• 2020 Festival Line-Up


  • Wycliffe Gordon

    Wycliffe Gordon
    Friday, April 24, 2020
    7:30pm – MHCC College Theatre
    Click here for Tickets

    Wycliffe Gordon experiences an impressive career touring the world performing to great acclaim from audiences and critics alike.

    Jazz Journalists Association named him “2019 Trombonist of the Year” for the 12th time, and Downbeat Critics Poll named Wycliffe “Best Trombone” again for 2018 (2018, 2016, 2014, 2013 & 2012). In 2018, Wycliffe received the “Louie Award” honoring his dedication and commitment to the music of Louis Armstrong, and received the International Trombone Association Award in 2017, which recognizes the highest level of creative and artistic achievement. In 2015, Wycliffe was presented the Satchmo award from the Sarasota Jazz Club, received the Louis Armstrong Memorial Prize presented by the Swing Jazz Culture Foundation, and was named Artist of the Year (2015) by the Augusta Arts Council. He is also a past recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Vanguard Award, among others.

    In addition to an extremely successful solo career, Gordon tours regularly leading his quintet known as Wycliffe Gordon and His International All-Stars, headlining at legendary jazz venues and performing arts centers throughout the world. He is commissioned frequently, and has an extensive catalog of original compositions that span the various timbres of jazz and chamber music. Musicians and ensembles of every caliber perform his music throughout the world and his arrangement of the theme song to NPR’s “All Things Considered” is heard daily across the globe. Gordon is a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and has been a featured guest artist on Billy Taylor's "Jazz at the Kennedy Center" Series.

    Gordon is also one of Americaʼs most persuasive and committed music educators; he is Visiting Artist in Jazz Studies at the Arizona State University in Phoenix, and is Director of Jazz Studies at Augusta University in Augusta, GA. Wycliffe Gordon is a Yamaha Performing Artist and has his own line of Wycliffe Gordon Pro Signature Mouthpieces by Pickett Brass. Visit www.wycliffegordon.com.

    Ben Wendel

    Ben Wendel
    Saturday, April 25, 2020
    7:30pm – MHCC College Theatre
    Click here for Tickets

    Grammy nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Los Angeles. Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer and producer. Highlights include tours, performances and/or recordings with artists such as Tigran Hamasyan, Antonio Sanchez, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, Taylor Eigsti, Linda May Han Oh, Moonchild, Louis Cole, Daedelus, Snoop Dogg and the artist formerly known as Prince. Ben is a founding member of the Grammy nominated group Kneebody.

    As a composer, he has received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, the 2008, 2011 and 2017 Chamber Music America “New Works Grant” and was awarded the Victor Lynch-Staunton award by the Canada Council For The Arts. He also co-wrote the score for John Krasinski's adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men."

    Ben was honored to work with conductor Kent Nagano in producing a series of concerts for the Festspiel Plus in Munich, Germany. From 2008 to 2015, he produced a multi-genre performance series at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. During that time he was appointed the head of their Jazz and Blues initiative, which included producing and expanding performance opportunities for these genres in Los Angeles. As part of this appointment, Ben helped to create an artistic council which included such luminaries as Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert and Luciana Souza. Ben’s producer work includes the Grammy nominated album "Life Forum" for pianist Gerald Clayton on Concord Records.

    Ben has recorded for Sunnyside Records, Motéma Music, Concord Records and Brainfeeder, with four solo albums under his belt, Simple Song (2009), Frame (2012), What We Bring (2016) and The Seasons (2018), a duo project with French-American pianist Dan Tepfer entitled Small Constructions (2013) and multiple Kneebody albums. His critically acclaimed music video project The Seasons, inspired by Tchaikovsky’s works of the same name, was released throughout 2015 and included guests such as Joshua Redman, Jeff Ballard, Mark Turner, Julian Lage, Ambrose Akinmusire and more. It was listed as one of the best releases of 2015 by the NY Times.

    Ben is a former Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at USC and a current Adjunct at the New School in NYC. Educational outreach has been a constant in his career with over 250 masterclasses at various colleges, universities, high-schools and also previous work with the LA Philharmonic Artist Program.