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Joey DeFrancesco + the People to Headline 2018 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

October 26, 2017

The University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival will continue its legacy of honoring traditional jazz music while highlighting the best performers on the current jazz scene during the 2018 festival, Feb. 23-24.


Joey DeFrancesco + the People is headlining this year’s festival with a performance on Saturday, Feb. 24. DeFrancesco is a three-time Grammy nominee with more than 30 albums, including recordings with Miles Davis and Jimmy Smith. His use of a vintage Hammond B3 organ is credited with reinvigorating the jazz organ. DeFrancesco was inducted into the inaugural Hammond Organ Hall of Fame in 2014.


“Joey is one of the most exciting performers in today’s jazz scene,” said Vern Sielert, artistic advisor for the festival and director of jazz studies at U of I. “There are a lot of modern substitutes for the Hammond organ, but nothing sounds like the original thing. This is a chance to hear a master musician play the original instrument.”


Following DeFrancesco’s performance, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Big Band will take the stage, featuring vocalist and U of I jazz instructor Kate Skinner and Tanya Darby, lead trumpet and assistant professor at the University of North Texas. Skinner and Sielert are writing original works that the band will debut at the festival. For a special end to the show, DeFrancesco will return for a rare performance combining his jazz organ with the big band.


On Friday, Feb. 23, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, joined by trumpeter Terell Stafford and vocalist Brianna Thomas, will lead a special tribute to the classic 1961 jazz record, “Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley,” giving it a modern twist.


“This is a record that all aspiring young jazz musicians should know about – both vocalists and instrumentalists,” Sielert said. “If you can turn them on to one recording that they really like, then you can also show how that same material – the tunes, the harmonies, the melodies and the words – can be changed, adapted, refreshed and rethought out. It’s the living tradition of jazz.”


Also performing during the 2018 festival is the U of I’s Lionel Hampton School of Music Jazz Choirs I and II directed by Dan Bukvich, Jazz Band I directed by Sielert, and solo and combo winners from the festival’s competition.


Evening concerts will be held in the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. The full concert schedule is available at  


Tickets for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, hosted by UI’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, go on sale Friday, Nov. 17. Series or individual concert tickets are available and can be purchased at the University of Idaho Ticket Office in the Kibbie Dome, by calling phone at 208-885-7212, or online at


“These performances will be the art form at the highest level,” Sielert said. “If you don’t know anything about jazz, these are great people to listen to because they are masters of this music.”


For the most up-to-date festival information, visit or call 208-885-5900.

Media Contacts: 

Vanessa Sielert

Educational Advisor, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Director/Associate Professor, Lionel Hampton School of Music



Kathy Foss

Marketing and Communications Manager

College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences


About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at