Chicago Jazz Philharmonic pivots its programming as many music and arts organizations are also considering how to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and an ever-changing social landscape. Lauren Deutsch, the organization’s newly appointed Interim Executive Director, has been known as the CJP’s ‘fairy godmother’ for her role in giving the orchestra its first gig at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2004.
She is encouraging the organization to reflect on its growth over the past 15 years during this process of planning for the future. “Like many arts organizations in this time of COVID, we have had to draw upon our creative chops to reimagine ways to stay connected to communities by harnessing technology and the internet to advance our programs in new and inventive ways.” Deutsch stated. “I’m excited about meeting this moment with CJP’s excellent team who, with lightning speed developed remote learning for our schools and an innovative virtual summer camp, and by musically connecting to old and new fans on the worldwide web.”
The newly designed Summer Jazz Academy: Virtual Edition runs from July 20 – 31, Monday-Friday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. In it’s 11th year, the program will continue to offer jazz master classes, private lessons, and professional performances to virtual campers.
The camp is taking advantage of the virtual format by adding interactive podcasts and workshops with guest musicians from across the country including Jon Faddis, Howard Levy, Timuel D. Black, and Robert Irving III, plus dance parties, Tik Tok challenges, DIY Mariachi bands, learning how to draw music, and the camp’s standard instrument and ensemble classes led by members of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic orchestra and other Chicago area musicians. “We are developing a fun format to re-create the community of in-person camp on a virtual platform, with the added benefit of being able to attract students, not only from Chicago, but all over the world,” said Deutsch, “as well as make sure that our faculty can continue to deliver the same high- quality music instruction.”
On July 18 and 19, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic will be featured in “Concert for Cuba,” a tribute to Cuban doctors’ response to the world’s pandemic and including a stellar lineup of performances from around the world. On a trip to Cuba in 2014, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic was in Havana rehearsing with student musicians when news broke that the United States and Cuba would reestablish a formal relationship after more than 50 years. It was a special moment that the organization captured on film, leading to an appearance on CBS News’ 60 Minutes. Shortly afterwards, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic brought 35 student musicians from Havana to the U.S. to perform with the orchestra at Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theatre, introducing another music style and spirit into its repertoire that will continue to influence the evolution of the orchestra and its musicians into the future. Concert for Cuba is co-produced by Instituto Cubano de la Musica in Havana Cuba, Hothouse’s Marguerite Horberg, Raul Cuza and Bill Martinez. The concerts will air on HotHouseGlobal Twitch-TV channel on July 18 and 19 at 7:00 Pm CST. This CJP appearance continues a summer of Cuban-inspired virtual programming, which began in May with virtual watch parties of its Havana Blue and Scenes from Life: Cuba performances.
Also in May, CJP kicked off a crowd-sourced showcase of solos played over Orbert Davis’ original composition, Orlando’s Walk, based on a chance encounter in Havana with a respected Elder Cuban percussionist. Over 30 students and professional musicians from the United States, Spain, Cuba, and the Philippines participated in #OrlandosWalkChallenge, expanding the CJP’s reach internationally. The worldwide challenge continues throughout the summer on social media and at chicagojazzphilharmonic.org/orlandoswalkchallenge.
If COVID allows, Orbert Davis’ Soul Migration concert is, originally scheduled on May 2nd, now planned for an October 23rd performance at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Canada. The composition was originally commissioned for the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival. "It's a personal story,” Davis said in a 2016 interview, “because my parents came to Chicago toward the end of the Great Migration, in the 1950s, from northern Louisiana." The performance will feature Davis and his quartet alongside members of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. “It is always important for the history and legacy of Black Americans to be at the forefront of our social consciousness,” said Deutsch, who as a member of the Chicago Jazz Festival’s planning committee also had a role in that commission. “I am proud to be a part of the exemplary team at CJP,” she added. “They have consistently kept our students, parents, fans, and patrons engaged, and our community connected during these critical months and as we move toward the foreseeable future.”
WHAT: Summer Jazz Academy: Virtual Edition DATE: Monday, July 20 – Friday, July 31 TIME: 10:00AM - 2:00PM, Mon – Fri
LOCATION: online, virtual
MORE INFO: https://www.chicagojazzphilharmonic.org/education/jazz-academy
WHAT: Concert for Cuba DATE: July 18 and 19 TIME: 7:00PM CST
LOCATION: online, virtual
MORE INFO: www.hothouse.net/HotHouseGlobal
WHAT: Orbert Davis’ Soul Migration DATE: Friday, October 23, 2020 TIME: 8:00PM
LOCATION: The Royal Conservatory. 273 Bloor Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
MORE INFO: https://rcmusic.com/events-and-performances/orbert-davis-soul-migration”-featuring- members-of