• About the Sunbelt Jazz Festival

    The Sunbelt Jazz Festival is an annual event sponsored by the University of West Georgia's Department of Music under the direction of Dr. Daniel Bakos, Professor of Music, and Director of Jazz Studies and Music Theory.  The event consists of workshops conducted by the guest artist and a culminating concert featuring the guest artist accompanied by the UWG Jazz Ensemble. Each year features a different well-known guest jazz artist.  The school jazz groups in attendance have the opportunity to be critiqued by, and rehearse with the guest artist.  This year's guest is percussionist Ignacio Berroa from Dizzy Gillespie's famous quartet. Since  beginning in 1986, the Sunbelt Jazz Festival has featured many notable jazz musicians nation wide, including Bobby Shew, Chris Vadala, Jerry Coker, Steve Wiest, Rob McConnell, Gary Foster, Lew Soloff, Marvin Stamm, Giacomo Gates, Ken Trimmins, and one of West Georgia's own, Mariano Pacetti.  The University of West Georgia Jazz Ensemble is the resident band for the annual Sunbelt Jazz Festival.

  • Sunbelt Application

    Click here to download the  2016 Sunbelt Application form.

  • 31st Annual Sunbelt Jazz Festival

    Townsend Center for the Performing Arts
    The University of West Georgia
    Carrollton, Georgia 30118-2210
    April 8, 2016


    One of the country's foremost woodwind artists, Chris Vadala is in demand as a jazz/classical performer and educator. He has appeared on more than 100 recordings to date, as well as innumerable jingle sessions, film and TV scores, performing on all the saxophones, flutes, and clarinets. A native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he graduated from the Eastman School of Music, earning the honor of the Performer's Certificate in saxophone as well as a B.M. in Music Education, received an M.A. in clarinet from Connecticut College, and pursued postgraduate study in woodwinds at Eastman.

    Professor Vadala, Director of Jazz Studies and Saxophone Professor, is a UM Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland. Previous academic appointments include teaching studio woodwinds and conducting jazz ensembles at Connecticut College, Montgomery College, Hampton University, Prince George's Community College and Mount Vernon College, as well as serving as Visiting Professor of Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music, 1995 and 2001.

    Mr. Vadala's performing career has been highlighted by a long tenure as standout woodwind artist with the internationally recognized Chuck Mangione Quartet, which included performances in all 50 states, Canada, Australia, Japan, Phillipines, China, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, England, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, and Switzerland, and performing credits on five gold and two platinum albums, plus two Grammy, two Emmy, one Georgie (AGVA) and one Golden Globe Award. In addition, he has performed and/or recorded with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Chick Corea, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Placido Domingo, Sarah Vaughn, Natalie Cole, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, New York Voices, Frankie Valli, and many others. In 2009, he became a member of the Award-Winning Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and has been the first call saxophonist with National Symphony Orchestra for many years.

    As one of the Selmer Company's most requested Artist in Residence clinicians, Mr. Vadala travels worldwide, performing with and conducting student and professional jazz ensembles, symphonic bands, and orchestras. He has appeared with countless musical ensembles across the nation and Canada, and has conducted one All-Eastern and 49 All-State jazz ensembles as well as numerous All-County and All-District Jazz Ensembles. Mr. Vadala served three terms as President of the Maryland Unit of the International Association for Jazz Education, was a permanent member of its MD Executive Board (College Faculty Representative), and a Woodwind Representative to the International Resource Team.

    Mr. Vadala's column on woodwind doubling appeared regularly in the Saxophone Journal for over 10 years, and he has authored articles for many other magazines. A Downbeat magazine poll finalist in four categories and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study grant, he has published a number of original compositions and arrangements (Medici Music & Cimarron Music Press). His book, Improve Your Doubling (Dorn Productions) is acclaimed as a valuable addition to woodwind literature. In addition to his debut solo CD, Out of the Shadows, (Art of Life Records) ,his new quartet CD, Eastern Standard Time (Art of Life Records), is already receiving rave reviews! Additional recording/publications include Jazz/Rock in the USA, Jazz Solos, Nothin' But Jazz, Jazz Adventures, Modern Jazz-Rock and R & B, and Fusion Solos (6 books with play-a-long CDs by DeHaske/Curnow), as well as a contributions to Warner Brother's Approaching the Standardsplay-a-long improvisation series and Jazz Pedagogy (The Jazz Educator's Handbook and Resource Guide). He also has the honor of being included in the recent publication, "The History of the Top 40 Sax Solos (1955-1998)." You can hear him on such TV and movie soundtracks as “Criminal Minds,” “Zombieland,” “Avalon,” “Anchorman 2,” “Intolerable Cruelty,” “Let’s Go to Prison,” “Fargo,” “Cannonball Run,” “The Children of Sanchez,” Chevrolet Colorado Truck commercial, among others.


    Come and perform for Chris Vadala at the Thirty-first Annual Sunbelt Jazz Festival.  Mr. Vadala will listen to your ensemble, provide a written critique, then rehearse and/or play with your group.  This is an opportunity for your students to be directed by and perform with a great jazz musician.  Imagine the excitement and inspiration your students will have working so closely with such a renowned artist.


    Presented by the University of West Georgia Jazz Ensemble & The Townsend Center for the Performing Arts

    Dr. Daniel Bakos, Director
    For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Bakos at:
    Office: (678) 839-6269
    FAX:   (678) 839-6259
    Email: dbakos@westga.edu
    Websites: www.westga.edu/~dbakos/

    link to Chris Vadala's website: ChrisVadala.com