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51st annual Jazz Festival to feature guest artist Jeff Coffin
51st Tarleton Jazz Fest

Tarleton State University

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Grammy award-winning saxophonist, composer and educator Jeff Coffin will serve as this year’s featured guest artist with student jazz musicians as part of the 51st annual Tarleton Jazz Festival, on Saturday, March 23.

The closing concert of the festival, at 7:30 p.m., will feature Coffin and the Tarleton Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Greg Ball, in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center auditorium.

Coffin, saxophonist with the Dave Matthews Band, is a three-time Grammy award winner as a member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. In July 2008, Coffin began touring with Dave Matthews Band, and officially joined the group in 2009 following the passing of founding member LeRoi Moore. When not touring, Coffin fronts his own group, Jeff Coffin & the Mu’tet. He was recently featured on the cover of the October issue of Downbeat magazine, and released his latest album, Into the Air.

A resident of Nashville since 1991, Coffin graduated with a music education degree from the University of North Texas in 1990 where he played in the acclaimed One O’Clock Lab Band. He also studied with sax great Joe Lovano on a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Along the way, Coffin has absorbed a range of influences. “Whether it be New Orleans Second Line, African, Indian Ragas, Brazilian, folk songs, Gypsy music, Alan Lomax field recordings, jazz, funk, etc.…” he says, “the spirit and breath of the music is what I take away from the listening and playing. It’s what decides for me if I like it or not.… I consider it ‘Spirit Music.’” Coffin is also known to play two saxes at a time, a nod to the late great saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

At the 2000 Grammy Awards, in addition to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones winning a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Recording (Outbound), Coffin’s tune, Zona Mona (also from Outbound) was Grammy nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Composition.

“We are really excited about having Jeff here because we went to school together at North Texas,” said Ball, an assistant professor of fine arts and director of Tarleton’s jazz bands. “It has been fun to watch his career. I’ve been trying to get him here for several years and it’s finally happened. He has been very busy since joining Dave Matthews Band, and our timing is pretty good—literally the day after I booked him this year I got the October issue of Downbeat with Jeff on the cover.”

Every year since 1962 the university has hosted the Tarleton Jazz Festival, a one-day event that is designed for high school and junior high groups to perform for and work with renowned jazz educators and to hear the guest artists. Previous guest artists include the Count Basie Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson, Bob Mintzer, David “Fathead” Newman, Rufus Reid and Maria Schneider, and 2012 guest artist Darcy James Argue.

“The festival is designed to give students in-depth exposure to all aspects of jazz,” Ball said. “The bands will perform on our stages for three jazz educators who will provide written comments. Following their performances, the groups will work with one of the clinicians, receiving immediate feedback on positive aspects and help in those areas that need it.”

Awards will be given to outstanding bands in all classifications and outstanding musicians/soloists in each group at the conclusion of the festival.

All Jazz Festival events during the day are open to the public and admission is free, except for the evening concert. Tickets to the concert are $5 and will go on sale one hour prior to the show at the Fine Arts Center Box Office. All seating is general admission.

For more information, visit


Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System

Contact: Greg Ball


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51st Tarleton Jazz Fest