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June 10, 2014

Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz Celebrates its 10th year at Millennium Park with a six-concert series featuring Chicago’s leading jazz artists, Thursdays, July 24-August 28

Jamey Lundblad    312.744.2493 jamey.lundblad@cityofchicago.org

The Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz series at Millennium Park will celebrate 10 years this summer with a diverse program featuring concerts that explore jazz connections to Africa, the Middle East and the rhythm and roots of the South. The 2014 series includes tribute concerts and retrospectives, along with opening night of the 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. Presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with Jazz Institute of Chicago, the FREE weekly series begins July 24 and on consecutive Thursdays through August 28.

“This series, which was the first music series to take place in Millennium Park, shines a spotlight on Chicago’s immense jazz talent,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “The commissions presented through this series have raised the profile of Chicago jazz around the world.”

“It’s a testament to the people of Chicago who have shown up every year to embrace their hometown talent” said Jazz Institute Executive Director Lauren Deutsch.

All concerts begin at 6:30pm, each with a short set by young, aspiring musicians from Chicago-area high schools as part of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links Student Ensembles. Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz is presented with grant support provided by The Boeing Company.

The Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar: Milton Suggs Big Band • July 24

Dunbar’s approach to poetry; the rhythm and rhyme of his words is ideal for musical pairing. Suggs, whose father played bass with Elvin Jones, is equally at home setting bebop solos to words, performing the songs of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and slipping into the pop-soul styles of Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. His 15-piece big band will feature Suggs’ original compositions arranged by Kris Johnson, a renowned trumpeter, composer and professor at Ohio State University.

The Hal Russell Story • July 31

A drummer, saxophonist, trumpeter and bandleader, Russell was one of the most colorful, flexible and fiery jazz musicians to ever work in Chicago. His long-running NRG Ensemble was formed in 1980 and became a major influence on the free jazz and improvised music scene of the 90s. The original lineup—reedist Mars Williams; bassist, guitarist, and trumpeter Brian Sandstrom; bassist Kent Kessler; and drummer Steve Hunt, along with reedist Ken Vandermark (who often subbed in the band) and cellist/trumpeter Fred Lonberg-Holm—reunites to play the last album they made with Russell: The Hal Russell Story (ECM, 1992), an autobiographical exploration of the leader's life in music. Academy Award-Nominated actor Michael Shannon will perform the original texts delivered by Russell on the album for this one-time event.

John Moulder’s Earthborne Tales of Soul and Spirit • August 7

Moulder powerfully summon heavenly spirits. That’s not only because he’s the best jazz guitarist who happens to be a practicing priest – “varying dimensions of one vocation,” he says – but also because his sheets of electric sound unleash such a positive force. “Earthborne Tales of Soul and Spirit” is music that engages the connection to spirit that resonates in our everyday lives. Featuring an original suite of music performed by the guitarist and a diverse set of musicians the includes: New York saxophonist Donnie McCaslin, pianist Jim Trompeter, trumpeter Marquis Hill, bassist Eric Hochberg and drummer Xavier Breaker.

Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile • August 14

Chicago composer, alto saxophonist and sound artist Roberts plays in her hometown for the first time in years, performing the second chapter of her ambitious American-history-focused epic, Coin Coin. Roberts first made her mark in the collective trio Sticks & Stones, and has since developed an artistic practice that is both boundless and rigorous. Although Roberts played earlier versions of Mississippi Moonchile here, this will be the first performance since releasing a recording of the piece for Montreal’s Constellation Records last year. The 18-section suite draws explicitly from the composer’s deep roots in jazz.

Fareed Haque – Chicago: Crossroads of the World • August 21

Few jazz musicians embody the polyglot nature of Chicago’s populace like guitarist Haque, himself the son of parents from Pakistan and Chile. Haque’s multifarious interests have often obscured just how deep and accomplished he is as a hard-charging jazz musician. For this multi-part concert, Haque will lead a straight-ahead combo with pianist Willerm Delisfort, bassist Alex Austin and drummer Greg Fundis. For the second set, the quartet will be joined by Hammond B3 organist Tony Monaco and some of the Indian and Arabic musicians featured on the guitarist’s recent Delmark album, Trance Hypothesis.

Homage to Nelson Mandela: Ernest Dawkins’ Memory in the Center, an

Afro Jazz Opera • August 28

The sounds and images of American jazz musicians from the U.S. were an important influence on the development of political discourse of resistance in apartheid South Africa. American jazz continually refreshes its ties to its African American roots by its ever-present spirit of the blues as does South African jazz draws strength from its roots. This project reflects the determination and spirit that energized the South African freedom movement led by Nelson Mandela by foregrounding the influential women in Mandela’s life – Winnie Mandela and Graça Machel – through the powerful voice of Dee Alexander. Bringing together musicians from Chicago, South Africa and London, the ensemble will represent their interconnected histories and mutual influences.

Memorial Day through September, DCASE will mark the 10th anniversary of Millennium Park – Chicago’s showplace for cutting-edge art, architecture, landscape design, music and more. The Millennium Park 10th Anniversary Summer Celebration will feature dozens of FREE events and exhibitions including new, monumental sculptures by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, designer of Crown Fountain; indie rock, electronica, jazz, classical and world music; films, simulcasts and documentaries shown on an outdoor, 40-foot LED screen; family activities; workouts and more.

Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am–11pm daily. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and Grant Park North. For the latest news and events, visit millenniumpark.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @Millennium_Park.

 

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.

 

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NOTE TO MEDIA

Working media seeking to review or photograph Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz concerts should submit their requests in writing to Jamey Lundblad at Jamey.Lundblad@cityofchicago.org. Please identify the concert, the media outlet for which you are reviewing or photographing – plus contact information, including phone and email. News crews are limited to shooting only five minutes of music performance.