Traditional Jazz Series

TJS logo

We are sorry to announce that the fall series concerts for this are postponed until spring. Please check here for updated information. 


2020-2021 / 42nd SEASON

Jazz is alive and well at UNH!

All general admission tickets are $12.00; student/senior citizen tickets are $10.00.
Tickets available at the PCAC Box Office (603) 862-PCAC (7222), Monday-Friday, 12 p.m.-3 p.m., online at and at the door one hour prior to performance.


Season tickets are $50 for 6 events and are also available online at You may purchase season tickets by mail by sending a check payable to "Traditional Jazz" to the PCAC Box Office, 30 Academic Way, Durham, NH 03824. (No refunds due to cancellations)

2020-2021 Series Events


Roberta Gambarini

Roberta Gambarini


September 13 / Roberta Gambarini

Born and raised in Turin, Italy, to music loving parents (who had actually first met at a jazz concert), Roberta Gambarini grew up constantly listening to her father’s record collection. Her first vocal inspirations were Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, but she soon discovered Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Carmen McRae, as well as gospel and blues artists such as Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Smith. Every once in a while, a truly great singer comes along who possesses the beauty, individuality, and talent to remind us once again of the magical majesty of the human voice, without the aid of today’s technological tricks. That singer is ROBERTA GAMBARINI.


Cyrus Chestnut Trio

Cyrus Chestnut Trio


October 11 / Cyrus Chestnut Trio

Composer, pianist and educator Cyrus Chestnut is a musical force who utilizes his classical, Gospel and jazz influences to entertain and capture his audiences. Born in 1963, Chestnut started his musical career at the age of three, and began playing piano at the Mount Calvary Star Baptist Church at the age of five in his hometown of Baltimore, MD. With more than a dozen studio albums in his discography, Cyrus continues to experiment with his familiar integration of jazz, spiritual and classical sound that reflect his heritage and identity as an artist.


Melissa Aldana

Melissa Aldana performing


November 8 / Melissa Aldana

Melissa Aldana was born in Santiago, Chile. She began playing the saxophone when she was six, under the influence and tutelage of her father Marcos Aldana, also a professional saxophonist. In 2013, aged 24, she was the first female musician and the first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, in which her father had been a semi-finalist in 1991. The prize was a $25,000 scholarship, and a recording contract with Concord Jazz. Reporting her win, the Washington Post described Aldana as representing "a new sense of possibility and direction in jazz".


Carmen Bradford with the Seacoast Big Band

Carmen Bradford singing


February 3 / Harry Jones Memorial Concert: Carmen Bradford with the Seacoast Big Band

This year the Harry Jones Memorial Concert will feature 2019 Grammy Nominee Carmen Bradford with the Seacoast Big Band, directed by Dave Seiler. Carmen Bradford grew up with music in her home and in her heart. At the age of 22, Carmen was discovered and hired by William "Count" Basie and was the featured vocalist in the legendary Count Basie Orchestra for nine years. Carmen Bradford's body of work reflects a vast depth of musical experience and technical brilliance. She is also recognized for the overwhelming passion she brings to the lyrics. Carmen Bradford has truly contributed to the perpetuation and preservation of this great American art form called jazz and continues to do so at every performance.


Joey DeFrancesco

photo of Joey Defranceso



April 6 / Joey DeFrancesco

Joey DeFrancesco, the three time Grammy award nominee, with more than 30 recordings as a leader under his belt, has received countless Jazz Journalist Association awards and other accolades worldwide. He was inducted into the inaugural Hammond Organ Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame in 2016. In addition, He has topped the Critics Polls in Down Beat magazine eleven times over the past fifteen years and The Readers Polls every year since 2005. You won’t want to miss this swinging concert!


Kenny Garrett

photo of Kenny Garrett with outstreched arms



April 20 / Kenny Garrett

Over the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, saxophonist Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. From his first gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) through his time spent with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. Kenny will bring his latest quintet to Johnson Theater to close our 41st Season of the UNH Traditional Jazz Series.


More Special UNH Jazz Events

(all events free and open to the public unless noted otherwise; concerts begin at 8 pm in Johnson Theater unless noted otherwise)

September 16, 2019 – UNH Faculty Quintet featuring special guest Jim Pisano
October 16, 2019 – UNH Jazz Bands Concert with Bob Washut
November 7, 2019 – Palace City Theater Concert with Eddie Allen  (Concord, NH – ticketed event)
November 12, 2019 – UNH Jazz Combo Concert
December 4, 2019 – UNH Jazz Bands Concert with trombonist Paul McKee
January 21, 2020 – Portland Jazz Orchestra
February 26, 2020 – CANCELED  UNH Jazz Bands Concert
March 14, 2020 – CANCELED  Clark Terry Jazz Festival (Memorial Union Building – a ticketed event)
April 14, 2020 – UNH Jazz Combo Concert
April 27, 2020 – UNH Jazz Bands Concert


The Traditional Jazz Concert Series is made possible by a generous gift from the estate of Ms. Dorothy C. Prescott. Ms. Prescott, in collaboration with the UNH Music Department, inaugurated the Series in 1979 as a way to promote the enjoyment and understanding of the art of jazz. The Series features musicians of regional, national and international prominence and has become an important tradition at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more.