CHICAGO, 10 January 2019 On March 16, 1969 the newly formed Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC) presented its first concert at the Field Museum’s Simpson Auditorium. Remarkably, not only was the 1,150 capacity theater sold out, but newspaper accounts report that at least 2000 people were turned away from what was billed as a “Journey through Jazz”. The concert featured JIC co-founders Franz Jackson, Art Hodes and Richard Abrams along with Lil Hardin Armstrong, Bunky Green, Art Hoyle and bluesman J.B. Hutto. The program traced the origins of the music from field hollers to the fresh new experiments of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). As writer Larry Kart described it “Here were musicians of many eras finding a common ground. And that is what The Jazz Institute is all about”. 50 years later, that isstillwhat the Jazz Institute of Chicago is all about.
The 22ndseason of the JazzCity free concert series, a collaboration with the Chicago Park District that brings bring music directly to Chicago’s neighborhoods and celebrates jazz’s deep connection to our city’s culture will continue to reflect the big picture, as Jazz in Chicago turns 100 years old (Joe King Oliver arrived from New Orleans in 1919) and the Jazz Institute turns 50. Opening with the annual NextGenJazz showcase and closing with a salute to the music’s early innovators, each concert will be dedicated to co-founders of the organization who came together to make sure there would always be a place for jazz to be heard in this town.
The first concert, scheduled for February 8, 2019 at 7PM at the Theater on the Lake located at 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive, is the third annual summit of rising stars in the Chicago scene. Under the direction of saxophonist and educator, and JIC board member Jarrard Harris, the season opener will feature a handpicked septet who will focus on presenting their own original music. Saxophonists Brent Griffin and Kenneth Leftridge, trumpeter Constantine Alexander (heard last year with Chucho Valdes at JazzCity’s Latin Jazz Festival), bassist Kurt Shelby (an alumni of the JIC’s Jazz Links education program), drummer Samuel Jewell and pianist Julius Tucker (featured at the 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival’s Rooftop Jazz stage) will let us know what the present generation has up their sleeves.
Please see below for full schedule
JazzCity is a free concert series initiated in 1997 by the Jazz Institute in collaboration with theChicago Park District, now in its 21stseason of bringing people together from across the city to listen to Chicago’s top jazz musicians. JazzCity is sponsored by WDCB 90.9 FM and WHPK 88.5 FM Radioand supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information visit www. Jazzinchicago.org or call 312-427-1676
2019 Jazz City Full Season Schedule
Please Note: Artists and venues may be subject to change. All concerts begin at 7PM and are family friendly and free unless otherwise noted!
Feb 8 -NextGenJazz Summit@Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive
Under the direction of saxophonist and educator Jarrard Harris the season opens with the vibrant jazz future represented by a septet of the brightest new voices on the jazz scene today. Featuring Constantine Alexander on trumpet, Brent Griffin and Kenneth Leftridge on saxophones, Jackson Shepard on guitar, Julius Tucker on piano, Kurt Shelby on bass, and Samuel Jewell on drums.
Dedicated to co-founders Dan Morgenstern and John Steiner
March 8-Women of Chicago Jazz A Tribute to Dorothy Donegan, Lil Armstrong, and Earma Thompson@Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave
Pianists Alexis Lombre and Bethany Pickens explore the impact and influence of three of Chicago’s most prominent women pianists: Lil Hardin Armstrong, the wife and promoter of husband Louis; Dorothy Donegan, an alumnus of DuSable High School she went on to develop a sound as big her personality; and Earma Thompson, another alumnus of DuSable, her down-home earthiness made her a respected pianist in Chicago for nearly 50 years. With Kaliq Woods on clarinet, Junius Paul on bass, Pharez Whitted on trumpet and Charles Heath on drums
Dedicated JIC co-founders Harriet Choice and Penny Tyler
April 5– The Blues Branch @Ellis Park, 3520 S Cottage Grove Ave
Billy Branchhas been a mainstay in both the blues and jazz scenes in Chicago for decades—a link between the two that illustrates that the roots of jazz come from the mother tree of the blues. Branch explores this notion with 91 year old guitar wizard George Freeman and his band, Sons of the Blues.
Dedicated to JIC co-founder Bob Koester
May 10-Big Band/Big Dance! @LaFollette Park, 1333 N. Laramie Ave
Led by legendary band leader and arranger Tom-Tom- Washington, the South Side Jazz Band under the direction of Tom Tom Washington mines the vast wealth of established and new talent on the south side of the city and has developed a repertoire that reflects the many streams of music that have shaped jazz , including swing, rhythm and blues, soul and funk.
Dedicated to JIC co-founder Richard Wang and Don Demicheal
July 12-14-Chicago Latin Jazz Festival @ Humboldt Park Boathouse 1301 N. Sacramento and Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave.
Jane Bunnett and Maqueque highlight this year’s festival. A long-time jazz musician on the scene, Canadian Jane Bunnett began digging deep into the music of Cuba during a trip there in 1982. Her latest project, Maqueque is an assembly of all-star Cuban musicians, a sextet which includes herself and five extraordinary young women. A tribute to trumpeter and conguero Jerry Gonzales by the Chicago Latin Jazz Collaborative will also be featured.
Sept 27–Bebop Blast! @Austin Town Hall Park, 5610 W. Lake St
Chicago has always been a big bebop town, thanks in no small part to impresario Joe Segal’s determination to spread the word. In the late 60s the scene’s young lions included multi-reedist Ira Sullivan and alto player Bunky Green along with pianist and vibist Stu Katz. The three octogenarians will reunite, representing a wide arc of history of the bebop form. With Dennis Carroll on bass and Kyle Swannon drums
Dedicated to JIC Co-founder Joe Segal
November 1- Play it Forward@Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd St
Keyboardist Justin Dillard’s approach to creating music comes from the melting pot of Chicago music. His improvisational and compositional roots are deep in jazz, world, old school R&B, country, Latin, blues, and groove based music, and includestudying with AACM and JIC co-founder Muhal Richard Abrams. His ensemble, Compartmental Visions will carry forward Muhal’s vision of collective creativity with Edwin Daugherty on alto saxophone, Steve Berry on trombone, Junius Paul on bass and Vincent Davis on drums.
Dedicated to JIC co-founders Muhal Richard Abrams, Terry Martin and Chuck Nessa
December 6 - A Tradition of Innovation @ South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive
100 years ago when jazz traveled upriver from New Orleans it took on a distinctly urban shape, embodied by horn men Joe King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and pianist Jelly Roll Morton. Saxophonist Franz Jackson, pianists Art Hodes and others embraced what became known as Traditional or Trad Jazz and deepened its musical roots. Known more for his blues and boogie chops, pianist Erwin Helfer connects to the trad roots of the music accompanied by saxophonist Eric Schneider, trombonist Russ Phillips, clarinetist Mwata Bowden, bassist Jeremiah Hunt and drummer Bob Rummage, with special guest vocalist Bobbi Wilsyn