If the Wichita Jazz Festival is something you have never attended this is the perfect year to start. I must say I’m a little biased – getting my jazz degree from WSU, but jazz has it’s roots right here in America. And hey – that’s just flat out patriotic. With it being the 40th anniversary of the festival, the Wichita Jazz Festival has not grown stale or stagnant but instead continued to move in new directions. Last year’s festival brought in both musicians and artists – Sabrina McCormick, Michelle Mercer, Nicole Mitchell, Linda Oh and Kathy Kosins – all women. This year will continue in the new direction of connecting music with art by bringing in artist Aaron Douglas’ works along with musicians Andrew Bishop, Tia Fuller, Sean Jones, Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke with the title for the festival as “Echoes of Africa.” If you are looking for big band music, then Thursday is your day to hear all the big band music one could imagine!