Traditional Jazz Series 2023-2024

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Jazz is alive and well at UNH. Join us for season 45!

All concerts begin at 8 pm and take place in Johnson Theatre of the Paul Creative Arts Center
Tickets can be purchased at and at the PCAC Box Office one hour before the performance. Tickets are $12 General Admission and $10 for students and seniors.

Concerts will not be available via livestream.

Monty Alexander Trio

Concert 272

Friday, September 15

Nearly sixty years after he moved to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, his  hometownGRAMMY nominated pianist Monty Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message. His spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.” In the course of any given performance, Alexander applies those aesthetics to a repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expressions—the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. 




Messenger Legacy

Concert 273

Friday, October 13

Count on an evening of exciting jazz when the Messenger Legacy band appears Friday, October 13, 2023 at the University of New Hampshire for their Jazz Series. The concert pays tribute to the late powerhouse drummer Ralph Peterson, who founded the Messenger Legacy ensemble. The sextet taking the stage comprises a mix of former Jazz Messengers and Messenger Legacy stalwarts, including some of the best and most versatile players now on the jazz scene: saxophonist Bill Pierce, saxophonist Craig Handy, trumpeter Brian Lynch, trombonist Robin Eubanks, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, pianist David Hazeltine, and drummer Jerome Gillespie, Jr. The concert will showcase compositions by Ralph Peterson and members of the forward-thinking Messenger Legacy band. The evening will include tunes from 2020’s Onward and Upward—Peterson’s 25th release as a leader, and recently penned material from band members. This new chapter in the Messenger songbook bears all the hallmarks of great jazz, including the variety of sonic colors, the polyrhythms, the harmonies, the vast reservoirs of blues and soul, and the importance of continuity and telling a story.


Ralph Peterson 1962-2021



Donna Byrne Quartet with Scott Hamilton

Concert 274

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Donna Byrne and Scott Hamilton have been musical collaborators for well over thirty years.  Scott Hamilton’s career, over the past fifty years, has seen him garner consistent rave reviews from both critics and fans alike.  Donna Byrne has been a fixture in New England for the past forty years, once heralded by Tony Bennett as one of the best young jazz singers in the country. Eventually, this landed her an opportunity to open Bennett’s shows in both the U.S and abroad. Tim Ray, Marshall Wood, and Les Harris Jr.  have all had spectacular careers performing in groups with some of the most important jazz musicians of all time. This quintet has had many opportunities to perform together, making for a very musical and cohesive combo.



Dave Pietro and Across the Board

Concert 275

Friday, February 2

A native of Southboro, Massachusetts, Dave Pietro has been on the New York music scene since 1987. His talents as a gifted saxophonist, composer, and educator have made him an in-demand musician who has performed at jazz clubs, festivals, schools and concert halls in more than 30 countries throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Dave is a member of the GRAMMY Award-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra and the GRAMMY nominated groups - the Gil Evans Project and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society. Dave has released nine albums as a leader and his latest CD Hypersphere features Alex Sipiagin, Gary Versace, Johannes Weidenmueller and Johnathan Blake. His lineup in “Across The Board” includes veteran musicians Scott Wendholt, trumpet; Gary Versace, piano; Jay Anderson, bass; and Billy Drummond, drums.



Matt Wilson's Honey and Salt

Concert 276

Friday, April 5

Few musicians embody the spontaneous energy of jazz like Matt Wilson. The New York-based drummer combines buoyant zeal, idiosyncratic style, infectious humor, joyous swing and an indomitable spirit of surprise. Together, with his universally recognized personal warmth, these qualities have made Wilson one of the most in-demand players and educators on the modern jazz scene. Not bad for a mischievous Midwestern boy from Knoxville, Illinois.Wilson has released thirteen albums as a leader. His latest recording with Honey And Salt (Music Inspired By The Poetry Of Carl Sandburg), was recognized on over thirty worldwide “Best of 2017” lists, including Top Ten in the National Public Radio Critics Poll, JazzTimes, Irish Times, Boston Globe, Jazziz and All About Jazz. The album received a coveted 5-star review in DownBeat. 



Christian McBride and Inside Straight

Concert 277

Friday, May 3

Christian McBride is an eight-time GRAMMY Award winning bassist, composer, and bandleader. McBride is the Artistic Director of the historic Newport Jazz Festival, New Jersey Performing Arts center, the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Christian is also a respected educator and advocate as the Artistic Director of Jazz House KiDS, and the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions. In addition to consistent touring, McBride hosts NPR's “Jazz Night in America” and "The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian" on SiriusXM. Christian McBride is always of the music. From jazz, to R&B, pop/rock, hip-hop/neo-soul, to classical, he is a luminary with one hand ever reaching for new heights, and the other extended in fellowship inviting us to join him.



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.