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About the Roswell Jazz Festival (RJF)

Founded in 2006, the intent of the Roswell Jazz Festival is to provide the people of Southeastern New Mexico and beyond with annual festivals and intervening events that display the artistry of jazz musicians from across the country and which are intended to increase the sense of community by providing all who participate with the opportunity to share and enjoy our own artistic endeavors, to celebrate our jazz roots, and to educate both young and old alike in the jazz traditions of America.

RJF Board of Directors 2024:

Jon Amastae, President; Charles Gordon, Vice-President; Larry Sydow, Secretary; Paula Grieves, Treasurer; Michael Francis, Music/Artistic Director; Greg Ballinger, Director; Dee Redd, Director; Susan Voigt, Director; Anne Baker, President Emeritus.

RJF Membership 2024:

Carla Ballinger, Bonnie Brainerd, Cecelia Francis, Christy Murphy, Zandra Orr, Carole Schlatter, Zelma Wilcox, Robert Willis, Honorary Member-Roger Dickerson.

A Brief History: Supporting America’s Artform

Roswell’s jazz festival has an interesting connection to New Orleans. In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced many residents of New Orleans to evacuate the city. One such resident was the esteemed Pulitzer nominated composer and jazz pianist Dr. Roger Dickerson. During the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Dickerson escaped from the roof of his flooded New Orleans home and joined the masses of evacuees in Houston’s Superdome, where he placed a phone call to his dear friend in Roswell, Frank Schlatter. Schlatter and Dickerson had been long-time friends, having served together in the 33rd U.S. Army European Band in Heidelberg, Germany. Schlatter invited Dickerson to take refuge in his home in Roswell and he accepted. The spiritual and musical energy Dickerson brought with him to Roswell, along with the tireless efforts of Schlatter and the all-volunteer staff ultimately brought about Roswell’s first annual jazz festival, held in October, 2006. Today, after fourteen festivals, the Roswell Jazz Festival has evolved into a highly respected, nationally acclaimed, world-class event! It is held annually in multiple venues Wednesday through Sunday during the third week of October.


The Pecos Valley Jazz and Arts Festival Inc., DBA Roswell Jazz Festival is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

RJF Guests of Honor

2008 Houston Person    2009 Randy Sandke      2010 Dan Barrett     2011 Nicki Parrott

2012 Eddie Erickson      2013 Rebecca Kilgore   2014 Chuck Redd   2015 Ricky Malichi

2016 Harry Allen            2017 Allan Vache           2018 John Allred     2019 Richard Simon

2022 Johnny Varro         2023 Ken Peplowski      2024 Hal Smith

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