MARQUETTE — An annual Jazz festival that brings music students and industry professionals together is returning to Northern Michigan University.

The NMU Jazz Festival is back this year featuring student musicians from NMU and local middle and high schools. An NMU Jazz Band Director says the Jazz Festival keeps people coming back because it has a lot to offer.

NMU Jazz Band Director Dr. Mark Flaherty says, “It is a unique American art form. The level of improvisation – that makes it very exciting for the performers. So it’s really neat event if you enjoy jazz, or if you just enjoy arts education in general. It’s really nice to come out and see a lot of students – middle schoolers, high schoolers, and of course the NMU students – playing with a great guest artist.”

This year’s guest artist is famed trombonist Michael Davis, who has worked with Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Tony Bennett, Jay Z and scores of others. Davis will lead clinics throughout the day Friday with student musicians and even perform along side them Friday night.

NMU Music Education Student Audra Hagan says, “Jazz Fest is an opportunity where other musicians from around the country who have such varied lives, and they’ve lived such cool musical experiences – they get to share that with us, so it’s just a really awesome experience.”

The event begins Thursday night with a performance featuring an NMU Student – Faculty Combo and the Marquette Senior High School Jazz Band.

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