Bethel College’s jazz studies department has a tradition of hosting renowned jazz artists, and Joel Boettger, interim director of the program, is keeping that up.
Bethel will welcome trumpeter Clay Jenkins, who also teaches at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., to campus March 11 and 12.
Jenkins will join the Joel Boettger Quartet at 6 p.m. March 11 in Mojo’s Coffee Shop in Schultz Student Center on campus.
March 12, Jenkins will be the special guest of Bethel College Jazz Ensemble I, which Boettger directs, at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center.
Both events are free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken at the March 12 concert to support jazz study and performance at Bethel College.
Boettger is a graduate of Eastman, where he met first met Jenkins.
“I was in a combo with him one semester,” Boettger recalls. “I went to him a fair amount for advice about school and life.
“He’s really down to earth, and has an intense amount of perseverance. [His advice was] ‘Keep going, keep doing, it’ll work out,’ and that’s exactly what I needed.”
Boettger knew spring break at Eastman was coming up, so he asked Jenkins if he would consider being a Bethel guest artist, and Jenkins agreed immediately.
The Joel Boettger Quartet, playing with Jenkins March 11, is Boettger on saxophone; Kimberly Garey Trujillo, Bethel percussion instructor, on drums; Dale Black, a studio musician from Wichita, on bass; and John Goering, who leads the salsa group Banda Hispanica at Wichita State University, on piano.
Bethel Jazz I is: saxophones, Neil Smucker, senior from North Newton, AJ Dugan, freshman from Walton, Caleb Abbott, sophomore from Wichita, Tom Tien Lo and Matt Lind; trumpets, Connor Born, senior from North Newton, Gabe Johnson, senior from Abilene, Alec Loganbill, senior from Hesston, and Brad Shores; trombones, Billie Selichnow, senior from Wichita, Adam Kroeker, sophomore from Augusta, Nate Kroeker, senior from Augusta, and Jerod Kaufman, freshman from Moundridge; tuba, Trae Gehring, freshman from Pretty Prairie; piano, Ian Gingrich-Gaylord; bass, Eli Brockway, senior from McPherson; guitar, Jayce Yoder, senior from Topeka; and drums and auxiliary percussion, Shawn Bontrager, junior from North Newton, and Chuck Lenley, junior from Kansas City, Mo.
“The quartet will be playing some standards and some of my originals,” Boettger said. “With the big band, there are a few charts that were written for him and haven’t even been recorded yet, and also some of his work that was arranged for big band.”
Jenkins has an undergraduate degree from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), Denton, where he studied trumpet with John Haynie.
He was a student of James Stamp and, at the University of Southern California, Boyde Hood. He earned a master’s degree at USC, and is currently associate professor of jazz trumpet at Eastman.
Jenkins has played with the Stan Kenton Orchestra (he appear on three of the group’s live albums), the big bands of Harry James and Buddy Rich, and the Count Basie Orchestra.
In addition to teaching, Jenkins maintains an active performance and recording schedule. He has performed and given clinics all over the United States and Canada, as well as in Japan, Italy, Korea, Germany, Portugal, Russia and South Africa.
His solo recordings include Rings, Give and Gather, Yellow Flowers After, Azure Eyes, Blues State and Good Signs, on the Jazz Compass label.
His ensemble with co-leader Kim Richmond has released two recordings, Range and Look at the Time.
Jenkins has also recorded with Milt Jackson, Harold Danko, Rich Perry, the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Trio East, Billy Harper, Lyle Mays, Peter Erskine, Ray Brown, Dr. John, Bob Sheppard, Jim Widner, Eric Reed, Moacir Santos, Gary Hobbs, Bill Perkins, Joe LaBarbera, John LaBarbera, Pat LaBarbera, Bill Cunliffe, Billy Childs, Steve Houghton, Lennie Niehaus, Ernestine Anderson, Kurt Elling, Diana Krall and Miki Coltrane.