URBANA — The ninth CU Jazz Festival takes place this weekend with a variety of shows and events around Champaign-Urbana.
One of those performances will celebrate the memory of a local jazz legend this weekend. Morgan Powell, a former professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Music, was revered as a trombonist in the central Illinois jazz scene before he died of pancreatic cancer in August.
To honor Powell’s memory the Jazz Friends, a local group of his close friends, will perform some of his music at this year’s jazz festival. The performance will be at the Urbana Free Library on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
“We’re just really sad he’s gone,” Jenelle Orcherton, the festival’s artistic director, said. “And this is just one of the ways we want to remember him and share our memories of him with each other.”
The festival will kick off on Thursday night with an opening night performance at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts at 5:30 p.m., followed by an afterparty called “Vinyl & Vibes.” Guests can bring an album to share and discuss with others.
“I think it’s a neat sort of conversation starter when someone says ‘Oh, you know, here’s this album I really like,’ and someone else — maybe they’ve never heard of it, or it’s a new to them record or they really don’t like it,” Orcherton said. “It always sparks a lot of conversation.”
In addition to Sunday afternoon’s memorial, the weekend’s lineup includes performances by Olivia Flanigan and the Repertory Jazz Orchestra on Friday night at Copper Creek Church, the Jon Irabagon Trio on Saturday afternoon at the Krannert Art Museum, and Conspiracy Deliracy on Sunday evening in The Space.