UM Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival

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How to Apply

Register your Group (s) HERE.
Application Deadline is February 16, 2017

Already registered? Read particpant information.

If you have any questions, please contact Rob Tapper at
Buddy DeFranco Jazz Student Group

Great Music/Spectacular Education:

The University of Montana College of Visual and Performing Arts in conjunction with the School of Music is proud to announce the 2017 edition of the UM Buddy DeFrancoJazz Festival which will occur on March 16-17, 2017. The emphasis of this instrumental and vocal jazz festival is on education, improvisation and the jazz language.

Students in a Jazz MasterclassThe 2017 Festival Artists will include such talents as Brad Leali (saxophone), Chris Smith (drum set), Dana Landry (piano), Nate Kimball (trombone), Ashley Summers (bass) and Jim Sisko (trumpet).  On both evenings, experience a spectacular musical event with the High School Best Section Big Band and outstanding soloists from the daytime events along with more musical artistry.

The fun and learning continues throughout each day with clinics, ensemble critiques, workshops, open rehearsals and master classes with guest artists, local musicians and faculty from the University of Montana.

The UM Buddy DeFranco Festival promises to be an exciting opportunity to learn more about the language of jazz and a great weekend of music and jazz education.

2017 Guest Artists

Buddy DeFranco 2017 Jazz Festival Guest Artists


Brad Leali, a native of Denver, Colorado, joined the University of North Texas faculty in August 2008 as Professor of Jazz Saxophone. In addition to studio teaching, he teaches jazz performance fundamentals and directs the Three O’Clock Lab Band. A native of Denver, Colorado, Leali received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from North Texas in 1989 where he played with the One O’Clock Lab Band. After earning his Master’s degree from Rutgers University in 2005, he was appointed head of the jazz program at Texas Tech University, where several scholarships have been established in his name, including the Brad Leali Endowed Jazz Scholarship.

To learn more about Brad Leali, visit


Though an avid record collector, college basketball fan, and coffee drinker, my life revolves around family and jazz music. My wife Nina and I moved to New York City in 2004. I've spent much of the past 12 years in my favorite borough - Queens - walking our soulful dog Emma, eating amazing food, and of course shedding. When not hanging in Queens, I am busy teaching online lessons, working as a jazz clinician throughout the country, and playing gigs here in NYC. 

Performances with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vanguard, Dick Oatts Quintet at the Des Moines Jazz Festival, Joe Magnarelli/Jerry Weldon Quartet, and Ben Markley Big Band featuring Greg Gisbert and Terell Stafford are recent highlights. My drumming has also supported artists including Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Gary Smulyan, Benny Green, and Rich Perry in venues such as The Blue Note, Birdland, Chicago Jazz Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, Dizzy’s Club, and Jazz Showcase. Furthermore my recorded output features a variety of settings including small group, big band, accompanying jazz and pop vocalists, as well as hip-hop, rock, and funk. No matter the musical situation I strive to put the music first and make it feel good.

To learn more about Chris Smith, visit his website at


Dana Landry is Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Music at the University of Northern Colorado, where he directs UNC Jazz Lab Band I and teaches jazz piano. He also serves as the Artistic Director of the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival and Director of UNC Jazz Press. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Landry was the Director of Jazz Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.

To learn more about Dana Landry, visit

Friday 2017 Buddy DeFranco Guest Performers


ASCAP Award-winning composer, trombonist, and educator Nate Kimball is a Graduate of the Downbeat Award-Winning UNLV Jazz Program with a Master’s Degree in Jazz Composition and dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Jazz Trombone Performance and Jazz Composition. Nate Kimball, a 30-year-old Las Vegas native, currently performs full-time as the trombonist and back-up bassist with Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity show at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. Nate’s most notable accolades include winning the 2014 New York Youth Symphony’s “First Music” competition, ASCAP’s 2011 Young Composer Award, the 2010 International Trombone Association “J.J. Johnson” Jazz Competition, and the 2012 Reno Jazz Festival “Outstanding Trombone Soloist” Award. As a performer, Nate has performed for or recorded with The Killers, Chick Corea, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, The Count Basie Orchestra, The Donny and Marie Show, The Producers, and many more. As a writer, Nate founded his own music publishing company, “Natek Music”, in 2014, debuting his trade show booth at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Nate has received numerous grants for his efforts in writing including, most recently, the Artist Fellowship Grant from the Nevada Arts Council for his career excellence in the field of composition. Nate also has received numerous commissions from professionals and educators, and has had his original works performed internationally. Nate continues to work as a clinician and guest artist at universities around the nation.

To learn more about Nate Kimball, visit his website at


Bassist, composer and educator Ashley Summerswas born on the West Coast of Canada.  With her musical family as her earliest inspiration, she began to play double bass at the age of fifteen, and shortly after moved to Toronto, Ontario, to study with Canadian jazz luminary Don Thompson.  She later completed a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where she was an Associate Instructor to jazz education legend David Baker.

To learn more about Ashley Summers, visit her website at


Jim Sisko has become one of the most sought after teachers, and performers in the Northwest. The Jim Sisko Quintet has been featured at countless festivals and concert venues, including the Port Townsend Jazz Festival, Bumbershoot, The Art of Jazz Series and Jazz Under the Stars. He has performed with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, The Manhattan Transfer, and the rock band Yes to name a few.  Jim has served as principal trumpet for the Yakima Symphony, and has performed with the Seattle Symphony as well.  He can be heard on over 40 motion picture soundtracks, and many independent c.d. projects. Sisko’s trumpet students are well versed in both classical and jazz styles, and are consistently recognized as some of the strongest players in the region. Jim has served as a Camp Director for Jazz camps throughout the Northwest, and is currently the director of the Shoreline Jazz Camp.  In addition to his home teaching studio, Jim is the director of the Instrumental Music program at Bellevue College and is the director of the award winning Bellevue College Jazz Bands.

Buddy DeFranco concert Schedule