UI Jazz Combo Festival

Jazz combos from seven high schools in Eastern Iowa will be featured in a free concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, in Parish Hall of the Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 East College St. in Iowa City, the current home of the University of Iowa Jazz Studies Area.

The event is part of the Jazz Combo Festival, presented by the UI School of Music and coordinated by faculty member Steve Grismore. The concert will also feature professional jazz saxophonist Mike Lee, a guest artist for the festival, performing with UI jazz students.

After the concert, Lee will participate in a Jazz Jam starting at 10 p.m. at the Sanctuary restaurant in Iowa City, along with the Steve Grismore Quartet and John Rapson, head of the jazz studies area of the School of Music.

Participating high school combos for the 6:30 p.m. concert are Cedar Rapids Washington High School, City High School in Iowa City, Lin-Mar High School, North Scott High School and high schools in Centerville, Independence and Williamsburg.

Due to the closure of the Voxman Music Building following the record floods in June, the School of Music does not have access to its usual performance venues. Trinity Episcopal Church has been the home of the jazz area for the fall semester.

Lee's musical career has taken him many places, both geographically and musically. From Brooklyn he has toured the United States and Europe for several years performing with local rhythm sections and presenting clinics at many universities and schools. He has performed with Joe Lovano, Rosemary Clooney, Marlon Jordan and the Village Vanguard Orchestra, among others, and toured with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd and Lovano's "Celebrating Sinatra" touring ensemble.

More recently he has been on the road less often while raising a family and digging deep roots in the Northern New Jersey jazz community.

Grismore is a co-founder of the Iowa City Jazz Festival and has been musical director of the festival for 12 years. He has performed at clubs and jazz festivals around the country and played with many well-known jazz artists including Paul Smoker, Charlie Haden, Bobby Shew, Carla Bley and Vinny Golia.

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