About the Festival

The Calvin Jones BIG BAND Jazz Festival features three university big band jazz ensembles: University of the District of Columbia (dir. Allyn Johnson), Howard University (dir. Fred Irby, III), and the University of Maryland (dir. Tim Powell). The 2023 festival celebrates thirty-seven years of world-class jazz. Produced by the University of the District of Columbia Jazz Studies Program and the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives, the festival has been overwhelmingly supported by area audiences since 1987.

Calvin Jones

Calvin Jones was a legendary figure in the Washington, D.C., community – “a versatile trombonist, pianist, bassist, composer and arranger – … one who extended his talents to the classrooms of Washington, from elementary schools to college, sharing a keen insider’s knowledge of the music’s importance to American history” (editorial, Washington Post, October 23, 2004).
He was a professor of music at the University of the District of Columbia, where he also served as director of the Jazz Studies program from 1976 until his death on October 10, 2004.
Among his many musical voices, the trombone was his signature instrument. He performed extensively, appearing at the Wolf Trap Jazz Festival and the Beale Street Jazz Festival and with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. His career included membership in the orchestra of the legendary Howard Theatre and the original Ray Charles Big Band.

2020 Poster

Design: Serdar Sirtanadolu


Press Release


Press Quotes


"...a major showcase for jazz studies programs at local universities." — Washington Post

"...talent that rocks the rooftop of the campus auditorium every April." — Washington Post

"The Jazz Studies Program's [events] calendar...is one of the most ambitious of those presented by area universities' music departments." — Washington Times

"...gradually but impressively, the capital city's own university is on its way to becoming an internationally known sanctuary, archive and living work center for the study and appreciation of jazz." — Washington Post


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Contact Us

202.274.5803 | JazzAlive@udc.edu

University of the District of Columbia
4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008