Jazz Festival

The Gadsden State Jazz Festival is a free event for those who play jazz and those who love to listen to jazz. The 2019 event is scheduled for Nov. 7 at the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center. The theme for the third annual event is “Celebrating Women in Jazz” and will feature some of the greatest female jazz musicians in the country.

“We are so excited about the caliber of the performers we are able to secure each year for the festival,” said Dr. Matt Leder, music director and instructor at Gadsden State. “We attract some of the best talent around.”

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

Here's a look at the line-up for the 2019 Jazz Festival and the festival schedule:


  • 10:50 a.m. – Wallace State Community College
  • 11:30 a.m. – Birmingham Southern College
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch break
  • 1 p.m. – Guest Artists Clinic
  • 2:10 p.m. – JSU Jazz I
  • 2:50 p.m. – University of Montevallo Jazz Ensemble
  • 3:30 p.m. – UAH Jazz Ensemble
  • 4:10 p.m. – UAB Jazz Ensemble
  • 4:50 p.m. – Kings of Swing
  • 5:30 p.m. – Big Band Theory (Haralson County Community Big Band)
  • 7 p.m. - Finale concert featuring the Gadsden State Show Band and guest artists

The finale concert featuring the Gadsden State Show Band and guest artists will begin at 7 p.m. at Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center. The band will be directed by Leder in the performance of such jazz tunes as Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing,” Maynard Ferguson’s “FireShaker” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia.”

An after-party jam session will be held right after the concert at Blackstone Pub & Eatery. There will be no cover charge. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and sit in.


Jazz Fest

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)