Event Line Up for High Country Jazz Festival 2023 

Jazz Festival Appetizer – Thursday, June 8, 2023 
Jazz Dinner at Casa Rustica – June 8, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 
Casa Rustica fuses Old-World Italian cuisine with the fresh flavors of the High Country, much like jazz fuses elements from many different musical styles to create its own space. Todd Wright and Andy Page perform live jazz every Thursday night at the restaurant. We HIGHLY recommend reservations.

Screening of La La Land – June 8, 7 p.m. at Appalachian Theatre 
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star as Mia and Sebastian, an actress and a jazz musician pursuing their Hollywood dreams — and finding each other — in a vibrant celebration of hope, dreams, and love.

Jazz Festival Day 1 – Friday, June 9, 2023 

Jazz Lecture, June 9, 11 a.m., Blowing Rock Art and History Museum 
The Jazz Swing Feel: From Count Basie to Emmet Cohen  
This hour session led by Professor Todd Wright, the coordinator of Jazz Studies at Appalachian State University, will musically trace what it means to swing in jazz. 

Will Boyd Quintet, June 9, 5:30 p.m., Concerts on the Lawn at the Jones House Community Theatre 

Hailing from Orangeburg, S.C. by way of Queens, N.Y., Will Boyd now lives in Knoxville, TN, where he received his Master of Jazz Studies degree. A multi-reed instrumentalist, composer, and educator, Will has played with artists across many genres, including Leslie Odom, Jr., Doc Severinson, the Four Tops, and the Harry James Big Band. Will co-leads the group with his wife, Kelle Jolly, who is a jazz radio host and founder of Knoxville Women in Jazz Jam Festival.     

The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra®, directed by Scotty Barnhart, with guest vocalist Carmen Bradford, June 9, 7:30 p.m. at the Appalachian Theatre 

The preeminent 4/4 Swing band! Mixing blues and 4/4 swing rhythms with a driving beat, bands in Kansas City were the precursors and the standard bearers of the Swing Era and Modern Jazz. Taking band members from two KC bands and starting his own, the Count Basie Orchestra remains a driving force in the Jazz world today with an ensemble featuring band members hired by the legend himself.  

Jazz Festival Day 2 – Saturday, June 10, 2023 

Marquee Jazz, June 10, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., under the Marquee at the Appalachian Theatre 

Students from the Appalachian State University Hayes School of Music Jazz Studies program play in the grand tradition of street performers at this year’s Mast General Store High Country Jazz Festival.  

Emmet Cohen Trio, June 10, 7:30 p.m. at the Appalachian Theatre 

Emmet Cohen, the leader of the Emmet Cohen Trio, is an internationally acclaimed jazz artist and winner of the 2019 American Pianists Awards. He appears regularly with jazz greats Benny Golson, Tootie Heath, and Lea DeLaria among others. During the 2020 pandemic lockdown, he gained fame and revived the jazz genre with weekly live-streamed performances featuring a wide berth of jazz works.   

Jazz Festival Day 3 – Sunday, June 11, 2023 

Reggie Buie Group, June 11, 5:30 p.m., under the tent at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock 

A resident of Winston-Salem, Reggie Buie began his musical journey at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. From there, he attended Florida A & M and was a member of the famed “Marching 100.” He has earned both writing and recording credits on the national level while living in Miami. Now, the Reggie Buie Group is a regular on stage in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Raleigh swinging between smooth jazz and standards.