UNLV’s jazz program has been earning national awards and acclaim for decades, from a five-star CD review in DownBeat magazine in the early ’90s to more-recent (and repeat) invitations to the prestigious Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California. On Sunday afternoon the community has the opportunity to throw its support behind the talented juggernaut, when a laundry list of local musicians joins UNLV’s Jazz Ensemble I for the annual Joe Williams Scholarship Fundraising Concert. “It’s a signature event we do every year. We honor the legacy of the great Joe Williams,” says UNLV professor and Jazz Ensemble I director Dave Loeb, adding that the legendary musician and late-in-life Las Vegas local was “probably one of the greatest jazz singers of all time.”
UNLV’s top-tier Big Band will share the stage with notable vocalists like Clint Holmes, Eric Jordan Young and Marlena Shaw, whom Loeb says once performed with the great Count Basie. Other highlights include collabos with Don Cunningham, Earl Turner and Jack Jones, and proceeds from the concert go toward scholarships for UNLV jazz students. “Joe lived here for the remainder of his life … and really gave back to the community,” Loeb says. “This is all in his spirit, raising the money and keeping our American art form alive.”
Joe Williams Scholarship Fundraising Concert March 8, 2 p.m., $25. UNLV's Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, 702-895-2787.