The 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, September 1-4, offers exciting headliners this year, but arriving early to Grant Park on Saturday and Sunday will most definitely enrich your experience, especially as the clock strikes noon at the Jazz on Jackson Stage, located at Lake Shore Drive and Jackson.
The festival opens both days at 11 AM.
On Saturday, September 3rd-
Tthe Jazz on Jackson stage opens with Brian OHern and the Model Citizens Big Band.
Pianist OHern, who grew up in Elk Grove Village, IL, wrote his first composition at age 11.
He and the MCBB will kick off the festival with some humor as evidenced by song titles which include: “The He Couldn’t Make the Gig Cuz He Had a Hair Appointment Blues” and “Bootsy Tootsy on the Fruitsy.”
The band includes such stellar players as saxophonists Pat Mallinger and Tim McNamara (both Chicago Jazz Ensemble veterans), Chicago Jazz Orchestra keyboardist Dan Trudell, Mike Allemana, Von Freeman’s guitarist and rising drummer, Gerald Dowd.
A new voice in Chicago is trumpeter Marquis Hill, a young jazz performer who makes his festival debut at 1:10 PM. Hill recently released his first album of originals entitled New Gospel and is pursuing his Masters at DePaul University.
His Black-tet which includes pianist Joshua Moshier (composer of The Studs Terkel Project), as well as alto saxophonist Chris McBride, bassist John Tate and Jeremy Cunningham on drums.
Next up at 2:20 PM is Jeremy Kahn’s Pepper Adams Project, which explores the compositions of the late baritone saxophonist. An aficionado of Adams (who gained recognition while performing with Charles Mingus and Donald Byrd), Kahn has been interpreting his music for some time.
On stage with him will be New York singer, Alexis Cole, singing lyrics written by Kahn and set to the music of Pepper Adams.
Joining them are veteran saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, trumpeter Geof Bradfield, bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer George Fludas.
The Gerald Clayton Trio closes the stage starting at 3:30 PM. Clayton’s roots may not be found in Chicago, but he carries on the family tradition his father, bassist John Clayton and his uncle, saxophonist Jeff Clayton, created, performing and recording together as The Clayton Brothers. The Grammy® winning pianist has also toured extensively with festival headliner Roy Hargrove.
He is joined on the Lake Shore Drive stage by bassist, Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown.
On Sunday, September 4th-
The Festival’s final day of music in Grant Park begins at noon with the Pat Mallinger/Bill Carrothers Quartet on the Jazz on Jackson Stage. Pianist Carrothers is a little known “jazz genius” whose lyricism and witty harmonics helped him gain notoriety in NY before he left that city for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The match with Mallinger, one of Chicago’s most active saxophonists who holds down the sax section of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and performs with many other groups throughout Chicago, should prove to be inspired. They are joined by Dennis Carroll on bass and George Flunda on Drums.
The third performance from Artist-in-Residence Orbert Davis is at 1:10 PM as he brings his sextet to the stage. The sextet features special guests Zach Brock and Brandon McCune, both of whom perform with Davis on Saturday night at the Petrillo Music Shell.
Davis’ longtime partners, bassist Stewart Miller and drummer Ernie Adam comprise an ensemble that also includes special guest, soprano saxophonist Ari Brown.
Matt Ulery’s Loom follows at 2:20 PM. A versatile young bassist and composer who works across a wide spectrum of music—from the vocal jazz of Grazyna Auguscik’ to the experimental Balkan group Eastern Block, Ulery is a master of weaving different cultural and musical influences into his compositions.
He is joined by pianist and accordionist Rob Clearfield, trumpeter Thad Franklin, tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman, violinist Zach Brock, vibraphonist Katie Wiegman and drummer Jon Deitemyer
The final performance on the Jazz on Jackson stage begins at 3:30 PM with the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International. Led by guitarist Nathaniel Braddock, whose love of African sounds led to living and studying in Ghana, the OBDB International plays original compositions as well as African classics from the 50s and 60s.
Alto saxophonist Greg Ward returns home with his powerhouse sound, second guitarist Antonio Carella, bassist Joshua Ramos and the drummer Makaya McCraven contribute to drive a pulsing dance beat.
The 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, Sept. 1-4,is once again free admission, produced by the Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
The jazz festival will take place in four locations: The Chicago Cultural Center, MillenniumPark’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University andin Grant Park on September 3-4.
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.
Jazz Festival hours are 12 Noon – 3 PM Thursday at Chicago Cultural Center; 6:30 PM Thursday at Millennium Park; Friday, 5 PM at Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University; 6:30-9:30 PM Friday at Millennium Park; and on September 3 and 4 in Grant Park, festival hours are 11 AM – 9:30 PM.
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.