Welcome to Spenard!
We celebrate all musical genres and believe that Alaskan music builds and strengthens Alaskan community.
Spenard Jazz Fest (SJF) was founded in 2008 by a group of Anchorage musicians looking for a listening audience. Since then, Spenard Jazz Fest has presented hundreds of concerts, dance performances, jams, poetry readings, parades and pop-up concerts, film screenings, and art exhibits during the annual Main Stage Festival in May and June.
SJF house concerts and yard parties bring the music deep into the community. If you want music in your home for yourself and your friends, let us know!
Over the past 16 years, SJF has showcased a massive amount of original music by local and visiting artists. This year, we celebrate the quality of Alaskan music by publishing THE ALASKA REAL BOOK with over 200 charts by AK composers.
The best part of Spenard Jazz Fest is our members. Become part of Spenard Jazz Fest today!
2023 SJF EVENTS
2023 SJF PERFORMERS
Forged in Anchorage in 2021, the A-Town Sharps are a classic small jazz combo playing standards and originals with influences of Blues, Bossa Nova, Rock, French Pop, Greek and Gypsy Jazz to create a playful and popular mix.
Anchorage Jazz Ensemble
The 18-member Anchorage Jazz Ensemble has a rich 40 year history of providing the Anchorage community with a variety of big band music, from the 40s swing era to the present.
Chris Dingman is a vibraphonist and composer who has done significant work with legendary artists Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as well as next generation visionaries such as Linda Oh, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Lehman, and many others, performing around the world including India, Vietnam, and extensively in Europe and North America.
Starting in March of 2022 in Lisa's living room with Elliot, Shivan, Lisa, and Kyle, the group added Alison on bass guitar and became Farrago Five. Beginning with an eclectic mixture of cover songs, the group quickly started writing and recording original songs, and now they're coming to a stage near you.
Joe Craig Septet
A founding artist of Spenard Jazz Fest, enjoying each year a new opportunity to bring mainstream jazz to the Anchorage community.
Naomi Moon Siegel
Trombonist, composer and educator Naomi Moon Siegel has "crafted a truly unique aesthetic, combining elements of straightahead, fusion and modern jazz with world-music flavors in a way that sounds entirely of the 21st century" (JAZZIZ). A recipient of the Montana Arts Council Artist Innovation Award, Chamber Music America Performance Plus Grant, and Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award, she has released two albums as a bandleader to critical acclaim. Her Missoula quartet features phenoms Lhanna Writesel on alto sax, Tommy Sciple on bass and Ed Stalling on drums.
Phil Knowlton Band
Clon Von Fitz alumni Phil Knowlton and Sandra Calvillo have joined with Phil's regular bassist and drummer, Mapy Preskitt and Larry Kropp, along with various guests on piano and/or guitar, on a musical journey thru straight-ahead and more modern avenues of Jazz and original music.
The 7 Duo
Michelle Eliza and Mike Miller met over 10 years ago, and have been playing music together ever since. Michelle has the uncanny ability to combine powerhouse vocals, with sweet tender tones to create a uniquely distinct sound. Mike has been everywhere and plays just about anything, including folk, rock, funk, and classical music.
Williwaw Blue has been presenting their mix of Jazz, Great American Songbook tunes, Pop gems and original music for two years. Members Tom Lambert, John Weeks and Karl Wilhelmi have each been playing in Anchorage for many years, in a variety of bands and musical styles. The piano - bass - guitar trio format is augmented with electric mandolin and vocals.
Alaska Electronic Orchestra
Yngvil Vatn Guttu & Rick Zelinsky for nearly 15 years have developed a common language, combining horns, electronic effects, throughtful compositions, and enthralling improvisations. This long-standing Alaskan Duo equals a meaningful listen experience that explores essential elements of music making.
Aspenyarrow, Talkeetna grown singer-songwriter, was raised in choir and river sand, seasoned in the cover scene and dark winters, and is now releasing her own music. Honest, heartfelt, sweet as birch water, her jazz influenced folk pop with beautiful vocals will awaken your feels and tickle your ear snails.
