Saxophonist Dick Oatts will be the featured artist at the 2017 Illinois State University Jazz Festival, Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8. Both days of the festival will feature free afternoon performances by junior high and high school jazz bands from across Illinois. All performances will take place in the University’s Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall.

Oatts will perform with Illinois State’s Jazz Ensemble I both evenings at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for faculty and staff, and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office or by phone at (309) 438-2535.

The Friday evening concert will include an opening performance by Illinois State’s Jazz Ensemble II, while the Saturday evening show will feature an opening performance by the grand champion in the festival’s band competition. Jazz Ensembles I and II are conducted by Tom Marko, director of instrumental jazz in Illinois State’s School of Music.

Oatts has been part of the New York jazz scene for 40 years and has been associated with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis jazz orchestra during that time. Oatts has appeared at college jazz festivals as a soloist and clinician throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, South America, and the Middle East. He is a professor of jazz studies at the Boyer School of Music at Temple University and has been an artist-in-residence at the Amsterdam Conservatory since 1997.