An exuberant melding of jazz, blues and classical styles, Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F is an ideal vehicle for Illinois native Conrad Tao, “a personality-plus pianist with a fearless technique” (Chicago Classical Review). Bernstein’s beloved West Side Story dances include themes from the songs “Somewhere” and “Maria.” Barber’s soulful overture and Revueltas’ joyfully raucous Sensemayá frame the program.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Gaffigan, Conrad Tao
The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective is a band that takes traditional Afro-Caribbean music and adds a modern jazz twist. Their music is a fusion of traditional and modern sounds, creating a unique and exciting listening experience. Their upbeat sound is both familiar and fresh, appealing to fans of both genres. Their music is a celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture, and it is sure to get your feet tapping. The Collective was created by the band's guitarist, Jose Guzman, during his graduate studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The band's music is influenced by a variety of genres, including Cuban Son, Puerto Rican Bomba, and Caribbean Jazz. One of the things that makes The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective so unique is their use of the electric guitar and syncopated drumming. Giving their music a more modern feel, while the traditional Afro-Caribbean rhythms keep it grounded in its roots. The Collective had the amazing opportunity to include Chicago jazz veterans Victor Garcia and Tito Carillo.
Dave Koz and Friends announce the 26th anniversary edition of the longest-running jazz-based Christmas tour. Beginning the next era of this rich musical tradition, Koz and Friends will perform fresh renditions of timeless Christmas classics – as well as a Chanukah medley – and hits from their respective catalogues. The tour reunites Koz with long-time musical partner, guitarist/singerJonathan Butler and will feature special guests, saxophonist/flutist Marcus Anderson making his debut, and vocalist Rebecca Jade, marking her third time with the tour. Traversing 25 cities over one month on the road, the tour will also introduce musical prodigy Justin-Lee Schultz, a 16-year old South Africa-born, U.S. based pianist/guitarist/vocalist and social media sensation.
Buddy was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. This holiday season relive this heartwarming holiday classic on a giant screen as every note of John Debney’s wonderful score is played live to picture in: Elf in Concert! ELF and all related characters and elements © & ™ New Line Productions, Inc. (s23)
After describing her brilliant voice as a perfect mix of Nancy, Sassy, and Lady Day, it came only naturally that the late legendary jazz trumpeter Clark Terry would, at New York’s historical Flushing Town Hall, select Denise Thimes as that night’s featured vocalist. This truly unique and inspirational artist is often asked by fellow noteworthy musicians “why haven’t we heard of you”? Not to worry. With a voice as noticeably (as Terry puts it) “ranks with all of the greats,” it won’t be long. Over the course of a multi-faceted career spanning just a little under 3 decades, Thimes is no stranger to the music world, growing up in a home surrounded by all types of music from her father & radio icon, the late Lou “Fatha” Thimes. Thimes has performed with such jazz notables as Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra,(St. Louis, MO) the late Clark Terry(The Blue Note-NY), Dr. Billy Taylor, Earl May, Benny Powell,(Flushing Town Hall) and James Moody(Blue Note-NY). She has also graced the stage with the likes of Houston Person, Jimmy&Tootie Heath, Bobby McFerrin, and Bucky Pizzarelli. In recent years she has appeared and toured Paris with David Sanborn, sung for the Queen of Thailand(Mandarin Oriental Hotel), Queen Elizabeth II(British Embassy-Washington D.C. (during her 2009 visit to the U.S), President George W Bush(White House 2007), and was hand picked by the Queen of Soul(Aretha Franklin) to perform for her 72nd birthday celebration ( 2015-Ritz Carlton, NY). Most say that her acting is just as great as her singing and founding director Ron Himes of the St Louis Black Repertory would agree. Thimes has received 8 Woodie Awards( named after Freedom Theatre Founder-Woody King-NY) for her roles as lead and supporting for acting, and musical performances. Although a native of St Louis, MO Thimes, has recently became a resident of Chicago IL, where she can be seen at Winter’s jazz club downtown Chicago. When Denise is not performing, Thimes wears another hat and is equally passionate as Founder & Executive Director of the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.(named after Thimes mother). Thimes continues to appeal for more education and awareness for this fatal disease that struck her mother in 1997. Thimes has truly been one of the cherished voices of modern jazz. Whether headlining at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Room in New York, or conquering the national jazz festival scene, or sharing the stage with the legendary Tony Bennett, Denise Thimes has an unmistakable tendency to steal the show and astonish crowds of every size and background. As jazz aficionado Phoebe Jacobs stated following another famed New York show, “Denise Thimes is like Ella and Sarah born all over again.” It’s time for you to experience Denise Thimes. www.denisethimes.com
