The first OKC Jazz Fest took place in September 2014 to celebrate Oklahoma City's jazz history, heritage and culture. The music festival is a multi-venue event featuring some of Oklahoma's greatest jazz musicians. The OKC Jazz Fest was started by community leader Mike McAuliffe with the support of long-time friend Brent Brewer and Brewer Entertainment.
The festival is moving to the OKC Arts District this year. Most of the performances will take place at the Civic Center Music Hall & Bicentennial Park. Other performance locations include the OKC Art Museum, the CHK/Central Boathouse on the Oklahoma River and the Aloft Hotel in historic Deep Deuce - the birthplace of Oklahoma City Jazz!
The 2015 OKC Jazz Fest Headliner is American Jazz Pianist, Composer and Producer David Benoit. Benoit will perform Friday evening, September 25 in the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre in the Civic Center Music Hall.
The OKC Jazz Fest continues to support music education in our community. Our audiences will enjoy performances from elementary, high school and college students throughout the festival week. Workshops and Master Classes are also offered to students as part of the festival program.
The 2015 Honorary Jazz Ambassador for the OKC Jazz Fest will be longtime musician and educator Dr. Kent Kidwell. A member of the music faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma since 1969 and retiring as professor emeritus in 2006, Dr. Kidwell was instrumental in growing the UCO jazz program to its current state with four 20-piece big bands, six jazz combos, a traditional "Dixieland" Jazz Band, and Oklahoma's only Master of Music in Jazz Studies Program. He was principal trombonist with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic for over twenty years and is also a member of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
The festival partners include the Civic Center Music Hall, the University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Studies Program, the University of Central Oklahoma Academy of Contemporary Music, Brewer Entertainment and OKC Events & Entertainment.
The OKC Jazz Fest is a sponsor of the Tenth Annual OKC Navy Days. Oklahoma City has 1,300 sailors stationed at the Navy Wing "TACAMO" at Tinker Air Force Base. Local sailors are invited to attend events throughout the week as guests of the OKC Jazz Fest. This year the festival will showcase the United States Navy Band during OKC Jazz Fest Week.