The 29th Annual Temple College Jazz Festival will take place March 29-30 in the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center at Temple College.

The annual event has gained a reputation as one of the best jazz festivals in the southwestern United States, bringing together top professional artists, clinicians and student musicians for an entertaining and educational weekend of jazz.

Francisco TorresFrancisco TorresHeadliners for this year’s festival are trombonist Francisco Torres and percussionist Luis Conte. Torres is a member of the popular Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band and serves as the group’s musical director. He also plays regularly with the top big bands in Los Angeles, including Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and Bill Holman’s Big Band. Conte has recorded Hollywood film scores and mega-successful albums with numerous artists, including Jackson Browne, Ray Charles, Phil Collins, Madonna, Santana and Shakira.

“I am extremely excited about bringing the level of artistry that both Francisco and Luis exhibit to Temple,” said Festival Director Dr. Benjamin Irom.

Torres will perform with the Temple College Jazz Ensemble and the Temple College Faculty Jazz groupon Friday, March 29, and Conte will perform with the Temple Jazz Orchestra on Saturday, March 30. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students, and may be purchased at the door or in advance at the Temple College Fine Arts Division Office. 

For the March 29 concert, Torres and the Temple College Jazz Ensemble, which is directed by Dr. Colin Mason, will play pieces written by Tom Kubis and other notable big band arrangers. The evening will conclude with Torres and the Temple College Faculty Jazz group performing pieces that they have arranged.  

Luis ConteLuis ConteThe March 30 concert will begin with the Temple Jazz Orchestra performing a variety of music, including a Latin-flavored piece titled “Song for Sweeney” that Irom wrote to honor a late friend. The piece will feature Irom on piano. Luis Conte will join the orchestra for the rest of the concert, which will include pieces representing different Afro-Caribbean or Brazilian styles. The orchestra also will debut a composition by its trombonist, Randy Zimmerman. 

“As a fan of Latin and popular music, the idea of sharing the stage with Luis Conte gives me a big thrill,” Irom said. “He has been involved with some of the biggest artists and played on several of their greatest recordings. He is a true percussion master!”

The festival will also feature performances by nearly 50 school groups throughout the day on March 28, 29 and 30. These performances are all free and open to the public. 

Immediately following the Friday evening concert, there will be a jam session for festival participants in the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn. Both headline performers will participate, as well as the festival judges.

For more information on the festival, visit www.templejc.edu/jazzfestival or call the Temple College Fine Arts Division Office at 254-298-8555.