Elkhart Jazz Festival

The 2014 Elkhart Jazz Festival celebrates the 27th year of one of the country’s premier jazz festivals! New Faces, New Venues and a continued commitment to bring you the best jazz festival ever, the 2014 Elkhart Jazz Festival will make your summer really swing.

One of our community’s biggest employers, Forest River, has taken on a marquee role in the 27th Annual Elkhart Jazz Festival!

Pete Liegl and the Forest River team have a long-running commitment to seeing our community succeed, and we welcome them as the primary sponsor of our Jazz Festival. Their commitment gives us the ability to continue to bring the high-quality, well-known talent that’s become our hallmark.

So get ready and join us for hours of jazz over an extraordinary three-day weekend from more than 100 world-class performers including Aaron Neville (Presented by INOVA Federal Credit Union)*, Preservation Hall Jazz Band*, and Fourplay.
* Requires purchase of a Premium Pass or a straight show ticket.
Early Bird Tickets on sale now!

Premium Patron Pass: $280 (includes access to both headlining shows)

Premium Jazz Pass: $180 (includes access to both headlining shows)

Standard Patron Pass: $220

Standard Jazz Pass: $130

Single Session Passes
Afternoon Pass: $35
Evening Pass: $55
Student Passes: $27.50/$17.50
Student Jazz Pass: $65

Aaron Neville Straight Show Ticket

Preservation Hall Jazz Band Straight Show Ticket

TOP BRASS: $800/1600

Elkhart Jazz Festival Gift Certificates

Check out the Elkhart Jazz Festival Facebook page for updates and Instagram ElkhartJazzFestival to view & share photos. Be sure to include #elkhartjazzfestival on Instagram!

Thanks again!

27th Annual Elkhart Jazz Festival Lineup

Aaron Neville

R&B and soul singer Aaron Neville has had four top-20 hits in the United States (including three that went to number one on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart and one that went to number one on the R&B chart) along with four platinum-certified albums. He has also recorded with his brothers Art, Charles and Cyril as The Neville Brothers and is the father of singer/keyboards player Ivan Neville. Neville’s first major hit single was “Tell It Like It Is”, which topped Billboard’s R&B chart for five weeks in 1967 and also reached #2 on the Hot 100. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. His other hits have included “Everybody Plays the Fool”, his 1991 cover of the 1972 Main Ingredient song, that reached #8 on the Hot 100; “Don’t Take Away My Heaven”, “Hercules,” and “Can’t Stop My Heart From Loving You (The Rain Song).” His 2003 album Nature Boy: The Standards Album hit number 1 on the US Jazz charts. Neville’s career has included work for television, movies and sporting events. On December 12, 2010, while performing at Baton Rouge’s Manship Theater in the Shaw Center, Neville was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Neville is also an inductee of the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday, Louisiana.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band has traveled worldwide spreading their mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the King of Thailand, this music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit. Under the auspices of current director, Ben Jaffe, the son of founders Allan and Sandra, Preservation Hall continues with a deep reverence and consciousness of its greatest attributes in the modern day as a venue, band, and record label. The PHJB began touring in 1963 and for many years there were several bands successfully touring under the name Preservation Hall. Many of the band’s charter members performed with the pioneers who invented jazz in the early twentieth century including Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Bunk Johnson. Band leaders over the band’s history include the brothers Willie and Percy Humphrey, husband and wife Billie and De De Pierce, famed pianist Sweet Emma Barrett, and in the modern day Wendell and John Brunious. These founding artists and dozens of others passed on the lessons of their music to a younger generation who now follow in their footsteps like the current lineup.


For two decades, the contemporary jazz quartet known as Fourplay has enjoyed consistent artistic and commercial success by grafting elements of R&B, pop and a variety of other sounds to their unwavering jazz foundations. In the course of a dozen recordings – six of which have climbed to the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album charts – the supergroup has continued to explore the limitless dimensions and permutations of jazz while at the same time appealing to a broad mainstream audience. The Fourplay story begins in 1990, with keyboardist Bob James, session drummer, producer, composer & recording artist Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand, Notorious B.I.G.), guitarist Lee Ritenour (Sergio Mendes) and bassist/vocalist Nathan East (Barry White, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins). The original lineup of James/Ritenour/East/Mason stayed together for three successive albums, including Elixir (1994), a set that features some high-profile guest vocalists: Phil Collins, Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson. The infusion of new blood into the Fourplay lineup creates an opportunity to bring an even higher level of energy and inspiration into a band that is already known for taking chances and pushing the limits of contemporary jazz. “All four of us have been in this business long enough to know that there’s always pressure to compromise, and we don’t want to do that,” says James.

The Airmen of Note

The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps dance band, today the “Note” features 18 of the most talented jazz musicians in the country and is one of the last touring big bands. As a result, it has earned an international reputation as one of the finest and most versatile big bands of its kind in the world. Through the years, the Airmen of Note has presented its exciting brand of big band jazz to audiences throughout the United States, dozens of countries in Europe and Asia, as well as back home in the Washington, D.C., area. The group’s successful delivery of their recorded music to millions of fans over hundreds of media outlets worldwide is validated by industry measures, including the JazzWeek jazz chart. The Airmen of Note’s steadfast commitment to musical excellence and reputation has led to many collaborative efforts, recordings and performances with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. Today, Master Sergeant Alan Baylock, the group’s current chief arranger, helps maintain a commitment to tradition and “cutting edge” innovation. In 2010, the Airmen of Note celebrated 60 years as one of our nation’s most revered musical organizations. As it passes this historic milestone, the band will continue to vigorously support the U.S. Air Force by building on its deep and rich musical heritage and tirelessly delivering musical excellence to audiences throughout the United States and around the world.

Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan

Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan is Chicago’s premier gypsy-jazz band. The group plays the 1930s-style music of guitarist Django Reinhardt — foot-tappin’ swing played on acoustic instruments. It’s a blend of the jubilant swing of early jazz with the feisty passion of gypsy music, plus a strong dose of guitar pyrotechnics and virtuosic improvisation. Formed in 2001, Swing Gitan features bandleader Alfonso Ponticelli on lead guitar and a world-class lineup of musicians on violin, rhythm guitar and upright bass. Over the years, they’ve played with many of the great contemporary gypsy-jazz players from around the world, including Bireli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Moreno, Angelo DeBarre and the Robin Nolan Trio. Alfonso has studied gypsy-jazz music for more than a decade, having traveled several times to the annual Django Reinhardt festival in France. He introduced gypsy-jazz to Chicago in the 1990s, when he began teaching a weekly Django-style class at the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music, and he is often invited to teach his popular workshops at festivals around the country. A multi-instrumentalist, he won the 1994 U.S. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship and plays both banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. He’s also a gypsy flamenco guitarist, having been to Cordoba, Spain, to study with the great flamenco guitarist Rafael Riqueni.

Bucky Pizzarelli & Ed Laub
John ‘Bucky’ Pizzarelli (1926) began his professional career in 1943 at 17 years old playing in the Vaughn Monroe dance band. He toured and recorded with Monroe through 1951, and in 1952 he joined NBC as a staff musician. At NBC, for many years, he played in the Doc Severinson Band on the Tonight Show. He also toured and recorded with Benny Goodman into the 1980’s. In New York, Pizzarelli worked mainly as a freelance musician in the studios and he appeared on many recordings as part of the rhythm section. One of the era’s most solid rhythm players, Pizzarelli was in high demand to provide propulsion and background for other musicians. His extraordinary skill as a rhythm player places him in the company of the great rhythm players like Freddie Greene and Barry Galbraith. Along with being a dedicated preservationist of the old guitar music and the early styles of playing, Bucky Pizzarelli has also developed a very personal style that sets him apart.

Ed Laub is a locally renowned guitarist and vocalist whose style has been compared to a blend of Kenny Rankin, Chet Baker and James Taylor all being accompanied by Bucky Pizzarelli.  Because of Ed’s talent as an accompanist and the fact that he is one of the more accomplished 7 String guitarists, he is sought after by many of the top guitarists in the NYC metropolitan area to back them up and adds a pianistic style that makes a duo sound more like a trio.  Focusing mostly on the American Songbook genre Ed also loves to perform the great Brazilian classics using a nylon 7 string guitar. After abandoning the trumpet and the piano, the February 1964 performance of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan’s show was the catalyst to taking up the guitar and singing. In ’66 Ed had the good fortune to study with a marvelous guitarist and banjoist, Bobby Domenic (Uncle to jazz legend, Bucky Pizzarelli) and ultimately a few years later in 1969, studying the 7 String guitar with Bucky.  They now travel all over the metropolitan area and major cities in the US, playing in clubs, concert venues and jazz festivals.  All About Jazz Magazine said, “Pizzarelli is the complete jazz musician and Laub complements him perfectly!”

The California Honeydrops

California Honeydrops

The Honeydrops have expanded from an acoustic street trio to a full band: piano and keyboards, electric bass, and additional percussion round out their sound. Beyond the band’s shared musical vision remains a greater purpose: to make people dance, sing, and enjoy themselves. The Honeydrops’ music speaks not just to the heart and soul, but also to the body; people have no choice but to dance. Drawing heavily on Southern soul and Bay Area R&B with twist of New Orleans second-line street music, the Honeydrops defy genres. Their style may not have a name, but one thing is certain: The California Honeydrops don’t just play music. They throw parties.

Dave Bennett Quartet
Michigan clarinetist Dave Bennett, is an authentic musical prodigy at the age of 30, (totally self-taught) who brings to life the classic sound and music of Benny Goodman (1909-1986) with incredible technique, style, beauty of tone and naturalness. Truly a “young phenom,” Dave resides in Waterford, Michigan and began playing at age 10 on a clarinet given to him by his grandparents. He then taught himself how to play Goodman songs by ear, listening to a tape given to him by his grandfather. Dave had his first “feature appearance” playing Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen at his 5th grade band concert. At age 12 Dave was invited to the bandstand of the famous Sweet Basil jazz club in New York to sit in with the trumpet great Doc Cheatham. Dave started as a “road warrior” early: he was 14 when he began traveling all over the US with several Michigan-based Dixie bands on the “trad jazz” festival circuit. At 17 Bennett was selected as one of two high school students from a field of 600, to have the opportunity to perform as a special guest soloist with The Count Basie Orchestra. Dave Bennett began touring his Tribute to Benny Goodman combo in 2005 and has now performed in over thirty-five US States and Canada and has appeared with thirty orchestras for “pops” shows. Dave made his Carnegie Hall debut on Nov. 1 2013, featured with The New York Pops, Steve Reineke, conducting. Bennett’s mature stage presence, knowledge of the dates and details of Goodman recordings, and penchant for wire-rim glasses, spats and classic suits, transport listeners back to the time and mood of Benny Goodman’s “swing era”. Bennett has made a great impression on several of Benny Goodman’s famous band members: vibraphonist Peter Appleyard, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and pianist Dick Hyman all strongly endorse Dave Bennett as “the closest ever” to Goodman’s sound and style. Dave was featured on two NPR network radio programs with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on Jazz at Riverwalk broadcast in Dec. 2007. In April 2008 Dave made his European debut at The Bern International Jazz Festival, Switzerland. Perhaps surprising some of his “swing clarinet” fans, Dave is also an extremely good “rock-a-billy” performer. He is gaining increasing fame for his work playing boogie-woogie piano in a style of his hero Jerry Lee Lewis, vocals that have a strong tinge of Elvis and playing his “rocking” Gretsch electric guitar, inspired by another hero: Brian Setzer. Dave has just recorded with The Memphis Boys following their Sacramento Music Festival debut in 2012. Their CD has lots of early ‘50s classic rock and roll that came out of the Sun Records Studio. Dave has an added fan base when he performs for the young “swing dance” crowds at competitions around the country. Now his career is ratcheting up a notch, as he will be the featured soloist in a Nov. 1 Benny Goodman tribute, “Sing Sing Swing” announced for Carnegie Hall, with the New York Pops. In the hands of this young phenomenon, the clarinet just might have its next chance at popularity. Only time will tell where Dave Bennett’s remarkable and unique musical gifts will take him.

The Elkhart Community Chorus
The Elkhart Community Chorus was originally conceived by Becky Wagner-Schooley as the Elkhart High School Alumni Choir, made up of former Elkhart High School choir members. Her goal was to perform at the opening of The Lerner Performing Arts Center (formerly the ELCO Theater) which was realized when the Elkhart Alumni Choir was invited to be included in the grand opening on June 16, 2011. After the performance at The Lerner, the members decided to continue the group and open the membership to anyone who loves to sing and rename the group the Elkhart Community Chorus.

The Elkhart Jazz Festival All-Stars
In addition to his frequent all-star appearances, Bill Allred is mainly noted for leading the best “small” big band in the business: The Bill Allred Classic Jazz Band.  Bill Allred played trombone at Rock Island High School, in the U.S. Navy Band and at St. Ambrose College.  In 1971, Bill was chosen as one of the original 200 staff musicians at the new Walt Disney World attraction in Orlando, Florida from over 2500 auditioned.  In 1974, Bill’s next stop was at Rosie O’Grady’s in Orlando, Florida where he organized the Goodtime Jazz Band and produced the world-famous Goodtime Show. Bill’s production efforts have been rewarded by many accolades, among them, the coveted Carbonel award given by Florida Entertainment writers for excellence in show production.  In addition to Disney, he continues to head up his own entertainment production company in Orlando and is involved in many musical activities. With all of these activities, Bill still finds time to broaden his musical scope by traveling, performing and recording throughout the US and in Europe. His jazz performances have taken him to the major jazz festivals and concerts in the United States and abroad where he has appeared in concerts with countless jazz personalities.

Bill Dendle began playing banjo in 1963, and by 1967 was appearing at Mickie Finn’s in San Diego as leader of the South Market Street Jazz Band, which also appeared at Disneyland and on USO tours. 1977 found Bill as an entertainment consultant, banjoist, trombonist, band leader and entertainer at Florida’s Disneyworld, where he opened the Empress Lilly Showboat. In late 1977, Bill returned back to San Diego to revive the South Market Street Jazz Band, which became a popular fixture at Dixieland Jazz Festivals throughout the United States. From 1982 on, Bill appeared as one-half of the duo called Goodtime Banjos at banjo concerts, jazz festivals and conventions until 1995. Bill is currently director of three jazz camp programs, two in Sacramento (youth and adult), and one in Mammoth Lakes. He plays trombone, guitar and banjo in Shelley Burns & Avalon Swing, a popular Sacramento jazz, show and dance band, and appears at jazz festivals, parties, conventions and shows with his wife, the talented vocalist/entertainer Shelley Burns, and Fast Eddie Erickson. Highly regarded as a banjoist, trombonist and very funny master of ceremonies, he’s in much demand as a performer and camp administrator.  Bill’s home page is found at S & B Productions.

Born in Allentown, PA and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, Eddie Metz Jr. received his first pair of drumsticks at the tender age of three from the drummer in his Dad’s Dixieland band. He played his first professional job when he was twelve years old and hasn’t stopped since. A graduate of the acclaimed Jazz Studies program at William Patterson College, Ed has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz including the Count Basie Orchestra, Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Woody Herman Orchestra, Scott Hamilton, Clark Terry, Dick Hyman, Milt Hinton, Tommy Newsom and Ken Peplowski. Ed has appeared on more than 50 jazz recordings with major artists.  Another major part of Ed’s career has been his involvement with The Black Dogs, a ground-breaking group of musicians who all had their roots in Dixieland jazz. In 1989 the Black Dogs took the jazz festival circuit by storm with their unique style of music. Perhaps because of the Black Dogs’ popularity, Ed has become the drummer of choice for many jazz artists. This has enabled him to appear at more than 60 jazz festivals around the world, including tours of mainland China, Europe and Canada. A 15-year resident of Orlando FL, Ed recently completed 14 years as a staff musician and clinician at Walt Disney World. Ed is also on the teaching staff at several jazz camps around the country including Sacramento and Mammoth Lakes, CA. Eddie Metz, Jr. performs on SABIAN Cymbols and EVANS Drumheads exclusively.

Born in Richland, Iowa and receiving his B.S. from Drake University and his M.S. from the University of Missouri, Terry Myers has been quite active in the jazz music scene. He has played in numerous jazz festivals, including North Sea (Holland), Cork (Ireland), Birmingham (England), Copenhagen (Denmark), Sacramento, Sun Valley, Clearwater, Jacksonville, Maui, Redding (California), Sun Fest (West Palm Beach), Bern (Switzerland), Central Illinois, Bix Festival (Iowa) and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Terry’s dynamic career has enabled him to appear not only with his own Terry Myers Big Band but countless other bands and top of the line jazz performers.   He fronted the Tommy Dorsey Band in 2013 for two cross-country tours as well as the Bill Allred Classic Jazz Band…and many others.  Terry is now living in Maitland, Florida where he freelances in the Central Florida region. Also, now leading his own big band, Terry has had feature dates with a sixteen piece unit at Busch Gardens and Cypress Gardens.

Jeff Phillips, from Naples, Florida began playing organ by ear at age 6. Upon hearing Oscar Peterson and Erroll Garner recordings on the same day at age 18, he began learning piano. Listening to recordings, attending any jam sessions he could find, and playing commercial club dates and conventions, he developed a diverse music background. “I’ve been very fortunate in that I was never too quick to shun certain kinds of music. It has allowed me to work everything kind of job out there.” Jeff has worked numerous festivals through the United States and is currently employed at Walt Disney World with the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra and as a sort of “go to” guy for Harrison School For The Arts in Lakeland, Florida, where he currently resides. He holds a B.A. from Florida Southern College.

Bassist Darrel Tidaback, a long-time resident of San Antonio, TX, has been a member of the IUSB music faculty since 2002 as well as an adjunct member of the Notre Dame music faculty. He has nearly twenty years’ experience teaching at the university level and more than thirty years’ experience as both a jazz and classical performer While in San Antonio, Mr. Tidaback could be heard with numerous jazz groups and as a frequent performer in the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra’s pops concerts. Currently he may be heard with jazz groups throughout the Northern Indiana/Chicago area and as a performer with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, the South Bend Chamber Singers and the Vesper Chorale. He has performed with several jazz stars in concert and performed on NPR.  He has performed in numerous music festivals around the country including the Texas Jazz Festival, the Fiesta Jazz Festival, the Southwest Guitar Festival, the Elkhart Jazz Festival, and the Oregon Festival of American Music. For the past eighteen years Mr. Tidaback has been an arranger and performer with the contemporary chamber ensemble Musical Offerings. He is actively engaged in writing and arranging music for the IUSB Jazz Ensemble, which he has directed for the past four years. He has performed on more than twenty recordings including his own “Timelines”. Mr. Tidaback holds an undergraduate degree in music from Saint Mary’s University and a Master of Music degree in string bass performance from the University of Texas, San Antonio.

Greg Varlotta began studying trumpet under his father’s direction in Lockport, Illinois at the age of 5 and received his music degree in trumpet performance from Arizona State University in 1985. He has performed with numerous symphony orchestras, brass quintets, jazz ensembles, and is the recipient of the prestigious Arion Trumpet Award. In addition to his accomplishments on trumpet and trombone, this multi-talented performer also enjoys playing bass, guitar, banjo, piano, tuba, singing and tap dancing. Greg has a strong interest in music technology and enjoys working with computers, programming synthesizers, composing and arranging music. In 2006, Greg completed a 21 year tour of duty as a staff musician with The Side Street Strutters at Disneyland in Anaheim California. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona and has toured with the Brian Setzer band, Niles Lofgren and continues to tour with the Side Street Strutters