UI’s Hampton jazz festival turns 50

February 17, 2017

The Lionel Hampton Festival of Jazz turns 50 this year.

To celebrate the festival is bringing in four-time Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding to headline the Feb. 25 finale concert.

Spalding, a native of Portland, was the first jazz performer to win the Grammy for Best New Artist, famously beating out Justin Bieber, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons, and Drake in 2011. A prodigy, Spalding began performing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon as a violinist at age 5. By her teen years, she had discovered the bass. At 20, she was teaching at the Berklee College of Music, and at 22 she released, with her trio, her debut album, “Junjo.”

Also on the program for Feb. 25 is Julia Keefe, the Spokane jazz singer who specialized in vintage jazz styles. She has performed the works of Mildred Bailey, and last year opened for Tony Bennett in Spokane, where she teaches at Gonzaga University.

Other performers include Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Rene Marie; the long-running, Grammy-winning vocal quartet New York Voices; Grammy-nominated vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris; clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen; vibraphonist Joseph Doubleday; Norwegian clarinetist Felix Peikli; the Brazilian trumpeter and Grammy nominee Claudio Roditi; pianist Jason Marsalis, the youngest of the Marsalis siblings; and Washington-born bassist John Hamar.

For more information on the festival, visit www.uidaho.edu/class/jazzfest.