Jazz Festival

Gadsden State Jazz Festival 2021

The Gadsden State Jazz Festival returns to Etowah County after a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival will be Nov. 4-5, 2021. It is a free event for those who play jazz and those who love to listen to jazz. The theme for the third Jazz Festival is "Celebrating Jazz in Alabama" and features some of the greatest jazz musicians in the country.

The Jazz Festival is hosted by the Division of Fine arts and Music Department and is held in cooperation with the Jazz Network. It includes clinics, regional jazz ensemble performances, concerts featuring renowned artists and after-party jam sessions.

Here's a look at the line-up for the 2021 Jazz Festival:

Thursday, Nov. 4

All performances at Gadsden City High School Theater

  • 11 a.m. – Tim Leahey and Dr. Michael Pendowski Clinic
  • 11:40 a.m. – Jacksonville High School Jazz Ensemble
  • 12:10 p.m. – Lunch Break
  • 1 p.m. – Greg Gisbert Clinic
  • 2 p.m. – University of Alabama at Birmingham Jazz Combo
  • 2:40 p.m. – Jacksonville State University Jazz Ensemble I
  • 3:20 p.m. – Five Points Jazz Quintet
  • 4 p.m. – Wallace State Community College Jazz Ensemble
  • 4:35 p.m. – Big Band Theory
  • 5 p.m. – Dinner Break
  • 7 p.m. – Main Event Concert
  • “Musicians’ Hang” following concert at Back Forty Beer Co.

Friday, Nov. 5

Performance will be in the Downtown Civic Center unless otherwise noted*

  • 11 a.m. – Birmingham-Southern College Jazz Ensemble
  • 11:40 a.m. – Creative Soul
  • 12:30 p.m. – Julio Barreto, jazz pianist
  • 1 p.m. – Sherman Irby Clinic
  • 2:10 p.m. – Gadsden State Brass Band
  • 2:50 p.m. – University of Montevallo Jazz Ensemble
  • 3:30 p.m. – Myles Probus, pianist and Gadsden State graduate
  • 5 p.m. – Oracle Blue Band
  • 6 p.m. – Dinner Break
  • 7 p.m. – Finale Concert (Gadsden State Show Band, Sherman Irby, Greg Gisbert and Alabama Jazz Orchestra) at Gadsden City High School Theater*

*After Party Jam Session following concert at Back Forty Beer Co.




Adam Rapa – trumpeter, composer, producer and educator. The Boston native performed in the hit Broadway show, “Blast!” and has performed over 2,000 shows across North America, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Adam Booker – assistant music professor at Appalachian State University. A proud veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served as a bassist for the U.S. Navy Band in New Orleans until the end of his enlistment. He is a past member of the Hot Club of New Orleans, the Rob Block Quintet and the Devin Phillips Quintet.

Dr. Jonathan Campbell – director of jazz studies and professor of saxophone at the University of Minnesota. A winner of two DownBeat Magazine awards, he received a Doctoral of Arts in Jazz Studies from the University of North Colorado.

  • Jacksonville State University Latin Ensemble
  • JSU Jazz I
  • JSU Jazz II
  • Myles Probus Trio
  • Wallace State Community College
  • University of Montevallo
  • JSU Faculty Combo
  • The University of Alabama
  • Kings of Swing


Jason Marsalis

Jason Marsalis – member of New Orleans’ first family of jazz, including father, Eillis and siblings Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. He is a percussionist who studied at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and Loyola University. He currently teaches at NOCCA and has an album, “In a World of Mallets,” that went to No. 1 on the CMJ Radio Charts and won Best Contemporary Album from Offbeat Magazine.

Bria Skonberg – trumpet player, singer and songwriter based in New York City. She has been recognized by DownBeat Magazine as one of 25 for the Future. She signed to Sony Music Masterworks’ OKeh Records in 2016 and released her self-titled debut album, which won a Canadian JUNO Award and made the Top 5 on the Billboard jazz charts.

Bria Skonberg

Jeffery Miller

Jeffery Miller – New Orleans-bred trombonist and vocalist who attended the famed Julliard School on a full scholarship. He has performed on the stages of the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. He has played the trombone in the band at the Grammy Awards show. He has been honored with the Young Arts Merit Award, the ASCAP Louis Prima Award and the Artist as Citizen Award at the Julliard School.



  • Wallace State Community College
  • University of Montevallo
  • JSU Jazz I
  • JSU Jazz II
  • Shelton State Community College
  • UAB Jazz Ensemble
  • Kings of Swing
  • Big Band Theory (Haralson County Community Big Band)


  • Wallace State Community College
  • Birmingham Southern College
  • JSU Jazz I
  • University of Montevallo Jazz Ensemble
  • UAH Jazz Ensemble
  • UAB Jazz Ensemble
  • Kings of Swing
  • Big Band Theory (Haralson County Community Big Band)