Ashland University’s award-winning jazz program will present the 2016 Maplerock Jazz Festival on Friday, March 18. Along with free performances by area high school jazz ensembles in the afternoon, the event presents a main stage concert at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre.

The evening concert opens with the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Scott Garlock and features guest jazz artists pianist Dr. Michael Stryker, saxophonist Mike Lee, bassist Aidan Plank and guitarist Justin Haynes.

Dr. Stryker is co-leader of the jazz quintet Condition Blue. He can also be heard on Roots and Branches with the Shirantha Beddage Quartet, and regularly performs with the Todd Kelly Quintet and many other fine musicians throughout Illinois. With a D.M.A. in Jazz and Contemporary Media from the Eastman School of Music, B.M. and M.M. in Jazz Performance from DePaul University, and a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University, Stryker is associate professor of Jazz Piano at Western Illinois University where he directs big bands and coaches jazz combos, teaches various jazz classes and is a member of the Dale Hopper Faculty Jazz Sextet. He is also on the faculty of the Birch Creek Summer Music Performance Center (Wisconsin).

Mike Lee has been a part of the greater New York Jazz Scene for almost 30 years. Since his early associations with Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano, through his stint with the Woody Herman Orchestra and regular gigs with The Village Vanguard Orchestra and Maria Schneider Orchestra, to his current associations with Oliver Lake’s ensembles, Wallace Roney Orchestra, and Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba, Lee has a proven track record as a versatile soloist and a consummate ensemble musician. As a leader, he fronted the renowned Cecil’s Big Band and co-leads the ground breaking quartet New Tricks. He performs with his trios regularly at his weekly Hat City Kitchen Jam Session as well as Trumpet’s Jazz Club and other venues.

Aidan Plank has performed in a wide range of musical genres with many musicians from pop legends Frankie Avalon and Chubby Checker, to classical ensembles such as the Case Baroque Orchestra and the Oberlin Opera, and with contemporary jazz artists Bobby Selvaggio and Dominic Ferannaci along with many others. Aidan has performed at Carnegie Hall, Severence Hall, The Knitting Factory, The House of Blues, The Beachland Ballroom, The Bop Stop, Blossom Music Festival, and other venues throughout the country. He can presently be heard in duo performances with guitarist Daniel Lippel and as the bassist for the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra’s 2015-2016 season.

Justin Haynes has been recognized as an outstanding soloist and composer at the University of North Texas Jazz Festival, the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival, the University of Louisville Jazz Festival, and the Western Illinois University Jazz Festival. One of his charts, “I’ve Gone Crazy,” was debuted at the Rootabaga Jazz Festival featuring Greg Osby on alto saxophone. As an educator, Justin is a member of the Knox College Music Department faculty where he teaches jazz saxophone, jazz guitar, jazz bass and basic improvisation skills. Justin also directs the Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival Alumni Band every spring.

The Jazz Festival’s afternoon performances begin at 1 p.m. with Wellington High School Jazz Band followed at 1:30 p.m. with Ashland High School Jazz Band B, Rittman High School Jazz Band at 2 p.m., Galion High School Jazz Band at 2:30 p.m., and Ashland High School Jazz Band A presents the final high school performance at 3 p.m.

Call 419-289-5125 for ticket information.

Staff report