In addition to Lewis, 15 high school and middle school groups entered this year’s Jazz Festival by submitting videos for review by adjudicators. The Northwest Jazz Ensemble and Studio Jazz Ensemble will present a noon concert, playing original music composed by Lewis on the Music at Northwest Missouri State University YouTube page. At 1 p.m., Lewis will present a virtual jazz improvisation clinic.
Funding support for Lewis’s visit and the Jazz Festival is provided by the Missouri Arts Council and an academic initiative grant from the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University.
“Marcus Lewis is an outstanding performer, composer and teacher,” Dr. William Richardson, Northwest’s Dennis C. Dau Endowed Professor of Music, said. “We chose him as our guest artist this year because we wanted to perform his excellent music and learn from his playing and teaching.”
Lewis recently finished an eight-and-a-half-year period of work with Grammy-nominated vocalist Janelle Monae. His career also includes performances or recordings with Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Bruno Mars, B.o.B, Prince, Musiq Soulchild, Avery Sunshine, Jidenna, The Barkays, Con Funk Shun, and Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players.
Lewis also is the recipient of the 2018 Charlotte Street Generative Artist Award and the 2020 UNESCO American Music International Innovator Award. In addition to playing music, he is the artistic director of a non-profit, Future Jazz Kansas City, dedicated to jazz education and an adjunct professor of jazz at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from Valdosta State University and a master’s degree in trombone performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. For more information about Lewis, visit https://www.marcuslewis.net/.
Northwest’s Studio Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Ensemble, which is the University’s premiere, audition-based jazz group, perform music representing a variety of styles. The ensembles perform multiple concerts on the Northwest campus annually, and the Jazz Ensemble regularly tours the four-state region.
For more information about these and other musical ensembles at Northwest, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/finearts/.