"The Bosman Twins share the stage, giving each other generous space, whilst maintaining that connection which only truly gifted musicians have. Their music can roar and whisper, yet it always strikes at the soul. Jazz is a music of the spirit and the Bosman Twins make it a music of the heart too." -- Sammy Stein, author, critic, reviewer Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Dwayne’s and Dwight’s passion for jazz started at an early age. The brothers grew up listening to the sounds of great jazz artists such as Earl “Fatha” Hines, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson and their father Lloyd Smith, who was a well-known businessman and a sideman in Basie’s and Ellington’s orchestras. Influenced by famous musicians, and family friends, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker, by age 14 the twins were performing professionally as The Bosman Twins. Over the years, The Bosman Twins have shared their love of music and the stage with entertainment legends Freddie Cole, Branford Marsalis, Fontella Bass, Roy Ayers, David Peaston and the late trumpeter, Lester Bowie. Whether performing with their own band or accompanying other notable jazz professionals, their unique style and renditions of jazz, rhythm and blues, funk and gospel have earned them national and international acclaim. In April of 2015, The “Legendary” Bosman Twins released their first album of original music, entitled “When Lions Roar” and from the album “Many Moons,” a cinematic jazz video was released. During their inaugural CD release weekend, The Bosman Twins sold out all 4 shows at The Ferring Jazz Bistro, inside the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. The Bosman Twins are extremely proud and grateful for awards and recognitions received and opportunities provided to share their music with the rest of the world. Most recently, they received three distinguished awards. In January 2016. The Bosman Twins received the prestigious Excellence in the Arts from the St. Louis Arts and Education Council, and in November of 2015, they were inducted into the St. Louis Jazz Hall of Fame and received the George Smith Diversity Award from the Musicians’ Association of St. Louis Local 2-187. In 2009 The Bosman Twins received the Legend Award from the St. Louis Argus Foundation and were recognized by the St. Louis City Chapter of the NAACP as being among the “100 Most Inspiring St. Louisians”. In May of 2010, The Bosman Twins traveled to Stuggart, Germany with City of St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay and delegation, where they opened The American Days Festival at the U.S. Consulate General performing for DPO Doria Rosen and other illustrious guests. These distinguished gentlemen of jazz are composers, arrangers, recording and performing artists who share in the legacy and tradition of great jazz through education, creativity and innovation. The Bosman Twins are true ambassadors of music. www.thebosmantwins.com
Josie is and has been one of Chicago's busiest and most frequently heard studio singers for over 35 years. Heard on countless commercials [in various languages] including McDonald’s, Mr. Clean, Sara Lee, Oscar Mayer, Green Giant, United Airlines, Old Style, Nationwide, Coke, Midway Airlines, Budweiser, plus many others heard in other countries as well as the "Cruisin' USA" Video Game and hit records in both the U.S. and overseas. Josie's talents have been utlized by so many on 4 different continents. Josie's singing career began singing in Italian and English when she was 19 months old! Josie had won voice scholarships in both high school and college, performed solo at the Lyric Opera House using her multi-range voice in both the classical and pop idioms. Vocally she can deliver the Gospel power of Mahalia Jackson, rock as hard as Pat Benatar, Be-Bop with the best of 'em or perform today's contemporary hits with a style and sound that will amaze and impress any audience. Josie's diverse vocal abilities have utilized by numerous artists ranging from Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Bolton, Ben Vereen, Vic Damone, Nancy Wilson, Dennis De Young of Styx, Loleatta Holloway, James Durst, Yolanda Adams, Della Reese and Mavis Staples to name a few . Josie was one of the last artists to be signed to the label that originally signed the Beatles (which was right here in Chicago) called Vee-Jay records. Josie can also be heard on the re-recorded sequences of the recently restored Orson Welles classic film “Othello”, on the TV show ads for “Dave’s World” as well as the theme song for the TV show "Chicago Story". and more. In 2006, Josie was inducted into the Order Sons Of Italy Hall Of Fame for lifetime achievement in the arts. Josie's work with Chicago's critically and internationally acclaimed "Lakeside Singers" has been seen and heard by thousands on TV as well as in person at their spring and Christmas shows. Her solos at the shows have brought down the house, brought tears to people's eyes and commanded multiple standing ovations. Josie is still one of Chicago's busiest singers. Whether it's working with orchestras and bands at clubs, corporate events or concerts, cantering at Our Lady of Pompeii Shrine in Chicago, back-up singing for various shows in Chicago, recording sessions for artists or commercials and more, Josie's voice still reigns supreme www.josiefalbo.net
