UI student starts campaign for jazz festival

UI student starts campaign for jazz festival

URBANA — A University of Illinois student has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a jazz festival on the University of Illinois campus that would feature visiting college big bands and Jamey Aebersold as the headliner.

Matt Sulikowski, who is organizing the effort, said the festival also would include clinics led by UI jazz faculty. He said area high school students would be invited to the festival as well.

"This is a phenomenal opportunity to hear other college groups, watch them learn from top educators in jazz, and see a performance by one of the leading names in jazz, Jamey Aeberold, all at no cost to the students or their schools," Sulikowski wrote on the Kickstarter page.

"Hosting a festival on campus will make this fantastic display of musicianship easily accessible to over 50,000 college students (UI and Parkland), 3,000 high school students, and all the surrounding jazz fans from these twin cities."

Aebersold is one of the top names in jazz education. The 73-year-old saxophonist and music educator created the "Play-A-Long" series of instructional books and CD collections using the chord-scale system; they are a renowned resource for jazz education.

Aebersold, who taught musical improvisation at the University of Louisville, also is a pianist, alto saxophonist, bassist and banjo player.

Sulikowski said the challenges in mounting the festival are mainly in getting the money to fund it. All the money raised would go to the headlining musician, making food available for free, certificates of recognition and travel costs to out-of-town students

Anything left over would be donated to the Channing-Murray Foundation with the stipulation it be used only for jazz.

Sulikowski said he needs to raise $700. The project will be funded only if at least $700 is pledged by 3:36 p.m. Dec 14. As of Thursday, five backers had pledged a total of $205. Sulikowski said the jazz festival won't happen if the amount is not pledged by the deadline.