January 31 - February 01, 2019

Jazz Outreach Initiative, in co-sponsorship with Jazz at Lincoln Center and UNLV School of Music, presented the 2019 Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival hosted on the UNLV campus. This festival licensed by Jazz at Lincoln Center is the largest annual Essentially Ellington Festival in the nation.

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January 31 and February 1, 2020

The 3rd Annual Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival will be held January 31 and February 1, 2020, at UNLV in Artemus Ham Concert Hall. The festival is co-hosted by JOI in partnership with the UNLV School of Music, Division of Jazz and Commercial Music and licensed by Jazz at Lincoln Center. This festival is a non-competitive, education-focused two-day event designed to offer high school jazz bands of all levels the opportunity to perform the music of Duke Ellington and other big band composers and arrangers.   Participating bands from southern Nevada and across the southwest USA receive professional feedback from JALC clinicians and other jazz professionals.

The Essentially Ellington Festival is focused primarily on the perpetuation of jazz in the schools,

promoting jazz a truly American art form. 

This year’s program will feature jazz artist and the Ellington Festival Artistic Director Kenny Rampton.  Kenny Rampton is a UNLV alumnus, acclaimed trumpeter and member of The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis.  Guests clinicians from JALC Jerome Jennings and Christopher Dorsey will be present along with Julius Tolentino, legendary drummer Butch Miles, and others. 


The Las Vegas Regional Essentially Ellington is the largest in the nation and this year will again grow to 25-28 bands.

On Friday evening, January 31,UNLV will host a special Directors Dinner at UNLV for clinicians and educators featuring keynote speakers Todd Stoll (Vice President of Education for JALC and President of JEN) and famed jazz educator and master alto saxophonist Julius Tolentino. In addition, a wonderful jam session for students will be held with amazing jazz artists  on the same evening. Informative master classes and inspiring clinics will also be offered both days by world-class jazz artists and educators.


On Saturday evening, February 1, immediately following the awards ceremony, which will recognize outstanding soloists, sections, and many other notable performances, the award-winning UNLV Jazz Ensemble I (Directed by Prof. Dave Loeb, UNLV Division of Jazz and Commercial Music) will perform in concert with special guest artists including legendary Count Basie drummer Butch Miles, Aaron Turner, Michelle Johnson, Julius Tolentino, Don Cunningham, and Kenny Rampton as well as featured outstanding student soloists!  This finale concert will climax with a resounding performance by UNLV Jazz Ensemble 1, the Las Vegas Master Singers (David Weiller, Dir,) and special guest artists in selections from Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts.