The theme for the festival is "coming home to pass the torch" as the festival continues its practice of featuring artists who got their start in Marshall and have succeeded as musicians -- following the pattern set by the event's namesake.
Bob James is expected to return to his hometown to serve as emcee and special guest during the festival.
"It was a real thrill to see Mr. James perform this year," said Eric Crump, president of Marshall Cultural Council, the organization that sponsors the event. "We got to hear some of his classic pieces, including a cool rendition of 'Angela.' It should go without saying, but seeing him live is better than watching YouTube clips."
The event will continue to grow, too, organizers said. One patron suggested at the 2012 festival, "Just keep adding. Make it a Bob James weekend." And that is the plan for 2013.
The featured artist will be art professor and blues guitarist Mike Henderson, who left Marshall in the mid-1960s to pursue an art education on the west coast. There, he discovered a talent for playing the blues -- in fact, blues legend John Lee Hooker has called Henderson "the blues professor," a nickname that stuck.
The Mike Henderson Band will be the headline act for the Friday blues concert at Eckilson-Mabee Theatre at Missouri Valley College. The Rain Dogs, a roots blues band from Kansas City will open the show.
Henderson's art will also be on display during the festival. MVC's Morris Gallery of Contemporary Art will host an exhibit, "Mike Henderson: Reflections," from May 14 to June 22, 2013.
Saturday, May 18, will be a day of jazz.
Like this year, it will begin with a master class conducted by James. That will be followed by a jazz performance clinic led by Kansas City Youth Jazz Director Clarence Smith, who also grew up in Marshall.
Saturday's jazz concert will begin with the Clinic All-Stars, a band consisting of participants in the clinic during the day who wish to perform on stage and show what they learned.
The next set will feature Liberty Jazz Band, a group from Mexico, Mo., that plays a wide range of jazz styles, reaching back to the early jazz of New Orleans.
The headline act will be the D.J. Sweeney Quartet. Sweeney, who was born in Marshall, also performed at the first Bob James Jazz Festival in 2011. After her quartet's set, the group will be joined on stage by James.
Concert tickets are being offered at a special rate through Valentine's Day.Organizers suggest festival tickets make great Christmas gifts.
"There is no better gift than live music," Crump said.
Concert tickets will be $20 each. After Feb. 14, 2013, the price goes to $25. The group rate of six tickets for the price of five will also be offered again this year.
Admission to the jazz clinic remains $35, which includes the master class, the clinic and the Saturday evening concert.
Tickets are available at The Marshall Democrat-News office, 121 N. Lafayette Ave., and at the Vox Box music store, 350 S. Apache Dr., both in Marshall. Tickets can be ordered online at www.bobjamesjazzfest.org/tickets
KQED Arts feature on Mike Henderson: