TCU Jazz Festival celebrates 40 years

Jazz is a type of music characterized by improvisation, modification and a powerful rhythm. Regularly featuring brass and woodwind instruments as well as piano, the genre is said to be the best music to represent America as “there is no better example of democracy: individual freedom but with a responsibility to the group.” In other words, musicians can express themselves and their instruments as long as they keep to the overall framework of the tune.

Forty years ago, the TCU School of Music launched its annual jazz festival to encourage music education and promote the jazz studies program among high school students. To date, the festival has attracted more than 20,000 players and grown to become the largest such event in the Southwest.

This year, more than 31 outstanding high school and middle school jazz ensembles will participate in the festival and Curt Wilson, the festival’s founder, will be honored.

John Fedchock

“Jazz education has evolved considerably over the past 40-50 years and is now a component in almost every college music curriculum,” said Joe Eckert, director of jazz studies at TCU. “Our students have the opportunity to perform in big bands and student-led combos as well as participate in jazz-related courses, including jazz arranging, jazz improvisation and jazz history.

“TCU’s program is robust, exposing students to the genre and allowing them to practice their craft with notable jazz professionals, including this year’s guest artist John Fedchock, trombonist, composer and two-time Grammy-nominated arranger.”

All events are open to the public. The schedule for the 40th annual TCU Jazz Festival is as follows:

March 24 – TCU Jazz Faculty Combo

7:30 p.m.

Ed Landreth Auditorium

March 25 – Master class with John Fedchock


Ed Landreth Auditorium

March 25 – TCU Jazz Ensembles

7:30 p.m.

Ed Landreth Auditorium

To purchase tickets, visit