Saxophone player Dick Oatts and trumpet player Steve Wright, Iowa natives who have made their mark in the jazz world, will perform during the 47th annual Morningside College Jazz Festival Feb. 6-8 in Eppley Auditorium.
Saxophone player Dick Oatts and trumpet player Steve Wright, Iowa natives who have made their mark in the jazz world, will perform during the 47th annual Morningside College Jazz Festival Feb. 6-8 in Eppley Auditorium, 3625 Garretson Ave.
Oatts and Wright will perform with the Morningside College Jazz Ensemble at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, in Eppley Auditorium. Doors to Eppley open at 6:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. Erik Mahon, director of jazz studies at Morningside College, is the festival director.
Oatts is a professor of jazz studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. He also serves as artistic director and lead alto saxophone of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in New York, which he joined in 1977 when it was the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. Raised in a musical family, Oatts studied at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, before becoming a professional musician. He has played with some of the biggest names in jazz over the past several decades, including Bob Brookmeyer, Jon Faddis, Tito Puente and Gunther Schuller.
A native of Burlington, Iowa, Wright is professor emeritus of music at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., where he taught trumpet, jazz and arranging for 24 years. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Wright joined the U.S. Air Force’s premier jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note, as lead trumpet, as well as arranger. After completing his service, Wright moved to the Twin Cities, where he lives today. He has played lead trumpet for Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr. and Johnny Mathis, among a list of other notables.
During the day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, nearly 40 jazz bands from high schools in Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska will each perform a 20-minute set and participate in a clinic with Oatts or Wright. These sessions are free and open to the public.