RVC To Host Annual Jazz Festival

Rock Valley College will host its annual Jazz Festival on Saturday, February 12, 2022, in the Performing Arts Room (located in the ERC building on RVC's main campus at 3301 North Mulford Rd.).

The Jazz Festival, featuring Reggie Thomas (Count Basie Orchestra), is a daylong event featuring local school jazz bands, a jazz clinic, and a concert. The schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m.           Participating school performances
  • 2 p.m.             Clinic with participating musicians
  • 3 p.m.             RVC Community Jazz Ensemble performance
  • 4:30 p.m.       Blueshift Bigband with Reggie Thomas

The event is free to the public. Due to COVID-19, limited capacity is available, and all guests are required to wear a facemask while inside RVC locations.


About Reggie Thomas

Reginald "Reggie" Thomas is the internationally recognized Northern Illinois University School of Music's Jazz Studies program coordinator. He is the director of the acclaimed NIU Jazz Orchestra (formerly known as the NIU Jazz Ensemble under esteemed Prof Ronald Carter), which has been featured at venues such as the Chicago Jazz Festival.

After leaving the St Louis area, he also spent three years as pianist for the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, with whom he performed at a festival before the King of Thailand. Thomas has performed abroad in Brisbane, Calgary, London, Milan, Montreal, Poznan, Senegal, Sydney, Toronto, Trinidad, and Warsaw. He has also performed across the US in cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.

As a recording artist, Thomas has appeared as a leader or co-leader on four recordings. The most recent, Matters of the Heart (with wife Mardra), was released in March 2015 and follows previous recordings Fade to Blue (MaxJazz), Standard Time (Victoria), and 4 (Jazz Compass). Recordings as a sideman include Clay Jenkins' Yellow Flowers After (Chase Music Group) and Azure Eyes (Chase Music Group), Kim Richmond's Ballads (Chase Music Group) and Inner Spirit (Jazz Compass), Clark Terry/Mike Vax' Creepin' With Clark (Summit) and the MSU Professors of Jazz Better Than Alright.


About The Blueshift Big Band

Founded in 2017 by drummer Joel Baer and guitarist Chris Parsons, the Blueshift Big Band builds upon the rich legacy of Big Band music found in Chicago. Having missed the thrill and energy that could only come from playing in an ensemble of this size, Baer and Parsons put together a book of their favorite charts and called upon friends and fellow musicians who enjoyed the style just as much as they did.

The band's focus quickly changed from a serious reading band to one that concentrated on original music and arrangements. Armed with some great writers and arrangers in the band (and an emphasis on commissioning material from Chicago-area writers), the book grew quickly. With a wealth of originals in the book, it didn't take long for the band to develop their unique voice and sound. While the inspiration for these arrangements may come from Jazz Standards,  Blues, and the Great American Songbook, the band has also tapped into a wealth of material an entire generation has been raised on - Video Games.

Blueshift released their first album in 2020 on JeruJazz records, followed by a 45 RPM single featuring Chicago Blues Musicians Guy King, Jimmy Johnson, and Andrew Duncanson. Their first full album of video game music will be released with Los Angeles-based label iam8bit in 2022.