Hayward jazz festival takes over campus

Hayward jazz festival takes over campus

Courtesy of Olga Lednichenko

Devon Hanna,

Renowned jazz saxophonist Brad Leali jammed side by side with Rhythm section combos and the Jazz Orchestra at Cal State East Bay’s 31st Annual Jazz Festival, a three-day event, held at the University Theater on campus earlier this month.

The festival kicked off on April 14 and featured Irvin Mayfield, Grammy and Billboard Award-winning New Orleans jazz trumpeter, as well as Leali, the former musical director and lead alto saxophonist for the Harry Connick Jr. Orchestra, who also received a Grammy for his solo work with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1999, according to the CSUEB Department of Music.

The music department received attention this year when graduate student Mario Silva took home a Grammy for his participation and trumpet playing on Morgan Heritage’s “Strictly Roots” record, which won Best Reggae Album of the Year in February.

East Bay’s own Dr. Mitch Butler, Director of Jazz Studies, is a former member of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra headed by Mayfield, the current Artistic Director. This will be Butler’s last quarter as Director of Jazz Studies at CSUEB.

On Friday, judges rated performances by high school and community college bands, who were given around 20-25 minutes to play a set before receiving critiques.  An interactive clinic followed the performances, where the judges would demonstrate the concepts that they wanted to convey to the bands, according to the Department of Music.

The festival also included a jazz master class, hosted by Leali and Mayfield on Thursday, a symposium Q-&-A Friday morning, and evening concerts on Thursday and Friday. A jam session hosted by the CSUEB Jazz Combos took place Saturday morning, and the event concluded with an afternoon concert later that day, where the CSUEB Faculty Jazztet played with Mayfield and Leali, according to the Department of Music.