Trombone Festival exclusive brew especially for this event!

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Ball State Jazz Faculty Freddie Mendoza will be on hand as our host and MC!  Stay tuned for details!

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Freddie Mendoza

See you in Muncie!

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