Pianist/Vocalist/Composer Dawn Clement has established herself as one of the most sought-after musicians working today. With her joyful presence, consummate technique and distinctive sound, Clement has gained the attention and respect of musicians, critics, and fans through the US and abroad. “In all this world of jazz, there are very few individual voices, no matter what the instrument, but Dawn has come up with a voice that’s unique…” says legendary jazz trombonist Julian Priester. Originally from Seattle and now based in Colorado, Clement is a featured artist at SJF 2023.
Anchorage-based Folk Medicine formed in 2018 and has written, published, and performed original songs that draw stylistically from jazz, folk, and rock and feature inspired lyrics relevant to our times. The power of music to heal and bring community together are of central importance to Folk Medicine.
John Damberg Latin Jazz Quintet
The John Damberg Latin Jazz Quintet is composed of John Damberg on marimba, vibes, steel drum & Latin percussion, Laura Koenig on flute, Mark Manners on guitar, Bob Andrews on bass, Cameron Cartland on drum set and Latin percussion. The ensemble’s repertoire features original music by noted Alaskan composers John Damberg and Mark Manners and arrangements of compositions by the Latin and Jazz Masters of the 20th Century.
There aren’t many records whose writing is split between the humid haze of Tennessee and the harsh winter of the Alaskan tundra but Nelson Kempf‘s Family Dollar is one such record. A record with a strong sense of place existing on polar opposites of the world Family Dollar finds Kempf writing from a deeply personal perspective during a tumultuous decade of his life.
Pipeline Vocal Project
Pipeline Vocal Project is an a cappella trio based in Alaska, comprised of a lead, bass and vocal percussion. This group puts a unique twist on well-known favorites from all eras, whether it’s crossing decades or genres.
With a voice that comes in shades of Cash, Springsteen, and Stapleton, Tom Sless treads the lines between 60s outlaw, 70s Heartland, and modern Americana. Having performed more than 150 shows in just under two years in Fort Worth and throughout the country, Sless has taken an old school, in-person approach to marketing his music: winning one fan at a time.
Whitney “Witty” Youngman (a descendant of the King Island Iñupiaq community and a member of the Fort Peck Dakota) is a singer/songwriter whose influences include old soul music. A feature of the Anchorage downtown music scene, she made her first appearance at open mics in 2014 and has gained notoriety ever since.
Aurora Nova is a group of young musicians brought together by a passion for jazz. With a lead singer from Portugal, they present Bossa Nova stylings with influences of Brazilian samba and American jazz.
Endless Field is a collaborative instrumental guitar and bass duo featuring Jesse Lewis and Ike Sturm. They play original songs filled with intricate finger-style lines, improvisation and ambient textures. Drawing on inspiration from nature, the duo seeks to bring music to outdoor spaces, encouraging audiences to explore their own frontiers. Endless Field has toured internationally in Italy, Norway and across the U.S., performing at Lincoln Center, the U.N., SubCulture and live on NPR's Echoes Radio.
Jacqtet is a new small instrumental group featuring local artist original compositions focused on the fusion of jazz, funk, and progressive rock.
Keeley Boyle was born and raised in Kenai, AK. She has been based out of Nashville and touring all over the country for the last several years, but has recently decided to relocate to Anchorage, AK and participate in its burgeoning music scene.
Mark Manners Quintet
The Mark Manners Quintet is one of Alaska’s premier jazz groups featuring exciting original compositions by Mark Manners, John Damberg, and Rick Zelinsky. The rhythm section is solid as a rock with Bob Andrew on bass and Cameron Cartland on the drum set.
Pepper Kit’s music is at once familiar and new, capturing raw emotion and packaging it into relatable lyrics and clear vocals. Pepper draws inspiration from her favorite artists like Frightened Rabbit and Phoebe Bridgers. Her first EP "Stranger" and her music video/short horror film "Not so Very Merry" debuted in 2022.
Rosie Rush is a singer-songwriter from Anchorage, Alaska. Rosie’s music is influenced by works ranging from Billie Holiday to The Shins. Her immense love of family and the natural world have long heavily influenced her songwriting. Being a lifelong Alaskan, Rosie grew up outside in the summer sun and the winter snow, and she pours that into her music.
UNO Jazz Orchestra
UNO Jazz Orchestra's mission has been to bring the music of the Caribbean/South America to Alaska and promoting the culture of dancing. UNO's shows often feature the Anaya Dance Latin team who coordinate an atmosphere of social dancing.