Saturday in the park is a different tune at the 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival’s Cricket Wireless Jazz & Heritage Stage, when that stage features a broad array of music both weekend days (Saturday and Sunday, September 3rd and 4th) at 12:30 PM. The stage, entering its second decade as a feature of the festival, is located in a tree-shaded area of the park, just east of Columbus Drive. The stage launches on Saturday with a performance by the Miguel de la Cerna Quartet.
A third-generation Chicago pianist, (grandson of General Morgan and nephew of vocalist Gloria Morgan ) Miguel de la Cerna has a style that bends the border of mainstream Latin Jazz with free improvisation.
He was music director and arranger for the legendary Oscar Brown, Jr. and arranges for and performs with the incomparable Dee Alexander. Rounding out the quartet is his wife, Sylvia de la Cerna on violin, Harrison Bankhead on bass and Kwame Steve Cobb on percussion.
At 2 PM, Petra’s Recession Seven, led by singer Petra van Nuis brings the sounds of Traditional Jazz to the Festival. The seven member band covers classics from Harold Arlen’s “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues” to the 20s hit “Running Wild.” Van Nuis, a protégé of Chicago favorites Judy Roberts and Jeannie Lambert, also cites the influences of Peggy Lee, Chris Connor and Chet Baker.
At 3:30 PM, Latin Inspiration is the final band to take the stage at the Cricket Wireless Jazz & Heritage Stage on Saturday. Led by trombonist Johnny Rodriguez, whose young band has helped to re-popularize Salsa Dura (hard salsa) sound of the 70s, their inspiration comes from jazz classics by artists such as Charlie Parker, J.J. Johnson and Juan Tizol, and Latin standards by Eddie Palmieri, Monto Santamarie and Willie Colon. The band blends Laint Jazz past and future.
Sunday, the stage opens again at 12:30 PM, this time with the Reginald Robinson Sextet. Robinson, a MacArthur “Genius” has been known for the past two decades as one of the world’s only contemporary composers of Ragtime music.
Introduced to the music as a youngster by Festival Artist-in-Residence Orbert Davis, Robinson pursued a career as a solo pianist and only recently began to perform his music in small groups.
He recently collaborated with arranger and bassist Stu Greenspan to realize a dream of melding Ragtime with modern compositions for a sextet. He’ll perform with Greenspan on bass; Tim McNamara, clarinet and saxophones; Robert Griffin of 8 Bold Souls, trumpet; Steve Berry of New Horizons Ensemble, trombone, and Rob Dicke, drums.
At 2 PM, Ernest Dawkins’ New Horizons Ensemblewill present a different point of view. Dawkins, a longtime member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is known for compositions and tight arrangements that swing hard but allow for talented band members to solo.
Joining Dawkins are trumpeters Marquis Hill and Shaun Johnson, along with veteran trombonist Steve Berry, bassist Junius Paul and drummer Isaiah Spencer – and a return appearance by original band member guitarist, Jeff Parker, who is featured on the band’s latest CSD (a salute to Fred Anderson) The Prairie Prophet.
At 3:30 PM, The stage closes out the final festival afternoon with the Joan Collaso Quintet. A mainstay on the Chicago jazz scene, Collaso has crafted and performed tributes to the femail jazz vocalists who paved the way including Nancy Wilson, Shirley Horn, Lena Horne, Billie Holliday and Dinah Washington. With music director Larry Hanks, her quintet includes guitarist Henry Johnson, bassist Chuck Webb and drummer Ernie Adams, and will feature tunes from all of the above tributes.
The 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival is September 1st through September 4th and music is performed in four different locations: Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion; Friday in Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University and the Pritzker Pavilion; and Saturday and Sunday in Grant Park on four different stages including the Petrillo Music Shell where headliners Cassandra Wilson and Roy Hargrove perform.
Complete line-ups are available at www.chicagojazzfestival.us.
For more information: Call 312-744-3316; TTY 312.744.2964. Become a fan of the Chicago Jazz Festival on facebook and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ChicagoDCASE.
The Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by the Chicago Dept of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Once again, the festival is produced with the generous support of Chicago Jazz Partnership. The Young Jazz Lions Stage is made possible by The Chicago Community Trust, and the festival is pleased to welcome Cricket Wireless, title sponsor of the Jazz & Heritage Stage.
The festival is sponsored in part by American Airlines, Chicago Jazz Magazine, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CloseUp 2, CLTV-Chicagoland’s Television, Communications Direct, Cricket Wireless, DownBeat Magazine, Essex Inn Chicago, Fox TV Chicago, Hinckley Springs, LaGrou Distribution System, Pepsi-Cola, Stella Artois, 90.9 FM WDCB , WGN Television, WLFM 87.7 FM and WSSD Radio-FM 88.1.
In 2011, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Department of Cultural Affairs merged to form the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
DCASE presents large scale and small high-quality FREE festivals, exhibitions, performances, parades, sport events, farmers markets and holiday celebrations in venues throughout the city each year and assists film projects through the Chicago Film Office. DCASE is dedicated to promoting and celebrating the arts in Chicago as well as supporting the people who create and sustain them.