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Guest artist Stefon Harris headlines jazz festival

March 3, 2005

KALAMAZOO--The 26th annual Western Invitational Jazz Festival will run all day Saturday, March 11, culminating with a closing concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University.

The closing concert will feature an outstanding high school big band, an outstanding high school combo and the WMU Jazz Orchestra with guest artist Stefon Harris. Admission is $10. General admission tickets will be on sale at the door and are also available in advance through the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at (269) 387-2300 or toll-free (800) 228-9858.

Activities earlier in the day, include high school bands and combos performing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall and Lecture Hall, followed by clinics and master classes. The daytime performances are free and open to the public.

Harris also will perform with the Western Jazz Quartet at 8 p.m. Friday, March 10, in the Dalton Recital Hall. General admission tickets for Friday's concert are $25. Students will be admitted for $5.

Stefon Harris is heralded by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the most important young artists in jazz." A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical music and a Master of Arts in jazz performance. Stefon is a recipient of the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and has earned three Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Album including "The Grand Unification Theory" (2003), the 2001 release of "Kindred," and his 1999 release of "Black Action Figure" for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.

North Sea Jazz of the Netherlands named Harris for the prestigious International 2002 Bird Award for Artist Deserving Wider Recognition. He has been voted Best Mallet Player by the Jazz Journalist Association (2000-2004), Debut Artist of the Year by Jazztimes, Downbeat's Critics Poll Winner for Vibraphone and Rising Star-Vibraphone (2003), Newsweek's Best Jazz CD, Best New Talent and 1999-2000 Readers Poll Best Vibraphonist by Jazzis Magazine, and Chicago Tribune's Debut of the Year.

Harris' appearance at WMU is made possible, in part, through the generosity of Fontana Chamber Arts.

For more information about the Western Invitational Jazz Festival, contact Trent Kynaston, WMU professor of music, at trent.kynaston@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4693.

Related story
Stefon Harris performs with Western Jazz Quartet

Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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