Jazz Jump Start

For the Festival Schedule click here.                For Festival Instructions click here.

New Mexico State University Jazz Ensembles proudly announces it’s 48th Annual Jazz Festival and Jazz Jump Start.  This festival will feature guest artists Michael Anthony, Andy Poling and Hillary Smith.

High School and Middle School Jazz Ensembles of any size and instrumentation will have the opportunity to receive hands on clinics by master teachers in music education.  Each participating school will receive a one hour clinic and allowed to participate in the general clinics on “jazz improvisation”, “the role of the rhythm section”, selecting the appropriate material for you jazz ensemble (reading clinic) and vocal jazz.

The two day festival will include an intimate club concert by our guests at Pastaggio’s Italian Resturant at 3000 Harrelson St, Las Cruces with a cover charge of $10 on Thursday November 17th from 8-10 p.m. The festival will culminate with a free festival concert featuring our guest artists on November 18th at 7:30 p.m. in the Atkinson Auditorium.

Participation fee for each ensemble is $150.

Click HERE for online registration.






Andy Poling – Drums

Andrew Poling has had a long career in music, performing with a wide variety of artists, including: Bob Hope, James Newton, Kathy Lee Gifford, Diane Reeves, Steve Allen, The Smothers Brothers, The NM Philharmonic Orchestra, Gretchen Parlato, The Drifters, Kenny Davern, The Desert Chorale of Santa Fe, Clark Terry, and Roger Miller.

Andy has performed from Aspen to Fort Worth (the famed “Billy Bob's”), and from Santa Barbara to Manhattan (the legendary “CB-GB's”). He has appeared - and played drums – in two feature films to date: Crazy Heart (as part of Jeff Bridges' back-up band), and The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp (as part of the military brass band).

Andrew has co-written and produced award winning jingles for radio/television, and has recorded with Joe Maphis (the grammy-nominated “Flatpicking Spectacular” album), New Mexico's own Jazz/R&B diva Linda Cotton, jazz guitarist Michael Anthony, and many others.


Michael Anthony  - Guitar

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. Michael moved to L.A. at 14 and began studying the guitar.

Michael's main guitar mentors were Jimmy Wyble, Howard Roberts, Joe Pass and Tommy Tedesco. 

Michael worked in the L.A. recording studios from the early 1960's to 1980 with occasional return for recording projects.

His Jazz credits include: Gil Evans (accompanying Miles Davis at the Monterey Jazz Festival), Neil Hefty, Quincy Jones, Bobby Shew, Claire Fischer, Hubert Laws and Louie Belson.

Michael has recorded and performed with: Tony Bennett, Nelson Riddle, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel, The Beach Boys, Peggy Lee, Diana Ross (Do You Know Where You're Going To, Theme From Mahogany), Barbara Streisand and the LA Philharmonic under Zuben Meta.

Movie and TV Productions include: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head), The Carol Burnett Show, The Flintstones, Happy Days and New York, New York.

In 2014, Michael received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Mexico Music Awards. 


Hillary Smith - Vocals

With a deep soulfulness rooted in the Gospel-driven churches of her youth, a classically trained vocal instrument that’s a natural wonder, and a God-given instinct for swinging a lyric, vocalist Hillary Smith has been electrifying audiences across the United States for more than 30 years.

A native of Hobbs, New Mexico, Hill first made her mark in the ’80s with gutsy performances of rockin’ blues and funk, and she’s fronted a number of popular bands in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area over the years. Chief among the early groups was the multi-award-winning Strictly Taboo, whose debut album, Playing with Fire, got heavy rotation on local and international radio. In recent years, Hill has been digging deeper into the blues with guitarist Chris Dracup and bassist Marcus Casman in the Soul Kitchen trio—yet another award-winning, crowd-pleasing venture.

As comfortable with swinging jazz as she is with funky blues, Hill is featured on pianist/vocalist/composer Kevin Hayes’ 2007 recording The Dreamer, and she appeared with Kevin at the 2007 Gathering of the Vibes, along with Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Peter Bernstein, and Bill Stewart.

Her 2008 release, No Easy Way, showcases her full repertoire—jazzy blues, big-band funk, Gospel-inflected R&B, and neosoul. The album carried off an armful of New Mexico Music Awards, including “Best of the Year,” and Hill gratefully acknowledges that a little help from her friends, including Grammy-nominated trumpeter Bobby Shew and legendary “funky drummer” Clyde Stubblefield, contributed to its success.


For information, please contact:

Trista Pior
(575) 646-2304
Dr. Frank “Pancho” Romero
(575) 646-5341
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