Singer Bruce Hornsby sits in front of a piano and organ
Three-time Grammy Award winner Bruce Hornsby plays the Gillioz Theatre Sept. 24. He's the headlining act for this year's Springfield Jazz Festival. (Photo: City of Springfield)

The Springfield Jazz Festival is back after a two-year hiatus and it’s bringing with it a big-name headliner.

“An Evening with Bruce Hornsby” at the Gillioz Theatre caps off the day-long festival Sept. 24 in downtown Springfield. The Springfield Jazz Festival also includes free live music on Park Central Square and Park Central East.

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“Our outstanding community partners look forward to building this event in the next few years to enhance cultural experiences, promote diversity and inclusion, and strengthen our talent attraction through street festivals such as Springfield Jazz Festival,” said Rusty Worley, executive director of the Downtown Springfield Association.

The Springfield Jazz Festival starts at noon and features performers from Missouri State University’s jazz program, Evangel University and local and regional jazz artists. Those performances are free and open to the public.

Then comes Hornsby’s show at 7:30 p.m. in the Gillioz Theatre.

“Hornsby is an American singer, virtuoso pianist, accordion player and songwriter,” a press release for the event said. “He is best known for his 1980s signature song ‘The Way It Is’ and the top five hits ‘Mandolin Rain’ and ‘The Valley Road,’ all recorded as Bruce Hornsby & The Range, and for his long association with the Grateful Dead.”

The native of Williamsburg, Virginia, has won three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist in 1987. He won Best Bluegrass Album in 1990 and Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1994. Hornsby continues to tour with his live band The Noisemakers, in addition to performing solo shows and his progressive bluegrass performances with Ricky Skaggs.

But he also performs jazz music. In 2007 he released “Camp Meeting,” his first total jazz album as The Bruce Hornsby Trio. He was joined by jazz giants Jack DeJohnette and Christian McBride.

Tickets for “An Evening with Bruce Hornsby” range from $45-$75 and can be purchased at the Gillioz Theatre’s website.

Springfield Jazz Festival, Sept. 24

Park Central East Stage – Across from The Gillioz

  • 12:30 p.m. – Robbing Ford
  • 1:30 p.m. – Matt Harp Trio
  • 2:30 p.m. – MOJO Lite
  • 3:30 p.m. – Arthur Duncan Jazz Group
  • 4:30 p.m. – Hamm/Aho/Morrison with Christin Bohrisch
  • 5:30 p.m.  The Missouri Jazz Orchestra (MOJO)

Park Central Square Pavillion Stage

  • 12:00 p.m. – MSU Jazz Symposium I
  • 1:00 p.m. – Evangel University Jazz Combo
  • 2:00 p.m. – MSU Jazz Symposium II
  • 3:00 p.m. – Royal Court Jazz Ensemble
  • 4:00 p.m. – MSU Trombone Ensemble

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger