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Popular Event Series Includes Evenings Celebrating LGTBQ Pride, Fourth of July, Shark Week and Women in Science

CHICAGO – As Shedd Aquarium’s popular Wednesday evening event series, Jazzin’ at the Shedd, enters its 22nd year, the aquarium is introducing new, themed nights and programming throughout the summer schedule. This includes special evenings from June through September

Tim Fitzgerald and his group will perform as part of the 2018 "Jazzin' at the Shedd" Series

celebrating LGTBQ Pride, Shark Week and women in science and more. The new themed programming is meant to help connect new audiences with the aquarium and the adult-friendly event series.

“As we looked at the schedule for Jazzin’ at the Shedd this year, we saw numerous opportunities to explore things we’ve never done before, or build on programs that were popular in previous years,” said Meghan Curran, senior vice president of marketing, guest experience and sales. “We’re confident that there will be something for everyone in the special themes and programming we’re offering this summer.”

As in previous years, the event series brings in new and existing jazz talent from across Chicago and the nearby region, providing a unique experience every Wednesday of the summer. Guests enjoy live music while exploring the aquarium in the evening, seeing Shedd and the animals in an entirely different way than if they attended during the day. This access includes the popular outdoor Stingray Touch habitat and Shedd’s new special exhibit, Underwater Beauty. Cocktails and food are available for purchase all night, adding to the ambiance of the adult-friendly evenings. At the end of the night, guests can take in Navy Pier’s spectacular weekly fireworks display on the aquarium’s terrace on the lake.

New this year, the Jazzin’ season will extend through October, and will feature six events focused specifically on Latin jazz. More details on those nights will be shared later this summer.

Themed Nights

  • LGBTQ Pride Jazzin’ – Wednesday, June 27

  • While the aquarium has supported the Chicago Pride Parade for years previously, this will be the first pride-focused event that the aquarium will host on-site. Shedd is excited to welcome guests from the LGBTQ community and allies alike, who can enjoy cocktails and pride-themed treats available for purchase and explore the aquarium throughout the evening, including the new special exhibit Underwater Beauty or out on the terrace overlooking the city skyline. A special Science Pub chat that night, titled “Celebrating Diversity: The Living Rainbow” will explore the beauty and importance of diversity in the aquatic world.

  • Fourth of July Jazzin’ – Wednesday, July 4

  • This Jazzin’ will take on a patriotic twist, with traditional BBQ-inspired food and drinks available for purchase. Guests can enjoy dynamic jazz music – a style of music created and made popular here in the USA. As the sun sets, guests can spread out on the terrace and the nearby grass lawns for a true picnic feeling, with the perfect view to watch Navy Pier’s iconic Fourth of July fireworks display.

  • Shark Week Jazzin’ – Wednesday, July 25

  • Answering the popularity of Shark Week, this Jazzin’ will feature tons of information for shark enthusiasts and anyone curious about the world of sharks. A special Science Pub will highlight research conducted by scientists here at the aquarium, both on site and in the Caribbean, to better understand the often-mischaracterized and under-researched predators.

  • Women in Science Jazzin’ – Wednesday, August 15

  • This Jazzin’ is dedicated to supporting the accomplishments of women, including those making contributions to the world of science. Women-led jazz performers will provide vibrant tunes for the night, while some of Shedd’s female scientists will share their accomplishments and achievements in a special women-focused Science Pub chat.

  • Youth Night Jazzin’ – Wednesday, August 29

  • The city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events dubbed 2018 the Year of Creative Youth. To coincide with this theme, and the Chicago Jazz Festival, Shedd Aquarium will be celebrating young jazz performers by engaging Whitney Young High School’s ensembles to play in the aquarium’s main foyer during this Jazzin’ event. UIC grad student Morgan Pirtle will also be playing in the aquarium’s Soundings Café.

For $25, guests receive access to live music, alongside admission to the full aquarium, including Shedd’s new special exhibit, Underwater Beauty. Tickets for Jazzin’ at the Shedd can be purchased here:


Detour JazFunk June 20, July 25, August 29 Chicago-based Detour JazFunk’s roster boasts some of the nation’s premier musicians, including guitarist/vocalist Phil Seed, percussionist/vocalist Ben Johnson, bassist Kenery Kent Smith and keyboardist Tim Gant. From smooth jazz to funky old and new school R&B and neo soul, Detour JazFunk delivers.

Michele Thomas SoulMeme June 20, August 15 The daughter of a preacher, Chicago singer Michele Thomas brings an irresistible gospel-soul warmth to jazz. Blending genres of jazz and soul together with elements of folk, Michele uses her voice and songwriting to stir something deeper within people. She made her Chicago Jazz Festival debut in 2017. Now Michele takes the Jazzin’ stage with her contemporary jazz ensemble, SoulMeme.

