Bill Evans Jazz Festival

The 16th Annual Bill Evans Jazz Festival will be the biggest and most exciting to date. The festival pays homage to jazz legend and alumnus Bill Evans. Evans was a seven-time Grammy Award winner and 1950 Southeastern Graduate and is considered the most influential jazz pianist of his generation.


Bill Evans Jazz Festival/LAJE State Music Festival

February 15-18, 2017

  • Wednesday, February 15: Alumni Jazz Concert
  • Thursday, February 16: Southeastern Jazz Combos
  • Friday, February 17: LAJE State Music Festival (Day 1); Southeastern Jazz Faculty Concert with Guest Artist Mike Esneault
  • Saturday, February 18: LAJE State Music Festival (Day 2); Southeastern Jazz Ensemble with Guest Artist Mike Esneault


2017 Bill Evans Jazz Festival Guest Artist Mike Esneault

Mike Esneault

As a Emmy award winning composer/arranger/producer Mike has established a prolific career working in many mediums including television, motion pictures, radio, live concerts and compact disc recordings. He has scored over 30 films for PBS. Additional clients include Exxon, McDonald’s, Blue Cross, and many more. In addition, Mike has worked closely with film composer Terence Blanchard on numerous films including “Original Sin” starring Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas and “Caveman’s Valentine” starring Samuel Jackson. Mike’s
arrangements have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and have been performed by orchestras including the Prague Symphony Orchestra, London Studio Orchestra, Seattle Studio Orchestra, the Grammy award winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra(NOJO) and numerous others. Mike has arranged music for Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Neena Freelorn, Dianne Reeves, Allen Touissant, Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Lou Rawls, Haley Rienhart, Terence Blanchard and others. He has received numerous awards as a composer including a Henry Mancini Fellowship, 2008 Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship for composition and an Emmy award for his score to “Atchafalaya Houseboat.”

As a pianist Mike has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Don Vappie, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Frank Morgan, Brian Blade, Kurt Elling, Vanessa Rubin, Pete Fountain and many more. He has performed at venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and all around the world including festivals in Canada, Brazil, England, Switzerland, Italy, Virgin Islands, India. etc.

Mike is also very active as a clinician and teacher. He has given master classes throughout the US and is also an instructor East Baton Rouge Gifted and Talented Program where he has taught for the past fifteen years. This is a tremendous program for the city of Baton Rouge. Within this program Mike focuses on many different areas of music with these very gifted young students including composition, jazz improvisation, arranging and music technology. Mike has also served as a Professional Artist in Residence at Louisiana State University where he taught jazz piano and improvisation.

Influential teachers in Mike’s musical development include Alvin Batiste, Dr. Bert Braud, Lawrence Siebert, Mike Pellera, Dr. Willis Delony and Dr. Bill Grimes. He has also studied with many others including Johnny Mandel, Patrick Williams, John Clayton, Alf Clausen, Dave Grusin and more.