34th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival Lineup Announced

June 12, 2012

Local and National Talent Fill Stages throughout Downtown

Cindy Gatziolis    312.744.0573

The best reason to look forward to the end of summer is this year’s complete lineup of free music at the 34th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, August 30-September 2.

Joining headline acts such as Roy Haynes, Dianne Reeves and Allen Toussaint are a vast array of local, national and international performers on stage in Millennium Park, four stages in Grant Park, and with the earliest performances on Thursday, August 30 in the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington.)

Music begins at noon in the Randolph Café with a salute to one of jazz’ originators, Bix Beiderbecke performed by the Chris Madsen’s Bix Quartet.  At 1:30 pm. The Hyde Park Jazz Society pays tribute to pianist Jodie Christian, one of Chicago’s most versatile and creative pianists who passed away earlier this year.  The quartet features pianist Ken Chaney.

More performances throughout the building include the Damon Short Quintet as the percussionist/composer takes the stage at Claudia Cassidy Theater at 12:15 pm followed by Osaka’s gift to Chicago Jazz and Blues, pianist/vocalist Yoko Noge with her Japonesque, a project that merges Asian and Western jazz and blues, this time featuring the improvisations of special guest, Dee Alexander.

A couple of jazz musician with a bit more experience than the rest kick off the music in the historic Preston Bradley Hall at 12:30 p.m., when 75 year-old Stu Katz and 81 year-old Willie Pickens continue to explore their decades-long musical relationship followed by Jim Gailloreto’s String Quintet.  Gailloreto’s group, back in the festival after having to cancel last year’s appearance, explores the traditions of classical music while expounding on the truest elements of jazz.

The festival closes on Thursday with the previously announced Exquisitely for Ella tribute to Ella Fitzgerald which is simultaneously the finale of Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz and the Jazz Festival’s first evening.

Following Friday’s performances with Artist in Residence Ken Vandermark at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall and Roy Hayes Fountain of Youth Band at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, which include the Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble as its opening act, the festival moves to its longtime home of Grant Park where four stages present free jazz music all weekend long.

Saturday’s music begins at noon with guitar virtuoso Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan performing at the Jazz on Jackson Stage located on the east end of Jackson at Lake Shore Drive.  The Chicago area native and his band perform their interpretations of Django Reinhardt’s groundbreaking Gypsy Jazz.

Up next is another Chicago artist, further demonstrating the rich Jazz community in Chicago. Clarinetist Jason Stein leads a quartet of young emerging improvisers that include drummer Frank Rosaly, bassist Josh Abrams and reedist Keefe Jackson.

Singer/guitarist Frank D’Rone a Chicago tradition for more than five decades, takes the stage to celebrate his 80th birthday.  Then it’s on to the next generation and a new voice on the national scene as 30-year-old trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire closes the stage for the day with a 3:30 pm performance.

The Jazz and Heritage Stage, located just south of Jackson on the east side of Columbus, opens with the Caroline Davis Quartet at 12:30 pm.  Born in Singapore, schooled in Texas and educated in jazz in Chicago, this young saxophonist has exhibited fearlessness in her original compositions and performance.

Next up is Artist in Residence Vandermark with Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. One of the most innovative, dynamic and versatile drummers in jazz, Nilssen-Love has worked on various projects with Vandermark in Europe, Japan, and the United States.  At 3:30 p.m. the stage closed with bassist Marlene Rosenberg and her Quartet, highlighting tracks from Bassprint, the artist’s first album in a decade.

Now in its fourth year as a feature of the Chicago Jazz Festival, The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage introduces audiences to the next generation of Chicago’s jazz artists.  Set just east of the Jazz and Heritage Stage at Lake Shore Drive, performances begin at 12 noon with high school and college age Jazz musicians.  Saturday’s lineup is: Lakeview High School Jazz Combo; Saucedo Scholastic Academy Latin Big Band; Curie Metro Jazz Ensemble; Evanston Township High School Jazz Ensemble; Pritzker College Prep Jazz Ensemble and the NIU Jazz Ensemble. 

Awarded the Chicago Composer Residency Award by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Pritzker’s Ensemble will feature the world premiere of a composition commissioned for them by reedist David Boykin.

The evening entertainment moves to the Petrillo Music Shell with a 5 pm performance from drummer Billy Hart and his cross-generational, all-star quartet that includes tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street.  

On the festival’s final day, inventive vocalist Milton Suggs and The Milton Suggs Philosophy begins the day of music on the Jazz on Jackson Stage.  Then, back again after a rain out cut short last year’s set, is the Jeremy Kahn Sextet.  Kahn will once again pay tribute to the late Pepper Adams.

The fourth and final appearance for Artist in Residence Vandermark is at 2:20 pm with his Made to Break Quartet that includes electronics artist and reed player Christof Kurzmann from Argentina, bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Tim Daisy.

The Jazz on Jackson stage finale features Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts band which playfully and artfully touches upon Cuban carnival, swinging post-bop and swirling psychedelica.

Latin, soul and jazz music come together with the Edwin Sanchez Project as the Jazz and Heritage Stage opens at 12:30 pm.  Jeff Newell‘s New Orleans’ flavored New-Trad Octet combines instruments and elements of traditional New Orleans brass bands with those of modern jazz groups.  The stage ends for the season with trumpeter Tito Carrillo who, on the heels of his debut album Opening Statement, is one of Chicago’s leading Latin instrumentalists.

Sunday, The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage starts off at noon with the Chi Arts Jazz Combo.  Following them is Kenwood Academy Jazz Combo; Northwestern University Jazz Ensemble; Downers Grove South Jazz Ensemble and completing the stage for this year’s festival is the Lincoln Park Jazz Ensemble.