Gray Matters June 20, July 4 Twin brothers Wayne and Duayne Gray grew up on gospel, R&B, jazz, funk, soul, rock and classical music, but their musician dad, Richard Gray, who played with Fats Domino, influenced them the most. Gray Matters has played the House of Blues, Civic Opera House, Park West, South Shore Country Club and venues around the country.

Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles June 27 Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles celebrate the vibrancy of Chicago's LGBTQ community, engaging audiences through a fresh perspective on jazz standards and contemporary music and offering a vivid and lively musical portrait of our diverse city. The Strayhorns septet channels the muscular grooves and sophisticated finesse of the Jazz Messengers, while Lakeside Pride Jazz Organ Trio vibes on earthy '60s soul and blues. The effervescent singers of the Wilde Cabaret and Lady Day Cabaret highlight the beautiful lyricism of the classics as well as jazzy interpretation of pop and R&B.

Tenor Madness featuring Shawn Salmon July 4 Tenor Madness is a Chicago band that performs a unique mix of jazz fused with funk, Latin and world music influences. They released their debut album, “Convergence,” in 2016 and can be heard performing at some of Chicago’s premier jazz venues. Tenor Madness consists of Shawn Salmon on guitar, Rytas Vygantas and Casey Fitzpatrick on tenor saxophone, Paul Musser on bass and Peter Mack on drums.

Phil Seed Trio July 4 With his expressive style, guitarist Phil Seed's dynamic rhythms draw you in from the first notes. His listeners are treated to an eclectic, energetic mix of Bill Withers' soul and Wes Montgomery's jazz inflections.

The Ava Logan Jazz Ensemble July 11, August 15 Ava Logan is an award-winning singer-actress from Washington, D.C., now living in the Chicago area. Dr. Logan is a veterinarian by day and a jazz singer at night. She has performed jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues around the world, and her first major CD, “So Many Stars,” was met with critical acclaim. Ava performs with Chicago's finest musicians, who have also performed nationally and internationally with jazz greats.

The Ken Davis Project July 11 The Ken Davis Project specializes in music for the soul, including smooth jazz, soft rock and inspirational sounds. The quartet has a unique way of playing exactly what the audience wants to hear. Get ready to dance and sing along with the music that you love and know.

William Boris Duo July 11, July 18, August 1 Guitarist Bill Boris has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and at fests throughout Europe. His group plays a blend of original tunes and straight-ahead jazz with a vibrant contemporary sound. Bill is the coordinator of Guitar Studies at Columbia College Chicago.

Rio Bamba July 18, August 22, September 19 The Rio Bamba sound is a unique blend of bossa nova, samba, American jazz and Latin jazz, played by world-class musicians. The group moves easily from classic and swinging jazz, vocal, or instrumental to a Brazilian samba that brings everyone to the dance floor!

Tim Fitzgerald Trio (Duo August 8) July 18, August 8 This group presents a fun and entertaining mix of straight-ahead jazz, pop and soul music. The band features Tim’s original compositions along with the music of jazz great Wes Montgomery, the subject of Tim’s book, 625 Alive: The Wes Montgomery BBC Performance Transcribed.

Jenna Przybysz July 25, August 22, August 29 While keeping tradition in focus, the Przybysz Quartet/Trio explores the creative and innovative side of jazz. Influenced by world music, hip-hop and more, its members offer an organic and refreshing approach to jazz standards and original compositions. Members performing throughout this series include Jenna Przybysz, saxophone; Gerald Martinez, sax; Ben Karon, vibes; Davi Priest, bass; and Andy Danstrom, drums and cymbal.

Petra van Nuis July 25, August 22 Petra van Nuis has a light, gorgeous voice and a gift for melody. She sings at Chicago’s top jazz venues, including the Jazz Showcase, Green Mill, Katerina’s, Andy’s, Fitzgerald’s, City Winery, the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Chicago Cultural Center, and at clubs and festivals around the country.

UroSoule with Agnieszka Iwanska August 1 UroSoule plays infectious original jazz/soul enriched by vocalist Agnieszka Iwanska. Her CD All that I Am hit No. 38 on the Top 50 national chart, and second album Colors got rave reviews. Agnieszka has sung the national anthem at Wrigley Field and performed at numerous festivals in the Midwest and Europe.

Bob Davis Trio August 1 Guitarist Bob Davis and keyboardist Neil Artwick have been playing together with their larger group, Lake Effect, for 20 years. Over the course of their careers, they have released two CDs on Amazon, Pandora and CD Baby. Bob and Neil are joined by Khari Parker on drums, serving up R&B, Latin and soul.

PowerPlay FYI August 8 PowerPlay FYI is premier live music entertainment with an exciting playlist covering current and classic hits spanning soul, R&B, jazz, funk, Latin, rock and swing styles and original arrangements. Be it a concert stage, private gathering, or intimate venue, PowerPlay FYI radiates talent and professionalism in sharing the joy of music and celebration.

