Celebrate more than 50 years of history of the Reno Jazz Festival by participating today! Register your school groups and make your mark in this jazz festival history.
Since its first year in 1962, the festival has endeavored to bring to Reno both talented students and renowned professional artists.
The festival began in the early 1960s as the brainchild of John Carrico, Sr., the University’s director of bands.
RENO JAZZ FESTIVAL
With the death of Dr. Carrico in 1979, it fell to his son, John Carrico, Jr., to continue administering his father’s vision of Reno’s jazz festival. Since Carrico, Jr., was a full-time attorney and not affiliated with the University, it was difficult for him to devote the time necessary to maintain the festival.
In the late 1980s John Carrico, Jr., reached out to Larry Engstrom, a newly hired University music faculty member, and began discussing the possible return of the festival to the University.
As his son, John Carrico Jr. explains, “In 1962, my father, John Carrico, Sr., was inspired by a number of very talented musicians in the area; he created the Reno Stage Band Festival, which hosted five high school bands and a final concert featuring the University Stage Band and guest artist Louis Bellson.
educational jazz festival
In 1991, Dr. Engstrom and the University assumed the responsibility for the implementation of the Reno Jazz Festival.
“It made sense,” explains Engstrom, who became the festival’s director, and who had played in the festival years before as a student.
“A major incentive was the chance to recruit from all over the west to encourage students to study music and jazz in Reno.”
Since that time, the University has established the Program in Jazz and Improvisational Music.
Together with five faculty members the Festival has re-established itself as one of the largest educational jazz festivals in the United States.