Joe Wyatt
Published May 23, 2018

Amarillo College, a popular destination for jazz enthusiasts on Tuesday nights in June, will present more free concerts this summer on the Washington Street Campus than ever before – as June Jazz for the first time extends well into July.

June JazzAudience turnout has increased dramatically since June Jazz debuted at Amarillo College back in 1995, so in addition to four traditional dates in June, this year’s outdoor series will also feature concerts on the first two Tuesday’s of July.

“People have been asking us for years to expand June Jazz beyond just June,” Dr. Jim Laughlin, professor of music and originator of June Jazz, said. “Our loyal following has continued to grow. What once were crowds of around 300 or so have easily more than doubled the past few years.

“We’re excited to be able to draw enough outstanding musicians to Amarillo College that we can extend June Jazz into mid-summer, and it’s gratifying to know that our expansion is due to popular demand.”

The free concerts, which begin at 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday, are staged on the porch of the Experimental Theatre. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and fan out in the spaciousness afforded by the Oeschger Family Mall and surrounding lawns.


For those unable to attend the concerts in person, June Jazz is broadcast live by AC radio station FM90. Jazz aficionados can listen to the live concerts from 7:30 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday evening – June 5 through July 10 – on either 89.9 FM or at on the Web.


The Tuesday-night concert schedule is as follows:


June 5 – Mark Little with KARA

  • Amarillo native and Grammy nominated pianist Mark Little is joined by KARA, a San Antonio-based band that features a style they call RAZZ – improvisational jazz flavored by rock.

June 12 – Marlin McKay

  • After attending AC, Marlin McKay completed his master’s degree in jazz performance at Indiana University. Today he is artist in residence and assistant professor of music – high brass – at Kentucky State University. McKay and his band are veterans of June Jazz.

June 19 – The Martinis

  • The Martinis are led by AC jazz alumnus and 2017 Amarillo-Globe News Man of the Year Chuck Alexander. They have become a June Jazz mainstay.

June 26 – Polk Street Jazz

  • Yet another group with June Jazz history and local ties is Polk Street Jazz. The band is influenced by the sounds of, among others, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, and Thelonius Monk. They feature ever-popular singer Sandy Storey.

July 3 – Austin Brazille

  • This AC alumnus completed his master’s degree in jazz at New York University and currently works as a freelance musician and music instructor.

July 10 – Esquire Jazz Band

  • Led by Patrkck Swindell, owner of the Esquire Jazz Club, this band is a local favorite and features the traditional, Big-Band sound.   

Also during the second week of June, AC’s Creative Mind Lecture Series will take advantage of Marlin McKay’s presence at the College to feature a rare summer installment. McKay will present a free Creative Mind lecture related to his musical journey. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, June 11 at AC’s Concert Hall Theater and will serve as a prelude to AC’s Creative Mind Lecture Series next fall, which will be titled: The Black Renaissance of Pittsburgh.


For more information about the Creative Mind Lecture Series, please contact Kristin Edford, instructor of humanities, at 806-371-5205.