Marcus Roberts and Modern Jazz Generation to headline Carolina Jazz Festival

Increase font size
Decrease font size

For immediate use




Marcus Roberts and Modern Jazz Generation to headline Carolina Jazz Festival


Celebration of jazz on Carolina’s campus Feb. 15-18 marks 40th festival for founder, music professor and director of jazz studies Jim Ketch


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Feb. 1, 2017) – Marcus Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation will headline the 40th annual Carolina Jazz Festival at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Feb. 15-18. The festival promotes a broad range of programming spanning performance, education and scholarship.


Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation will perform Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Hall. A jazz pianist/composer, Roberts rose to prominence with the Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center bands, then with his own trio and as a classical soloist. Best known for his entirely new approach to jazz trio performance, his critically acclaimed legacy of recorded music reflects his tremendous versatility as an artist.


In 2014, Jazziz Magazine wrote: “In the course of a single piece, [Roberts] constantly modulates grooves, tempos and keys, plays separate time signatures with the right hand and the left, and, as he puts it, ‘flips around the roles of the piano, bass and drums …’”


For 40 years, festival founder and director Jim Ketch, a music professor and director of jazz studies, has brought his passion and love for jazz to the Carolina campus and community.


“What has happened over the years is that the festival has evolved from a department of music event to a university event,” Ketch said. “In 40 years, many of the world’s most talented jazz artists have graced our stage. We also created an artist-in-residence program that brings talent jazz artists and educators to work very closely with jazz students. Our students have been inspired by these generous and gifted artists, but so, too, has the jazz faculty.”


The festival will feature additional performances and workshops by the UNC Jazz Band, UNC Faculty Jazz Ensemble, UNC Jazz combos, Charanga Carolina and Dayna Stephens, a tenor saxophonist and composer who is the artist-in-residence. Many of the events are free.


The Carolina Jazz Festival also links UNC-Chapel Hill to the educational wing of Jazz at Lincoln Center. For 12 years, the festival has featured the North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival, which has engaged student participation from high school bands from North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., and New Jersey in performances and clinics. This year’s high school jazz festival is Feb. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Hill Hall and the Kenan Music Building.


Full details about Carolina Jazz Festival are available here or call the music department in the College of Arts and Sciences at (919) 962-1039.


For tickets, contact the Memorial Hall box office at (919) 843-3333 or visit the Carolina Performing Arts website.






About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093,

University Communications contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090,