Gene Harris Jazz Festival 

Thursday, April 7-Saturday, April 9

Kenny Barron gives his jazz hands a rest before the Gene Harris Jazz Festival.

Carol Friedman

Kenny Barron gives his jazz hands a rest before the Gene Harris Jazz Festival.

Since its start in 1998, the Gene Harris Jazz Festival has been celebrated as an event that welcomes spring to the Treasure Valley. The festival was created by the late great Gene Harris himself to improve the quality of life in Boise through music education. And it has been wildly successful for more than a decade. Not only has the festival made Boise jazzier, it's helped to make it the cultural capital of Idaho.

With three days of events, this year's festival is bigger and better than ever. From jazz clinics and workshops to student performances, events will be spread out at venues across Boise State, including the fancy Stueckle Sky Center, the Simplot Ballroom and the Morrison Center. It's a weekend that might leave you a little out of breath but with a lot of swing in your step.

Of course, the jazz performances are the central affair. This year, the main event is the Gene Harris Legacy Concert, which features a performance by pianist Kenny Barron. Each day has both a headlining concert and a matinee--with performances by artists including the Amina Figarova Sextet and Louis Hayes' Cannonball Legacy Band--as well as additional performances by the Boise State Jazz Ensembles.

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