If you know someone who says they don’t like jazz, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival could prove to them they actually do.Now in its 49th year, the festival is a deep exploration of the genre that was the popular music of the 1930s and ‘40s. This year’s artists showcase its reach into funk, soul, rock, swing, reggae, Afro-Cuban music and more.
It’s the chance to see “jazz language” in other styles of music, said Steve Remington, executive director of the festival.
Wednesday through Feb. 27 the festival offers free workshops, discussions and evening concerts. Around 3,800 students are expected to visit Moscow from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Alaska, California and Canada, Remington said. Festival events are also open to the public.
It’s not just about music. Workshops include an introduction to Krumping, a new form of street dancing.
“What is Living in My Instrument,” explains why those who play wind instruments are at greater risk of chronic sore throats. Another probes the science of sound with experiments with sound waves.
The festival is an opportunity to showcase the university and show high school students the interesting possibilities of college, Remington said, which is important because Idaho has one of the lowest rates of students going on to college in the nation.
Planning is already underway for the festival’s 50th anniversary next year, Remington said. “Exciting things on the horizon. People are going to see a difference in execution and probably depth and breadth.”
This Year’s Headliners
The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies are among dozens of headlining, jazz-infused artists headed to the 2016 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.
Musicians visiting UI’s four-day festival include perennial favorites like Dee Daniels, who has been at the festival more than 20 times; Ignacio Berroa, who has been called one of the greatest drummers of modern times; and Tower of Power, returning after an appearance in 2012.
Rolling Stone once called Cherry Poppin’ Daddies one of the most misunderstood bands of the 1990s. The ska-punk band led by singer/songwriter Steve Perry hit the American mainstream with the single “Zoot Suit Riot” in 1997 as part of a swing revival. The song was written in the musical style of 1940s jump blues. Surging banjo, organic acoustics and period instruments drive the sound of the group’s new album, “The Boop-A-Doo,” which channels its swing influences with songs that could have originated at the Cotton Club during the Prohibition era. The band will speak at a panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the University of Idaho Administration Building auditorium and perform that night at the Kibbie Dome.
What: Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival
When: Wednesday, Feb. 24 – Saturday, Feb. 27
Where: University of Idaho, Moscow
Cost: Workshops are free. Evening concerts are $7-$50. Tickets at the University Ticket Office, (888) 8-UIDAHO or online.
A complete schedule of events can be found at www.uidaho.edu/class/jazzfest.