By Michelle Seeber
Internationally known trumpet player Jon Birdsong is the featured guest artist today and Friday at the 2004 Eastern New Mexico University Jazz Fest in Portales.
Birdsong, a band member with eclectic jazz artist Beck, is only one of many musicians who are jazzing it up at the fest, however.
The ENMU Alumni Sextet, ENMU Jazz Ensemble and two Clovis High School Jazz ensembles are also performing.
Also performing are the High Winds Jazztet of Portales and the Bert Dalton Trio of Santa Fe.
The Jazztet and Bert Dalton Trio will perform free for the public at 7 p.m. today on campus at Buchanan Hall.
Birdsong will perform free for the public with the ENMU Alumni Sextet and ENMU Jazz Ensemble at 7 p.m. Friday at the University Theatre Center.
Birdsong is best known for his 1999 appearance on Grammy award-winning artist Beck’s “Midnight Vultures” album.
He also toured internationally with Beck, ENMU assistant professor Chris Beaty said.
Beaty is the director of the ENMU Jazz Ensemble and organizer of the Jazz Fest.
ENMU senior Marcos Gomez, who plays tenor saxophone in the university’s jazz ensemble, is excited about performing with Birdsong.
“For me, being an awed fan of jazz, this is something,” he said. “I looked forward to playing with a big name this year. It’s awesome. Being able to perform with Jon Birdsong, a guy who’s famous and internationally known, makes it big for me.”
ENMU senior guitarist Justin McMurdo said he looks forward to hearing the Bert Dalton Trio.
The Santa Fe trio consists of Dalton on piano, Rob Milo Jaramillo on bass and Jon Bartlit on drums.
“My understanding about the Jazz Fest is we’ll do a concert performance of jazz styles, including Latin jazz,” Dalton said. “We’re going to have to see what the audience looks like. We’ll tailor it to the audience.”
The Jazz Fest will begin with the Clovis High School Jazz Ensemble II performance and clinic, which is set for 3 p.m. on campus at the University Theatre Center.
Clovis High School Jazz Ensemble I will hold a performance and clinic at 3:45 p.m.
A guest artist clinic featuring Birdsong will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Buchanan Hall, and at 7 p.m., the High Winds Jazztet and the Bert Dalton Trio will perform in concert at Buchanan Hall.
High Winds Jazztet is a quartet in the Portales area led and formed by Beaty.
Their repertoire consists of jazz standards, popular classics and original compositions.
It includes Beaty on saxophone, Jim Constantopulos on bass, Neil Ruland on drums and Travis Erwin on guitar and vocals.