Chicago’s newest rising star vocalist Sarah Marie Young has been winning competitions around the world showcasing her jazz, R&B, blues and Gospel music roots. Opening the Petrillo Music Shell at 5 pm., she is joined by a quartet that includes guest singer Saalik Ziyad and pianist Stuart Mindeman, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and drummer Makaya McCraven. 

The music lineup takes an international turn with the next performance as Denmark’s New Jungle Orchestra led by Pierre Dørge fills the stage with their signature blend of African and European perspectives.  With the exception of Norwegian trumpeter Gunnar Halle and Swedish bassist Thommy Andersson, the band is Danish through and through: reed players Morten Carlsen, Jakob Mygind and Anders Banke, trombonist Kenneth Agerholm, keyboardist Irene Becker (Dørge’s wife), drummer Martin Anderson on drums and conga player and percussionist Thomas Dyani.

The penultimate act is Steve Coleman, a protégé of Chicago’s own Von Freeman. With his band Five Elements he advances Freeman’s teaching of expressing experiences through music.  They perform at 7:10 pm, leading in to the festival finale, Allen Toussaint’s “The Bright Mississipi” featuring Marc Ribot and Don Byron.

In addition to the four stages, the festival includes an art fair and a wine oasis, as well as the opportunity to purchase food and beverage from various vendors.

The 34th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.  The Young Jazz Lions Stage is made possible by The Chicago Community Trust.  The Chicago Community Trust is a member of the Chicago Jazz Partnership and a dedicated leader in the collaborative effort to expand arts learning and performance opportunities for all students.

The festival is sponsored in part by the Chicago Jazz Partnership, American Airlines, Aquafina, Chicago Jazz Magazine, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CLTV-ChicagoLand’s Television, Communications Direct, DownBeat Magazine, E & J Gallo Family Vineyards, LaGrou Distribution System, Pepsi, Stella Artois, WGN-Television, XFINITY, 90.9fm WDCB Public Radio and WSSD Radio-FM 88.1.

For more information please call 312.744.3316 or visit www.chicagojazzfestival.us for updates.  Join the conversation on Facebook at the Chicago Jazz Festival and follow us on Twitter, @ChicagoDCASE.



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34th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, August 30 – September 2, 2012

Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park & Grant Park

Thursday, August 30                                                                                                      

Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph                                                                                                 

Randolph Café                                                                                       


12:00 - 1:00         Chris Madsen Bix Quartet

1:30 - 2:30            Hyde Park Jazz Society Presents “A Tribute to Jodie Christian” featuring the Ken Chaney


Claudia Cassidy Theater

12:15 - 1:15         Damon Short Quintet

1:45 - 2:45           Japonesque with special guest Dee Alexander


Preston Bradley Hall

12:30 - 1:30         Stu Katz / Willie Pickens Duo

2:00 - 3:00           Jim Gailloreto’s String Quintet


Millennium Park - Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz

6:30                 Exquisitely for Ella: A songbook Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald featuring Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra


Friday, August 31

Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University (To be confirmed)

5:00                    Ken Vandermark and Joe McPhee


Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion

6:30 - 7:30           CALJE (Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble)

8:00 - 9:30            Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band


Saturday, September 1

Grant Park

Jazz on Jackson Stage

12:00 - 12:55       Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan

1:10 - 2:05           Jason Stein Quartet

2:20 – 3:20          Frank D’Rone

3:30 - 4:30           Ambrose Akinmusire


The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage

12:00 - 12:30       Lakeview High School Jazz Combo

12:45 - 1:15         Saucedo Scholastic Academy Latin Big Band

1:30 - 2:10           Curie Metro Jazz Ensemble

2:25 - 3:05           Evanston Township High School Jazz Ensemble

3:20 - 4:00           Pritzker College Prep Ensemble

4:15 - 5:00           NIU Jazz Ensemble                  


Jazz and Heritage Stage                                                                                         

12:30 - 1:30         Caroline Davis Quartet

2:00 - 3:00           Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love

3:30 - 4:30           Marlene Rosenberg Quartet


Petrillo Music Shell

5:00 - 5:50           Billy Hart

6:00 - 6:55           Resonance Ensemble

7:10 - 8:10           Jerry Gonzalez Y El Commando De La Clave

8:30 - 9:30           Dianne Reeves


Sunday, September 2

Grant Park

Jazz on Jackson Stage

12:00 - 12:55       The Milton Suggs Philosophy

1:10 - 2:05           Jeremy Kahn Sextet

2:20 - 3:15           Ken Vandermark’s Made to Break Quartet

3:30 - 4:30           Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts


The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage

12:00 - 12:35       Chi Arts Jazz Combo                

12:50 - 1:25         Kenwood Academy Jazz Combo              

1:40 - 2:25           Northwestern University Jazz Ensemble

2:40 - 3:25           Downers Grove South Jazz Ensemble

3:40 - 4:25           Lincoln Park Jazz Ensemble


Jazz and Heritage Stage                                                                                         

12:30 - 1:30         Edwin Sanchez Project

2:00 - 3:00           Jeff Newell’s New-Trad Octet

3:30 - 4:30           Tito Carrillo


Petrillo Music Shell

5:00 - 5:50           Sarah Marie Young Quartet

6:00 - 6:55           Pierre Dørge and New Jungle Orchestra

7:10 - 8:10           Steve Coleman and Five Elements

8:30 - 9:30           Allen Toussaint’s “The Bright Mississippi” featuring and Marc Ribot and Don Byron



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