The University of the Pacific in Stockton presents its annual Pacific Jazz Festival Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23-24, bringing concerts and masterclasses to a video screen near you.
Jazz Studies director Patrick Langham has been involved with UOP’s annual jazz festival for the better part of two decades. Of course, this year is like no other.
“Doing a jazz festival knowing that everyone is going to be observing this as a streamed event is quite different. So we're really sort of creating in a vacuum I guess is the best way to say it,” Langham said.
Most of that creativity will come from the DeRosa University Center on the UOP campus. Concerts will be live-streamed from there with no in-person audience. As for why Pacific decided to go virtual instead of going dark this year, Langham says the show must go on.
“This country and our region needs this music right now and we talked to ourselves as a faculty you know how important this was and everybody was on board so we thought let's go ahead and do it,” he said.
In what has become a festival tradition, Langham included a critically acclaimed Latin ensemble for Saturday’s headline concert. The Dharma Latin Jazz Sextet, featuring Jamie Dubberly.
“You know we have to look at our community and we need to serve the community," Langham said "Latin jazz is at the core of what we do. So I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve generally always had a Latin component to our festival.”
Langham didn’t just plan the festival, he’s also performing Friday with an all-star group including trumpeter Joe Mazzafarro, whose original composition “In Terms Of” has a story behind it.
“Joe used to kid me all the time when he was a student of mine at Pacific many years ago," Langham said. "One of the things I would say when I was leading into a discussion of something I would talk about ‘well in terms of the significance of’ and he wrote a tune for me entitled 'In Terms Of' and it’s a really great tune. So we’re going to play that.”
The festival will also feature masterclasses by world-renowned drummer Louis Nash and trombonist Michael Dease. One thing that won’t take place this year are performances at the nearby Valley Brew, which before the shutdown was an important venue for Patrick Langham’s Jazz Studies program.
“That club is a part of our curriculum," he said. "You know, like our students spend time every week at that club because that’s the history of the music you know. Jam sessions every Tuesday night and then Thursday nights were our performances. And then during the festival, we’d have runs every night of the week. So yeah, we can’t wait to get back to that.”