Jazz Festival 2016 Guest Artists

Nick Finzer, trombone

Nick Finzer is one of the most exciting musicians of the millennial generation.
An award-winning composer, arranger, and trombonist, Nick is bringing the joy and power of jazz to both traditional fans and 21st century audiences. He’s on a mission to be a passionate voice defining the sound of jazz in this age and to bring a little street cred to the trombone, which is a bold, tight sound.

In January 2013, Nick released his recording debut as a bandleader and composer with “Exposition” (Outside In Music). Two tracks appearing on the album garnered Nick a pair of accolades: The prestigious American Society of Composers and Performers (ASCAP)’s Herb Alpert Award for young composers (2013 and 2015). Nick has been seen across the globe on television and the web millions of times as part of the pop web phenom band, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. He has toured with the group in North America and Europe.

Full Bio

Steve Jennings, drums

Steve Jennings is the department head for ensembles at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minn. Steve has explored many musical styles including rock, classical, jazz, funk, gospel, country, and blues. He has worked professionally in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area since his first studio recording in 1991 after six years on the road with Top Forty dance bands. Steve was initially inspired by the music of Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Tower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Doors. He experience in jazz music arrived in the form of violinist Jean Luc Ponty, the propulsive energy of Tony Williams, and the expressive funk of Billy Cobham.

The jazz and rock collaborations continue today in Story City, a modern instrumental group led by Steve. In addition, he tours with violin virtuoso Randy Sabien and the electric funky bluegrass-leaning Over and Back Band. He has performed with Regina Williams, Moore By Four, the Brian Kinney Band, Jevetta Steele, Paul Mayasich, the Platters, Ron Thompson and his Resistors, and Best Kept Secret. Jennings produced his first jazz record in 1995 with his own Jazztet, featuring clarinetist Dave O’Mara, bassist Keith Boyles, and the late great Bobby Peterson on piano. While primarily self-taught, Steve has welcomed periodic lessons with jazz drummers Phil Hey, Ed Soph, legend Gordy Knutson, and New Orleans street beat jazz guru John Vidacovich.

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