40th Annual Northwest Jazz Festival

February 21st, 2023

Festival Philosophy

The Northwest College Jazz Festival is a non-competitive performance opportunity for vocal and instrumental jazz groups at all levels of proficiency. High-quality assessment and instruction will be provided by respected jazz educators in a positive and constructive learning environment. This festival encourages young musicians and teachers to grow through camaraderie and musical exchange. The day finishes with a concert with our headlining performers (see below) and outstanding student groups.

The fee for registration is $225 for Jazz Bands and Jazz Choirs, and $150 for Jazz Combos. Each entry will receive a 20-minute performance slot followed by a 20-minute adjudication slot. The deadline to register is Monday February 6th. Be sure to fill out both the Festival Registration and the Setup Form for your group.

Jazz Festival Concert: 6:30PM - NPA Auditorium
General Admission Tickets: $25
Student Tickets: $15


In the increasingly popular world of a cappella singing groups, Accent has carved out its own niche. Inspired by the wizardly jazz harmonies of TAKE 6 and, before them, The Hi-Lo’s, the six singers of Accent, all of the accomplished arrangers and instrumentalists in their own right, are taking their love of close-harmony jazz singing – the denser and more intricate the better – as far as it can go.

The improbable meeting of Jean-Baptiste (“JB”) Craipeau (France), Simon Åkesson (Sweden), Danny Fong (Canada), Andrew Kesler (Canada), James Rose (England), and Evan Sanders (USA), six self-described “jazz vocal nerds”, could have happened only in the age of social media. After becoming long-distance fans of each other’s multi-tracked videos on YouTube, they joined forces in 2011, collaborating online on songs and videos.

Since then, they have released 5 albums, performed at the London A Capella Festival, played dates across Europe, North America, and Asia, and were featured in 2 sold-out Christmas shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Their singular blend and arrangements have been acclaimed by a cappella devotees and fellow musicians alike, including Cedric Dent of TAKE 6 and Clark Burroughs of The Hi-Lo’s.

Rob Tapper is Professor of Trombone and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Montana where he coordinates the Jazz Program, the UM Jazz Festival, the UM Jazz Artist Series, and the trombone studio. 

A relentless advocate for music education, Rob initiated the Spokane All-City Jazz Program 2001 and most recently the Missoula All-City Jazz Program for middle school & high school musicians in 2017. Rob created in 2014 the UM Jazz Artist Series bringing internationally recognized jazz musicians to campus such as Matt Wilson, Benny Green, Kneebody, Jeff Hamilton and others with the mission of performing as well as offering musical outreach to students and community.

With the help of Missoula music educators, he helped initiate the Montana JAzz All-State weekend encompassing high school musicians from across the state of Montana. Rob is in the Washington Music Education Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame and is proud to have received the University of Montana 2019 Community Engagement Award and Arts Missoula Educator of the Year.

Rob is currently Principal Trombone in the Missoula Symphony and is also a member of the UM Jazz Collective and Founder/Artistic Director of the Missoula Jazz Orchestra (MJO).

Festival Registration - Deadline 2/6

Registration is now closed for the 2023 Jazz Festival
Submit your group's stage set up and performance information.
Submit your band's stage set up and performance information.

Northwest Jazz Festival

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