The Houston Jazz Festival

October 25, 2020

Houston, Tx

The Houston Jazz Festival presents

Message from Bu

We are happy to announce the 2020 Houston Jazz Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater. In partnership with the Art Blakey Estate, we are pleased to present “Message from Bu’ featuring “Bu’s Jazz Messengers” come to Miller Theater to celebrate his 101th birthday on Sunday, October 25th 2020. The event is live and will be streaming on several platforms some of which include NPR Live Sessions and Facebook Live.

When: 6 p.m. Sunday
Estimated running time: 3 hours
Where: Live stream only from Miller Outdoor
Details: free watch on YouTube – click link >

When / Where

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Streaming from Miller Theater on NPR Live Sessions / Houston Jazz Festival

Performance Schedule at Miller

6:00 pm |  Sparks, Simmons, Carrol with Jay Mck: Shelley Carrol-sax, Bobby Sparks- Organ, Jay Mck- Bass, Mark Simmons- Drums & special guests.

7:30 pm | Frank Lacy with guests Bobby Watson- Alto Sax, Valery Ponomarev- Trumpet, Curtis Lundy- bass, Shelley Carrol- tenor sax, Michael Palma- Piano, Jerome Gillespie- drums


Performances by Bu’s Jazz Messengers with Frank Lacy, Bobby Watson, Valery Ponomarev, Curtis Lundy! Carrol, Simmons & Sparks

We are happy to announce the 2020 Houston Jazz Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater. In partnership with the Art Blakey Estate, we are pleased to present “Message from Bu’ featuring “Bu’s Jazz Messengers” come to Miller Theatre to celebrate his 101st birthday.

This premier version of the messengers is under the direction of Houston Native, TSU alumni and four time Grammy winner Frank Lacy, Kansas native saxophonist Bobby Watson, Valery Ponomarev, Michael Palma and Curtis Lundy. Mr. Lacy, Mr. Watson, Mr. Ponomarev and Mr. Lundy are all alumni of what is affectionately known as the “University of Blakey”. Set design will feature the works of Master Artist Jesse Lott. The journeymen all served under Mr. Blakey as Music Directors of the Jazz Messengers, a pedigree that uniquely positions them to bring this group of fire breathing Hard Bop Master Musicians to the Miller Theatre. Mr. Lacy is the consummate “Jazz Artist”, perennial poll winner in several disciplines, a multi-instrumentalist and award winning vocalist. Mr. Watson’s whose credits are as long as your arm is featured on more than a dozen Jazz Messenger recordings, the most of any of the Messenger ensembles

Also this year, Houston native Shelley Carrol, long time veteran of Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Duke Ellington Orchestra will perform with Bobby Sparks, Mark Simmons with bassist Jay McK. Not since the inception of Texas’ most seminal jazz group, the (Jazz) Crusaders has there been a homegrown band as unique as Carrol-Simmons-Sparks (CSS). Though their journey is quite different from the former, CSS have landed in their place to carry the torch of Lone-Star greatness. Rarely do we get to experience such a wealth of musicianship and style existing collectively in one musical group.

Frank Lacy

Frank Lacy leads Bu's Messengers to perform at the Houston Jazz Festival live stream from Miller Outdoor Theater

Streaming from Miller Outdoor Theater

This year the Miller is taking all precautions and has postponed all live events with an audience, however there will be streaming events held at the theater with no audience on location. It will entirely depend on the event. The Houston Jazz Festival fortunately will be live streaming from the Theater with live performers who will be making the trip from New York and other locations for this special performance. Performers will be practicing social distancing as per the CDC guidelines.
Miller Outdoor Theater offers the most diverse season of professional entertainment of any Houston performance venue, and it’s all FREE! Classical music, jazz, world music and dance, ballet, Shakespeare, musical theatre, classic films, and much, much more are included in this year’s outstanding line-up. Relax in the covered seating area or enjoy a pre-performance picnic on the hillside. All performances at Miller are family-friendly!


Our great sponsors

“Sponsored in part by the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board”

If events like this inspire you, Please take a brief moment to contribute

Highlights from the
2019 Houston Jazz Festival

At the 2019 Houston Jazz Festival last fall we were honored that the legend himself Hubert Laws and the Houston Jazz Collective band featuring Bobby Sparks, Shelley Carrol, Andre Hayward, & Mark Simmons took part in the Houston 2019 Jazz Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater on Saturday, Sept. 21st 7 pm.

The entire festival was held as a 2-day event. On Saturday, September 21st 2019 the opening night was at the Miller Outdoor Theater during the evening. The second day was a day until night event at Axelrad on Sunday, Sept. 22nd 2019. Doc Loc and the Swangers, Kim Prevost & Bill Solley and many other artists took part in the memorable outdoor event. 

The festival was hosted by Houston Jazz Collective a non-profit 501 (c) organization. Your donations are what help make these events happen. Please enjoy and share this video that showcases some highlights from the 2019 Houston Jazz Festival.

The Mission

In the Spirit of Jazz, our mission is to entertain, enrich and expand the community for Jazz through Performance, Education and Advocacy.

Houston Jazz Collective Organization &
Houston Jazz Collective Performance Group

The Houston Jazz Collective is an non-profit organization that is a producer of events including the Houston Jazz Festival, other local jazz events and believe strongly in our educational outreach program. It is also the name of the performing entity, a “jazz band” or stated another way, “a collective”. The collective is comprised of well known, as well as local musicians or any musicians that believe in our greater vision.

Want to join us in making a difference? Our current focus is delivering a great Houston Jazz Festival this Fall 2019 at The Miller Outdoor Theater.  Any donation will help make an impact!

Past Events

The Contemporary Arts Museum

August 1st 2019 6:30-7:30 at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston “The Don Wilkerson Tribute Featuring Shelley Carrol and The Houston Jazz Collective”.

Special Event: Second set of the Don Wilkerson Tribute at
Cafe 4212 with special guests

August 1st 2019 8:30pm after the Contemporary Arts Museum the second set of “The Don Wilkerson Tribute Featuring Shelley Carrol and The Houston Jazz Collective” was be held at Cafe 4212 Restaurant & Bar with host T.R. Reed.

In this line-up The Houston Jazz Collective features Shelley Carrol, Andre Hayward, Bobby Sparks and Mark Simmons:

Here is sample of a Houston Jazz Collective’s All Star Tribute performance playing Houston Saxophonist legend Arnett Cobb’s most famous tune “Smooth Sailing” for the Houston Public Media’s Skyline Sessions filmed at the University of Houston Studios.

Jazz Musicology:
The Educational Outreach Program

The organization’s mission also encompasses an education program called Jazz Musicology. It has several branch programs, one of which is “The Houston Center for After School Jazz Programs”. In this video you will see Bob Dorough, Andre Hayward & Shelley Carrol mentoring & entertaining the youth at the Boys and Girl Harbor, a charitable facility for abused, abandoned, neglected children ages (5-18) during an afternoon day program. 

Scroll to Top