Ja’Markus Gary of Alton High SchoolNicholas Wooden of Marquette Catholic High School

Tim Jarden, photo by Pete BasolaALTON - The annual Miles Davis Jazz Festival from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at Post Commons in Alton will not only showcase jazz music but two $500 college scholarship presentations will be made to Alton High’s Ja’Markus Gary and Marquette Catholic’s Nicholas Wooden.

Part of the purpose of the festival each year is to honor jazz legend Miles Davis and jazz music but also to recognize two students and present them with college scholarships. The Miles Davis Jazz Festival event is a fundraiser for the scholarships.

Abe Lee Barham, a former Alton school teacher, is one of the organizers and founders of the annual fest. He said this year Tim Jarden, a fellow former Alton school teacher, and his Third Coast Band will be the headliner. Big George Brock and Rosmo Johnson are two others scheduled to appear.

Alton is the birthplace of Miles Davis, the famous jazz musician. Today in Downtown Alton there is a statue of Davis the jazz icon. Davis with other icons Chuck Berry, Albert King, Ike, and Tina Turner, were pioneers in both jazz and the St. Louis blues along the Mississippi River.

Barham said he and the other organizers are very thankful to have the festive event again this year after last year’s COVID-19 situation prevented it. He said last year, they still presented the two $500 scholarships.

Tickets are $25 and are available at the door Saturday night. Barham said some tickets are still available. The ticket includes a buffet-style dinner after the first act and a cash bar.

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