Photo of Marcus Roberts via

It’s one of the biggest events on UNC’s cultural calendar: the annual Carolina Jazz Festival.

And this year, the festival is turning 40.

The 40th annual Carolina Jazz Festival gets under way Wednesday, February 15, and runs through Saturday, February 18. This year’s headline concert features Marcus Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation, Friday night at Memorial Hall. There will also be an artist in residence, tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens; he’ll perform multiple times throughout the weekend, including Saturday night to close out the festival.

Get the full schedule of events here.

Other highlights include performances by UNC faculty and students – and the annual “Essentially Ellington” High School Jazz Festival as well. (Added bonus: aside from Marcus Roberts’ concert in Memorial Hall, most of the performances will be in Hill Hall’s brand-new Moeser Auditorium.)

Jim Ketch is a trumpeter, a music professor, and the director of jazz studies at UNC; he’s also the founder of the Carolina Jazz Festival and he’s organized it for the last 40 years. Ketch spoke Thursday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


For more info on the festival, visit