(photo credit: Marc Perlish) Patricia Barber has earned international acclaim as a dazzling and uncompromising jazz artist. Long known for her sultry vocals, compelling pianism, and sophisticated songwriting, she has come to be regarded as a significant American composer as well–a deeply visionary artist who blurs the lines between poetry, jazz, and art music. Barber cut her teeth in the Chicago jazz scene during the 1980s, playing five nights a week at the Gold Star Sardine Bar where crowds lined up around the block. She sold her first CD Split (Floyd Records, 1989) from the stage after recording it at Chicago’s Universal Recording with money her sis- ter had lent her. After paying it back, she started saving to own a bit of real estate in case things got hard in the music business. When in 1991 Polygram Records’ Richard Seidel called to ask her to sign for an all-standards recording, she said “no” and gave the same answer to Concord Records’ Carl Jeffers. Only when Island Records flew Brian Bacchus to Chicago to assure her he’d record whatever she wanted did she agree to a contract and recording sessions in New York. Those sessions gave Barber her first encounter with the quietly brilliant Jim Anderson, who was helming the recording booth at the Power Station. The album that emerged, A Distortion of Love (Polygram Antilles, 1991), became known for the cover of “My Girl” and her arrangement of “You Stepped Out of a Dream.” Jim’s sounds merged seamlessly with Barber’s from the get-go. They are now celebrating a thirty-year collaboration. Barber’s move to Chicago’s storied Green Mill in the mid-1990s freed her to perform original music on a weekly basis. Around the same time, she signed with the distinguished Chicago label, Premo- nition Records, owned by Mike Friedman. The upshot, Cafe Blue (1994), became a breakout hit. Her next entry with Premonition, Modern Cool (1998), a mostly original album, surprised the jazz world by selling 120,000 copies, placing her on an international path. This set the stage for the critically acclaimed Blue Note/Premonition recordings that would cement her stature. When she finally decid- ed it was time to record an album of standards for her mother, Nightclub (2000) ensued and sales peaked at 200,000. Verse (2002) followed, with Barber again pushing the songwriting envelope. Her tunes were brash, heartbreaking, trippy, erudite, and sexy. The next year she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in com- position to support research and writing for a jazz song cycle inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a project that culminated in her 2006 Blue Note album Mythologies. The album combined jazz players with rappers and a gospel choir, shaking off the strictures of the Great American Songbook with a refreshing new sound. Although rarely tempted by teaching, Barber enjoyed a semester as a Townsend Resident Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in 2007, concertizing while teaching jazz singing and accom- panying her students in concert. By 2008 she was already recording The Cole Porter Mix (Blue Note, 2008), returning to the 32-bar song form and daring to interweave three of her originals with Cole Porter’s. “Snow,” “Late Afternoon and You,” and “The New Year’s Eve Song” have since become international hits. She left her Blue Note legacy of the 2000s after the company was sold to a hedge fund and the presi- dent of the company, her dear friend and champion Bruce Lundvall, retired. Ever what critic Howard Reich called a “reluctant star,” Barber used the time off for composition, reading, thinking, writing, piano-playing, gardening, and swimming. Barber has toured the globe with her bands, performing in everything from stunning large venues to her favorite intimate club venues while long continuing to hold court and hone her craft at the Green Mill. She famously turns down touring offers and has walked away from lucrative opportunities, opting to live life and make art. Her “slow lane,” one soon finds out, brims with activity. Out of the public eye, she focuses on an array of projects believing that education can only help, never hurt, her musicianship. Barber resurfaced in 2013 with the all-original Smash (Concord Records), pushing the songwriting genre into ever more literary territory. Shortly afterwards she gained the notice of Renée Fleming, grande dame of American sopranos, who first heard her at the Jazz Standard in NY and then at Chi- cago’s Green Mill. Reflecting on the experiences, Fleming has said: “‘I was sitting there ... and I said, ‘My God, these are art songs. This is really something special’ ” (Chicago Tribune). The encounter sparked a friendship and a collaboration, and in 2015 led to a sold-out tour entitled “Higher: Renée Fleming and Patricia Barber Perform the Music of Patricia Barber.” Barber views her highest and most compelling path to be that of harmonic evolution. For her, harmo- ny is the foundational element upon which the melody, lyrics, and rhythm depend. Barber’s 2019 CD Higher (ArtistShare) realized that vision through another song cycle, “Angels, Birds...and I,” advanc- ing the song genre yet again, inspired by her close mentorship by Fleming and composer Shulamit Ran. 2019 was a magical year for Barber—not just the year of touring Higher but of her induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences—a heady honor placing her in rarified company. When asked about it, Barber has deflected to an unexpected point of pride: not only was she to perform at the in- duction ceremony but Academy scientists wrote to request that she play her song “Redshift,” a song for which she’d immersed herself in astrophysics to make sure she got her metaphors right. Mytholo- gies is now taught in college courses, while “The New Year’s Eve Song” is becoming an international classic along with other songs. And singers the world over are scheduling her songs in concert sets. In 2020, Barber signed with Abey Fonn’s audiophile label Impex Records, whose beautiful releases are taking the Patricia Barber/Jim Anderson collaboration to a new audio level, now with the added strength of Jim’s engineer partner Ulrike Schwarz. Besides doing magnificent rereleases of Barber’s legacy albums, Impex has released a new album of her covers and standards, Clique (2021), fea- turing her extraordinary band, Patrick Mulcahy on acoustic bass, Neal Alger on acoustic guitar, Jim Gailloreto on tenor saxophone, and Jon Deitemyer on drums. As the pandemic shuttered much live performance, Barber has embraced the new challenge of making her songs accessible to classical singers, notating her own piano accompaniments. Fully composed versions of “Surrender,” “Muse,” and “The Opera Song” are now complete, and “Morpheus” is in the works. — Shawn Marie Keener www.patriciabarber.com
'As soulful a pianist / organist as exists anywhere.” - Downbeat Magazine Combining a joyful swing feel with an impeccable touch, Steinway Artist Ben Paterson has established himself as one of the most exciting pianists on the Jazz scene today, garnering international acclaim for his superb musicianship and engaging performances. Originally from Philadelphia, Ben studied both classical and jazz music before moving to the great city of Chicago, absorbing the unique blend of Jazz and Blues that can only be found in the Windy City. Now based in New York, Ben is poised to bring his unique talents and style to a wider audience, performing regularly at top notch venues around town, and at clubs and festivals around the world. Starting in 2005, Ben was honored to join the band of NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman, performing with him regularly until Von’s passing in August 2012. Other notable collaborations include work with Bobby Broom, Houston Person, Samara Joy, Johnny O’Neal, Red Holloway, Eldee young, Peter Bernstein, Jerry Weldon and Ed Cherry to name a few, with performances opening for groups like Steely Dan and B.B. King. In 2018 Ben was named as the First Place Winner of the Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition, with judges including Ellis and Branford Marsalis, Arturo O'Farrill and Jonathan Batiste. In 2019 he performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center as part of their tribute to Oscar Peterson, playing alongside John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, and fellow pianists including Benny Green and Kenny Barron. Ben has released 7 CD's under his own name: Breathing Space (OA2 Records 2007) Blues For Oscar (Meetinghouse Records 2012), Essential Elements (MAXJAZZ 2013), For Once In My Life (Origin 2015), That Old Feeling (Cellar Live 2018), Live at Van Gelder's (Cellar Live 2018), and I'll Be Thanking Santa (Meetinghouse Records 2019) www.benpaterson.com
"Tukes brings poetry to the vibraphone.” -- Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune Among many distinctions, Tukes is a Luminarts fellow and recipient of the Vivian G. Harsh Emerging Artist Award. He has been featured at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and more. When he's not performing, Tukes is an educator, giving master classes and workshops to students from pre-Kindergarten through undergraduate. During his junior year at Whitney Young High School, Thaddeus was considered the top high school vibraphonist in the state by the Illinois Music Educators Association. As a senior, Thaddeus was featured at Carnegie Hall with his high school concert band. Thaddeus pioneered a jazz vibraphone degree program while also studying jazz piano at Northwestern University, where he attended the Bienen School of Music and Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. In journalism, Thaddeus was elected President of the National Association of Black Journalists-Northwestern University Chapter, and lead the organization to win National Student Chapter of the Year for the second time in the chapter’s history. Thaddeus also served on the executive board of the Associated Student Government. As Vice President of Diversity (now Accessibility) and Inclusion, Tukes collaborated with students, faculty, staff, and administration across campus in developing strategic plans to improve the student experience. Tukes also served on the Coalition of Colors, Northwestern’s multicultural community organizing board. Thaddeus currently resides in Chicago. www.thaddeustukes.com
