Outstanding Musicians Featured at Upcoming SWOSU Jazz Festival


Jazz FestivalThe 36th Annual Southwestern Oklahoma State University Jazz Festival, which will be held February 9-10, will feature an outstanding jazz rhythm section made up of Kenny Drew, Jr., piano; Lynn Seaton, bass; and Dennis Mackrel, drums.

Pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., was the winner of the 1990 Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida. He has recorded nine albums as a leader and has performed worldwide with a comprehensive variety of musicians, including Stanley Jordan, Stanley Turrentine, Slide Hampton, the Mingus Big Band and many others.

Drew has recently appeared with his own trio at the Village Vanguard in New York, the Jazz Showcase in Chicago and on the Queen Elizabeth 2 Jazz Cruise.

Jazz FestivalBassist Lynn Seaton was born in Tulsa. He began studying classical guitar at age seven, switching to string bass at age nine. While studying music at the University of Oklahoma, he began working in clubs around the state.

Seaton has played and recorded with Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd, the Count Basie Orchestra, Tony Bennett and George Shearing. He has performed at festivals world wide including at Bern, Concord, JVC, Kool, and Chicago.

He is currently teaching at the University of North Texas while working and recording with many great jazz artists and leading his own trio. He is making his third appearance at the SWOSU Festival, having appeared here in 2004 and 2005.

Jazz FestivalDennis Mackrel, a child prodigy, began playing the drums when he was two. He became a professional musician at the age of 10 when he performed in the Anchorage Community Theater's production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum".

In January of 1983, Mackrel joined The Count Basie Orchestra on the personal recommendation of Joe Williams and worked alongside Basie until his death in April, 1984. He continued with the orchestra under the direction of Thad Jones and later Frank Foster until 1987.

Mackrel has traveled extensively and performed with such ensembles as The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Band, The Carnegie Hall Classic Jazz Orchestra, The Smithsonian Jazz Orchestra and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in New York City.

The SWOSU Jazz Festival will also feature trumpeter/vocalist Byron Stripling and saxophonist/flutist Frank Wess.

Concerts, which will feature the SWOSU Jazz Ensemble “A” directed by Dr. Terry Segress and the guest musicians, will be held at 1 and 8 p.m. on Friday, February 10. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $3 for students and are on sale at the SWOSU Music Office, Room 100 in the Fine Arts Center on the SWOSU campus.

A concert featuring only the visiting musicians will be held on Thursday, February 9, at 7 p.m. in SWOSU Music 101. Admission is free but seating is limited.

The SWOSU Jazz Festival is presented by the SWOSU Department of Music with the assistance of the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. For additional information contact the SWOSU Music Office at 580.774.3708 or email Terry.Segress@swosu.edu.