Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival

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This Festival will be non-competitive in nature, offering positive, learning-based experiences for young jazz ensembles

jazz festival

It is my pleasure to announce that the 42nd annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival will be held on the UMD campus, Friday and Saturday, March 6th and 7th, 2015.


$200 registration fee for each ensemble

tom harrell


Friday, March 6th

Born in Urbana Illinois and raised in Los Altos, California, Harrell studied music composition at Stanford University. After playing with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, he moved to NY in the early 1970s to join the quintet of Horace Silver, with whom he made fivealbums. He's been based in NY since but is often on the road, performing to audiences world-wide. His musical associations includethose with Sam Jones (with whom he co-led a big band in the late 70s), Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods, Charlie Haden, ArtFarmer, Joe Lovano, Jane Monheit, Kathleen Battle, and Sheila Jordan, Philip Catherine, and Jim Hall. Over the course of his career, he's led his own trios, quartets, quintets, big bands, chamber orchestras and ensembles.

Harrell all but transcends musical labels. He's a jazz trumpeter known for his burnished tone and lyrical improvisational style but hismusic runs the gamut from the modal and melodic to uncommon modernisms that sonically broach the film soundtrack and/or theavant-garde. Never content to stay the course, he continues to explore and expand his musical vision with each new project. Colors of a Dream is in fact one of three projects he recorded in 2013, along with yet-to-be-released albums, Trip (with Mark Turner, Ugonna Okegwo and Adam Cruz) and First Impressions, a chamber ensemble recording for which he wrote arrangements of works by Debussy and Ravel. For almost 50 years, he has steadily created new music, building a formidable body of work. Harrell's discography is a mile long; he's made over 270 recordings, won Down Beat and JazzTimes polls many times over and has been nominated for numerousGrammy awards. His compositions are much in demand; among the many artists who've recorded or performed his work include CarlosSantana, Cold Blood, Azteca, Vince Guaraldi, Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, TheVanguard Jazz Orchestra, Danish Radio Big Band, Germany's WDR Big Band, Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Amsterdam's Metropole Jazz Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine and Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. 




Saturday, March 7th 

Paul McKee, newly appointed Associate Professor of Jazz Trombone and Arranging/Composition at the University of Colorado at Boulder, received a BME from the University of Northern Iowa and an MM in Composition form the University of Texas at Austin. In 1984 he joined Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd and appeared on several Grammy-nominated recordings. Over the years Paul has served on the jazz faculty at schools including DePaul University, Youngstown State University, Northern Illinois University, the University of Missouri at Kansas City and Florida State University. Paul maintains a busy schedule as a clinician and guest artist, and his arrangements and compositions have been performed and recorded by professional and academic jazz ensembles worldwide.  His recording Gallery was released to critical acclaim and features performances by Carl Fontana, Bobby Shew, Tim Ries and Ron Stout. Paul recently appeared on the recording Back When It Was Fun with 7 on 7, a group comprised of musician/educators from colleges across the nation. Additional recent recordings include big band projects by Dan Gailey (University of Kansas) and Steve Owen (University of Oregon). Paul is a clinician for the Conn-Selmer company and plays King trombones exclusively.


**Tickets to the Friday evening concert are very limited. There are 150 tickets that will be held for jazz festival groups until February 1st. These tickets must be purchased through the UMD Box Office 218.726.8877 or online here.

Friday, March 6, 2015 | 7:30 pm
Tom Harrell Trio 
Weber Music Hall
Ticket price: Adults $20 | Senior Adults (62+) $15 | Students $5

Saturday, March 7th, | 5 pm 
Paul McKee, UMD Jazz, and the UMD Jazz Festival All Stars
Marshall Performing Arts Center
Ticket price: Adults $15 | Senior Adults (62+) $10 |  Students $7 | UMD Student $5

The Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival will also include:

  • Performances by UMD Jazz Ensembles

  • 40 minutes of individualized time for your ensemble. Most ensembles perform for about twenty minutes and are then critiqued by two clinicians for another twenty minutes.

  • Adjudicators. Including leading jazz educators from colleges across the country to adjudicate and clinic your ensembles and directors. Recent Adjudicators have included: Billy Taylor, Gene Aitken (UNC), Bob Kase (UWSP), Tom Matta (DePaul University), Bob Kleinschmidt (Tiffin University), John Salerno (UWGB), Terry Vermillion (St. Cloud State) and many others.

  • Non-competitive atmosphere. This positive, learning-oriented approach has become a hallmark of the Head of the Lakes Festival. No trophies or defeats, just jazz music, hard work, and fun!

  • Clinics. Numerous clinics will be given by the guest artists, UMD jazz faculty and by our adjudicators, all of whom are recognized leaders in their fields.

  • Scholarships. The chance for instrumentalists to audition for a scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth as a music major!!

  • Prizes. Performance certificates and prizes will be awarded to individuals who offer outstanding performances during the day.

Please register online OR print and complete the reservation form and return it with payment by the February 1st deadline so that we can hold a spot for your ensemble(s) at this year’s festival. The fee for participants will be $200.00 per ensemble. We will fill performance spots on a first come, first serve basis so get your reservation form in early. Upon receipt of your registration fee, we will contact you regarding group hotel rates and other information.


Register online

I look forward to seeing you this year, and to hearing your ensembles perform. If you have any questions regarding the festival, please feel free to contact me at 218.726.6327, or by email at umdjazz@d.umn.edu.


Ryan Frane
Director of Jazz Studies

Documents and Links

Program Soloists Form.pdf


Participant Letter 2 2015.pdf

Day Schedule 2015.pdf

Directions to UMD

Map of UMD