MURFREESBORO, TN — A group of MTSU’s finest student musicians will add their talents once again to Murfreesboro’s annual JazzFest, highlighting the 25th annual downtown musical celebration with a showcase performance on Saturday, May 7.  

The MTSU Jazz Ensemble I will perform at 1:30 p.m. May 7 on the stage near the historic Rutherford County Courthouse as part of the free daylong event on the city’s Public Square, which is sponsored by Main Street Murfreesboro.  

MTSU’s Jazz Ensemble I is the top performing student group in the School of Music’s Jazz Studies Program. The experienced student musicians focus on cutting-edge works and big-band repertoire alongside new compositions and arrangements of their own.  

The group most recently closed out the university’s annual Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival with an April 2 performance with acclaimed jazz trumpeter and educator Brian Lynch, a five-time Grammy nominee and two-time winner. That performance is available on video at https://youtu.be/X14wflxLNh4?t=44m28s. 

The ensemble’s JazzFest appearance may also give them a chance to reconnect with some of the same local high school musicians who participated in the daylong Jacquet Jazz Festival, where the younger musicians learn an individual focus on jazz and the art of jazz improvisation. 

Local high school and middle school bands are on the lineup for Murfreesboro’s JazzFest on Friday, May 6, and on May 7, respectively. 

This year’s MTSU Jazz Ensemble I performance may include excerpts from the Jazz Ensemble I’s 2021 CD, “The Middle Way,” which features jazz styles ranging from blues to big band to contemporary jazz with both instrumental and vocal performances. 

One of the 10 cuts on “The Middle Way,” recorded in 2019 and 2020 through a partnership with the MTSU jazz program and the Department of Recording Industry, is available at http://youtu.be/BY3GvRlf_48. 

For more information about the MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and the MTSU Jazz Studies Program, contact program director and School of Music professor Jamey Simmons at 615-898-2724 or james.simmons@mtsu.edu.  

Murfreesboro’s downtown JazzFest also will include games, an interactive “kid’s alley,” food trucks and a free interactive jazz workshop for music enthusiasts at 2 p.m. May 7. The complete JazzFest schedule is available at https://mainstreetmurfreesboro.org/jazzfest. 

For details on MTSU School of Music performances and events, call 615-898-2493 or visit http://www.mtsumusic.com and click on the “Concert Calendar” link.