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31st Annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival Lands at CSUB on April 28-29

The 31st Annual Bakersfield JazzFestival, presented by Dignity Health - Mercy and Memorial Hospitals and Motor City Lexus of Bakersfield, takes place on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, at the California State University, Bakersfield Amphitheatre. This iconic community event features music by 13 performers over two days in support of the CSUB Music program and various scholarship funds.

On Friday, April 28, Bakersfield-based jazz/funk group Soulajar will open the festival with their 70’s era soul-jazz and funky stylings immediately followed by Ghost-Note, a percussion-centric ensemble celebrating funk and groove in the most musical way. Led by three-time Grammy winners Robert Searight and Nate Werth from Snarky Puppy fame, this group brings enormous energy to their live show.

BJF Director Jim Scully said about Ghost-Note,  “In 2012, I was able to bring Snarky Puppy to CSUB for two days, and after that experience I vowed to make a big effort to embrace the new, ‘big tent’ of jazz.  The jazz artists that embrace pop, hip-hop, rock, funk…music that is unafraid to blur the lines of jazz to be inclusive. Ghost-Note is a great example of that.”

Closing the first night of festival is saxophonist, multiple Grammy-nominee, and David Bowie collaborator, the Donny McCaslin Group.  Fresh off collecting five Grammys for their work on Bowie’s last album Blackstar, McCaslin and his bandmates are pushing jazz in amazing ways through fusions with rock, punk, electronica, and, of course, extraordinary improvisation - another example of the “big tent” concept of jazz.

Saturday starts with the Kern County Honor Jazz Band, made up of some of the best young players in the region. Next is the CSUB Jazz Collective under the direction of Jim Scully. This group is the flagship ensemble of the CSUB Jazz Program. Following the student groups will be composer/keyboardist Haakon Graf & Graffiti L.A. Edition. Haakon has assembled an All-Star group of Los Angeles musicians to present his hip take on jazz fusion.

Next will be The Kandinsky Effect, a Paris-based trio led by saxophonist Warren Walker and drummer Caleb Dolister. They are a power trio within the jazz idiom: hip, groovy, creative, and fun. With a nod to modern re-imaginings of the jazz idiom, LA-based Neo-Soul trio Moonchild is next on the lineup.

Closing out Saturday night are two heavyweights of jazz. Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and his Stretch Music Ensemble is out promoting his new record “Ruler Rebel” - a brave recording merging jazz with myriad styles while his trumpet work leads the way. Following Scott, Philadelphia guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel is out promoting his newest album “Caipi”.  This record - 10 years in the making - is a departure

The 31st Annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival will help raise more than $20,000 in scholarship money for CSUB students and bring the best of jazz to the CSUB campus!

For more information - including ticket information - go to the newly re-designed BJF website:

Also information is available on social media at:

The gates open Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.

Refreshments, food, and alcohol will be available for purchase. Ice chests are permissible but will be searched at gate. No outside alcohol or glass containers permitted. Kids 12 and under free in general admission area only.

Current CSUB Faculty, Staff and Students will be allowed free entry to the Festival with valid School ID.

All other Student ticket holders must present school ID when entering the event.

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Contact CSUB Public Affairs
(661) 654-2136