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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Christian McBride, Insight Straight to headline jazz festival


Grammy Award-winning bassist Christian McBride and the Inside Straight band will headline the Carolina Jazz Festival, to be held Feb. 23-25.

Saxophonist Steve Wilson, a member of Inside Straight, will be the artist in residence for the 35th annual festival. This year’s festival, themed “Jazz: In Sound and Image,” also features a roving photography exhibit.

Workshops, concerts and late-night jams during the festival will showcase the guest artists, UNC Jazz Band, UNC Jazz Combos and Charanga Carolina.

The Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Festival, presented in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center, will return for its seventh year. High school and middle school bands from North Carolina and Virginia will come to the FPG Student Union on Feb. 23 for a day of performances and clinics.


“Bassist Christian McBride is one of our nation’s great cultural and artistic ambassadors,” said Jim Ketch, festival director and music professor and director of jazz studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. “He is a tireless advocate for jazz, jazz education, and the arts in our schools. His music is rooted in the jazz tradition, yet it’s fresh and new.”

Steve Wilson is highly respected for his saxophone artistry, musicianship and wide-ranging experience in all facets of the music, Ketch said. “His passion for jazz education and young people makes him one of the most outstanding artists we have ever invited to the Carolina Jazz Festival.”

Major performances include:


McBride has performed and recorded with jazz artists McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis and Joshua Redman, as well as with hip-hop, soul, pop and classical artists such as Sting and soprano Kathleen Battle. He is former creative chair for jazz at the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Wilson has played on more than 100 recordings with artists such as Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, Joe Henderson and Charlie Byrd, and has produced seven recordings under his own name.

In conjunction with the festival, a roving art exhibit by Durham photographer Steven Bromberg, “Portraits of Carolina Jazz,” will feature photographs of Carolina jazz faculty, students and guest artists (some of his photos are shown above). Jazz will be performed at exhibit openings. Exhibits will be through March 2 at the FPG Student Union gallery and through March 26 at the Ackland Art Museum study gallery. Additional photos will be on display in the lobbies of festival performance venues, including Kenan Music Building and Memorial Hall.

For a schedule and additional information, see or call 962-1039. For tickets, contact the Memorial Hall Box Office at, 843-3333 or online at