Jeremy Kahn is one of Chicago's busiest pianists, spending time in jazz clubs and orchestra pits, as well as in teaching and recording studios. He has played in all of the most visible local jazz venues, and was the house pianist at Streeterville's legendary Gold Star Sardine Bar for its final three years. Jeremy has performed internationally, most recently (5/16) in Posnan, Poland, as part of the "Made In Chicago" Jazz Festival. He has been the featured guest on the radio shows on Marian McPartland and Studs Terkel. Jeremy has also played for many theatrical productions, Including "Wicked", "Spamalot" and "The Lion King". He served as the Musical Director for "Louis & Keel Live At The Sahara" at the Royal George Theater, as well as at the Geffen Playhouse and Laguna Playhouse in California. He also is a Visiting Lecturer at Northwestern University, teaching Jazz Piano and Jazz Improvisation. For more infor: www.kahnman.com
“If you see Eng on the schedule, it’s a guarantee you’ll be entertained.” — Broadway World “Eng’s star wattage is undeniable.” — Chicago Sun-Times For this holiday season, join the Bryan Eng Trio to celebrate the yuletide with Nat King Cole classics for all. From New York City, multifaceted jazz pianist, singer, and actor, Bryan Eng is one of the most promising and accomplished entertainers of his generation. With performances on Broadway, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, and an ongoing residency at the Carlyle Hotel, the 25-year-old entertainer has already made his mark on the world’s most esteemed stages. Eng graduated from Northwestern University where his Chicago acclaim proved inevitable. Maintaining multiple performance residencies and starring at award-winning regional theaters, the Chicago Tribune confirmed, “Bryan Eng is one of Chicago’s bright stars.” Soon, Eng relocated to New York City to join the Broadway cast of Plaza Suite with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. Now a New York star in ascension, Eng is featured at the historic Carlyle Hotel while maintaining a rigorous national touring schedule leading his three groups: the Bryan Eng Trio, the Bryan Eng ‘Circle Room’ Trio, and the Bryan Eng Sextet. www.bryaneng.com
Jazz saxophonist Christopher Madsen is one of the most in-demand figures in the Chicago jazz world as a performer, composer, and pedagogue. He serves as full-time jazz faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, jazz faculty at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, IL, and was Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) from 2008-2014. He is a sought-after jazz clinician, adjudicating at jazz festivals and offering workshops to ensembles of all ages and levels from across the globe. He is a Vandoren Performing Artist, and has also contributed jazz articles to The Instrumentalist magazine and been interviewed on several radio broadcasts about jazz history and his performing career. As a leader and sideman, Madsen’s discography is extensive. He has released five albums as a leader since 2004 and can be heard as a player and composer on countless additional releases with artists such as Michael Dease, Marquis Hill, and Jeff Hamilton. He has performed at jazz festivals and live music venues domestically as well as in Japan, Spain, and Costa Rica. www.chrismadsen.net -- -- -- Alyssa Allgood has gained attention for “her technical control and [the] creative imagination of her work (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune). She has been described as an “impressive bop-oriented singer” by DownBeat Magazine and “an emerging talent of considerable strength” by The New York City Jazz Record. Allgood was named “Best Jazz Entertainer” in the 2019 Chicago Music Awards. Her performance accolades include a residency at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Club in Shanghai, appearances at Birdland Jazz Club in New York City, and headlining appearances at the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase and Winter’s Jazz Club in Chicago. Allgood has also appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Dakota, the Jazz Estate and Noce Jazz Club. She won the first Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Vocal Competition held in Washington D.C. in 2017, where part of her prize was to join the “Four Generations of Miles Davis” Band for a song at the famous Blues Alley. Other notable awards include being named a Finalist in the 2016 and 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competitions, a 2016 Jazz Fellow through the Luminarts Cultural Foundation in Chicago and second place winner in the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Voice Competition. She also placed as a Semifinalist in the 2015 Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition; where she competed live in Switzerland for a jury presided by jazz legend Al Jarreau. Allgood’s debut album, Out of the Blue, was released in Fall 2016 to wide critical acclaim. The album reimagines the classic Blue Note Records era with original arrangements and lyrics. It received a 4 star review from DownBeat Magazine and was named a “Best Release of 2016” by seven different publications including The Huffington Post and All About Jazz and a “Best Debut Release of 2016” by The New York City Jazz Record. Critics consistently praised Allgood’s instrumental approach and accomplished scat and vocalese singing. Allgood's sophomore album, Exactly Like You, was released in November 2018 on Vancouver label Cellar Live Records. It received a 3.5 star review from DownBeat Magazine, and was described as “the vocal record of the year” by the Chicago Jazz Magazine. www.alyssaallgood.com