By Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing
TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University will host a day of jazz Saturday with performances by 21 middle and high school jazz bands; the ISU Jazz Ensemble and guest artist Eric Alexander.
Alexander started out on piano as a 6-year-old, took up clarinet at 9, switched to alto sax when he was 12, and converted to tenor sax when jazz became his obsession during his one year at Indiana University.
During the 1990s, after placing second behind Joshua Redman in the 1991 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, Alexander threw himself into the whirlwind life of a professional jazz musician. He played with organ trios on the South Side of Chicago, made his recording debut in 1991 with Charles Earland on Muse Records, and cut his first album as leader in 1992 (Straight Up for Delmark). More recordings followed for numerous labels, including Milestone and others, leading to 1997’s Man with a Horn; the 1998 collaborative quartet session with George Mraz, John Hicks, and Idris Muhammad, Solid!; and, that same year, the first recording by One For All, Alexander’s ongoing band with Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, Joe Farnsworth, Peter Washington, and Dave Hazeltine.
In 2004, Alexander signed an exclusive contract with the New York-based independent jazz label, HighNote Records where he has amassed a considerable discography of critically-acclaimed recordings. He continues to tour the world over to capacity audiences.
The Jazz Festival will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. as groups take the stage in Tilson Auditorium and the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Room 159 and in the Recital Hall. Bands and combos from Terre Haute, Bloomington, Edgewood, and Robinson, Ill.; are scheduled to participate.
In addition to performances by the schools throughout the day, there will be a musical exhibits and a student jam session during lunch. Alexander will conduct a masterclass and perform at noon in Tilson Auditorium. The event will conclude with a 6:30 p.m. grand finale concert featuring Alexander and the ISU Jazz Ensemble, and awards ceremony.
All events are free and open to the public. The festival is organized by the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia professional music fraternity. For more information, call the department of music at (812) 237-2771.