Brent Kimbrough & Company August 8 Brent Kimbrough & Company is a fusion of smartly arranged jazz classics, soul-searching originals, groove-laden Chicago blues, funk and high-intensity Latin music. Founded by Chicago-native guitarist, singer, composer and bandleader Brent Kimbrough, "K&Co" is a consortium of the area's finest musical talent. The band has appeared throughout Chicago, the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Morgan Pirtle duo August 15, August 29 Chicago vocalist, composer and arranger Morgan Pirtle is a 2018 graduate of UIC’s Jazz Studies program. She was named a Luminarts Fellow in Jazz after winning the People's Choice Award at the Luminarts 2018 Jazz Finals, and she was named Outstanding Undergraduate Vocalist in the 2018 DownBeat Student Music Awards. August 15 she performs with jazz pianist, composer and Northwestern masters student Hana Fujisaki. August 29 she teams up with Aaron Day, guitarist, composer and bandleader.

Whitney Young Jazz Ensemble August 29 Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, a selective enrollment school in the West Loop, has a tradition of academic, athletic and artistic excellence. The jazz program consists of a curricular jazz ensemble, an extracurricular jazz ensemble and three jazz combos. Whitney Young students have performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, New Trier Jazz Festival, UIC Jazz Festival, Elmhurst Jazz Festival and Evanston Jazz Festival as well as at city and state contests and community events.

Reginald T. McCants June 20 and all Jazzin’ dates July, August, September and October Chicago-born keyboardist Reginald T. McCants’ performances are exhilarating, uplifting and forever entertaining. He's performed at many major venues throughout Chicago and his jazzy interpretations of contemporary jazz, R&B, original and popular songs will have you yearning for more.

Martin Metzger Flamenco Trio September 12 For his flamenco ensemble, Martin Metzger has drawn on some of the most experienced and dedicated flamenco talents in Chicago. Martin Metzger is a versatile guitarist who travels to Spain every year to study flamenco. He also teaches and owns a music studio in Evanston. Marina Claudio studies flamenco dance and singing in Chicago and Spain. Marfil Keller studies flamenco dance in Chicago and her home town in Spain.

Carlos Adames Quartet September 5, September 19 The Milwaukee-based Carlos Adames Quartet follows in the footsteps of great Latin jazz innovators, combining elements of traditional and modern Latin rhythms with dynamic jazz harmonies to create an exciting new sound. Panamanian-born percussionist Carlos Adames leads the group, drawing from his encyclopedic knowledge of the rhythms of the world for his compositions and performances.

Salsa del Norte September 12 Salsa del Norte pushes the boundaries of Latin American musical traditions, covering and fusing everything from salsa and Latin jazz to mambo, cha, cumbia, merengue, reggaeton, bachata and other traditional styles from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Colombia to celebrate the diverse cultures that have contributed to this vibrant genre of music.

Johnny Blas & his Afro-Libre Orquestra September 5, October 3 Hard-hitting conguero Johnny Blas has performed and recorded in the world of jazz and Latin music for more than 25 years. Johnny and his band put on a fierce show with swing, energy and heat that could melt asphalt. Influenced by the music of Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Armando Peraza, Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker and David Sandborn, the band exhibits a sound that is stylish and funky, an infusion of Latin funk and jazz with an Afro-Caribbean groove.

Grupo Cha Cha October 3 The lovely ladies of Latin jazz fill the air with tropical sounds of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil that delight the ears and get you up to dance! There’s always enthusiastic audience response at their live festival and club shows. Their two CDs, Direcciones and This is The Life, received glowing reviews and can be heard on NPR and CBC stations throughout North America and on internet stations from South America to Europe.

Latin Inspiration September 26 John Rodriguez’s Latin Inspiration has an extensive career performing original modern Latin jazz, salsa, Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican bomba/plena throughout Chicago. They have performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Boricua Festival, Cuban Fest, the Chicago Summer Dance and Logan Square Art Festival, among others. They provide authentic live music in a broad range of styles perfect for listening or dancing.

Son Monarcas October 10 Son Monarcas is a Latin folk fusion ensemble led by Mercedes Inez Martinez and Irekani Ferreyra. Like the monarch butterfly, they take you on a musical migration from the USA to Latin America by fusing indie soul with traditional son and cumbia. The Son Monarcas musicians are well-versed in the Afro-Mestizo genres of folk music from Latin America and their original compositions include influences of cumbia, samba, jazz and experimental music in English and Spanish.

Contrabanda October 10 Led by Grammy-nominated percussionist Danny Howard, Contrabanda is one of Chicago's hottest Latin ensembles. Playing everything from Latin boogaloo and Brazilian jazz to Latin jazz and salsa, they provide a great night's entertainment.

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