Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival returns to north central Idaho

John Clayton is artistic director of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Courtesy of University of Idaho0222GM_Jazz_web

By Glenn Mosley/Northwest News Network

The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is back for another year at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Now ten years after the death of its namesake, the festival, like many such celebrations, is challenged by a changing jazz industry.

For many years, Lionel Hampton would simply pick up the phone and get many of his friends and colleagues in jazz to make the wintry trip to north central Idaho to play jazz and talk to students for days at a time.

These days the graying of the jazz community, the artists and aficionadas alike, has changed things, and so, too, has the fact that February isn’t quite the slow month for work that it once was for jazz performers.

Steve Remington, the executive director of the Hampton festival, says artistic director John Clayton and everyone involved with the festival work hard to make and maintain contacts in the industry.

He says the festival continues its long tradition of reaching out to young people:

“The focus has always been on the educational aspect of this jazz festival, not just the entertainment,” Remington said.

So far, Remington added, interest in the festival remains strong and ticket sales have been good, and this year there was an additional boost from a $20,000 grant given by the Paul Allen Foundation.</p>

On the Web:

University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

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