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The Jazz Institute of Chicago Celebrates it's 50th Year, June 28th-30th with Special Birthday Ba



The Jazz Institute of Chicago Celebrates “50 Years of Making Jazz Happen” Featuring Jazz Artists, Music, Dance and Spoken Word Performances, and Exhibits During Free Birthday Bash.

Chicago’s Own Orbert Davis, DJ Duane Powell, Nicole Mitchell and Maggie Brown Among Music Standouts at June 28-30 Extravaganza

The distinct, innovative sound and legacy of jazz music in Chicago takes center stage from June 28 -30 for Chicagoans of all ages to enjoy as the Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC) and its partners celebrate “50 Years of Making Jazz Happen” during a multi-event, free Birthday Bash weekend at venues in Hyde Park.

Dedicated to preserving and perpetuating jazz as a true American art form and as a legendary staple in the city’s storied music scene, the JIC is collaborating with an array of local partners to celebrate the beauty, diversity and rich history of Chicago’s vibrant jazz scene at multiple events on June 28-30 at Connect Gallery, 1520 E. Harper Ct.; The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W; and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at 915 E. 60th St.

Known for its inventive and collaborative spirit, , the JIC has successfully partnered for half a century with musicians, cultural institutions, community organizations and city agencies to showcase the distinctly innovative DNA of Chicago jazz. Free and open to the public, the Birthday Bash will feature commissioned world premiere music; renowned Chicago jazz musicians including Orbert Davis, Maggie Brown, Joan Collaso, and a virtual performance by Nicole Mitchell; community discussions; performances by exciting, emerging jazz artists; and poetry, visual art and dance as art forms that enjoy a long-time, mutually beneficial relationship with jazz music.

Sponsored by the Epstein Family Foundation and presented in partnership with the Logan Center for the Arts, the Birthday Bash also will engage families with children who can watch an original play and participate in art-making activities.

“We couldn’t be more excited and honored to invite the entire city and Chicagoans of all ages to help us celebrate 50 Years of Making Jazz Happen,” said JIC Executive Director Heather Ireland Robinson, who emphasized the non-profit’s commitment to expose a new wave of inventive jazz artists to new audiences. “What better way to connect the community to the rich, vibrant jazz culture by offering three days of free events and activities to celebrate this wonderful art form that has helped define multiple generations. We look forward to joining our many partners, supporters and music peers in celebrating the Jazz Institute’s contributions and the mastery of our local jazz artists.”

Ireland Robinson added: “We are very much committed to celebrating our robust history while keeping our eye on the future. We continue to nurture and promote jazz citywide through education programs that support all aspects of a young artist’s career and musicianship, as well as free public programming in city parks, and of course programming the Chicago Jazz Festival. We believe in building bridges by creating programs in neighborhoods and presenting music where people of all ages live, work and play.” Dating back to its first concert in 1969, explained Ireland Robinson, the Jazz Institute played a major role in the development and growth of jazz nationally and worldwide, and the Birthday Bash is the celebration of those contributions.

“It's hard for me to imagine that the Jazz Institute of Chicago is 50 years old, except for the fact that almost every milestone in my career has been a result of JIC's ingenuity, dedication and support,” noted Orbert Davis, Emmy-Award winning trumpeter, composer and educator and co-founder, conductor and artistic director of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. “JIC is the 'hub' for Chicago Jazz; a driving force that preserves rich cultural legacies while forever fostering the 'new’.”

Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, added, “Congratulations and thank you to the Jazz Institute for promoting and nurturing jazz in Chicago for 50 years,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “The Jazz Institute has been our partner on the Chicago Jazz Festival since its inception more than 40 years ago. The Festival and the Birthday Bash both reflect the power of jazz music to unify us all. And the fact that the Bash is free and represents the exciting depth and breadth of Jazz Institute programming makes it a must-do summer event.”

Among nearly two dozen music, dance and spoken word performances planned for the Birthday Bash are these highlight events:


Friday, June 28 - 5pm

Freedom Jazz Dance presented by Soundrotation at Connect Gallery – Join music historian and DJ Duane Powell for an interactive session exploring jazz as dance music. The session also will include a special performance choreographed by dance legend Amaniyea Payne of Muntu Dance Theatre. 5 – 7 p.m., 1520 E. Harper Court


Friday, June 28 - 8pm

Birthday Surprise Concert at The Promontory to celebrate the diversity and featuring special guest artist Makaya McCraven, the renowned drummer, producer and sonic collagist. McCraven is one of Chicago’s savviest cultural players and a multitalented force whose inventive process and intuitive, cinematic style defy categorization. He will be joined by Junius Paul, Matt Gold, Greg Ward and Irvin Pierce. 8 – 10 p.m., 5311 S. Lake Park Ave.

Saturday, June 29 - The Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.


1pm-2pm - Café Logan: Jazz Links Emerging Artists Project Ensemble (Café Logan, 1 – 2 p.m.)

2pm-3pm Performance Hall: Nicole Mitchell, Jonathan Woods, Tatsu Aoki and the MIYUMI Project. This original project was commissioned exclusively for the Bash.

Nicole Mitchell

4:30pm-5:30pm - Screening Room 2nd floor: Panel discussions: “Black and White: An Examination of Segregation and the Jazz Life on Chicago’s South Side”

6pm-7pm - Screening Room 2nd floor: “Digging Our Roots: Chicago’s Greatest Hits – The Singers”

Sunday, June 29 - Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.

2pm-3pm - “J is for Jazz” children’s play (Penthouse, 9th floor) This original play will debut at the Bash.

5:30pm-6:30pm - Screening room, 2nd floor: “The City Was Yellow: Jazz & Improvised Music 1980-2010” Book release and panel discussion


7:30pm-8:30pm - The Orbert Davis Quintet featuring Ari Brown – vibe with the legendary Orbert Davis on trumpet; Ari Brown on the saxophone; Leandro Lopez Varady on the piano; Stewart Miller on bass; and Ernie Adams on the drums.

Visit the Birthday Bash Website

Partners for the Bash are: Logan Center for the Arts, The Promontory, Connect Gallery, Columbia College Chicago, Asian Improv aRts, Jazz Journalists Association, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, Chicago Film Society, The Stillwell Institute, and Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre.


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