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April Finale Showers Unity for Jazz Day

April finale showers unity today for International Jazz Day. A fitting ending to the month of Jazz Appreciation.

jazz day
April 30th marks the 6th annual International Jazz Day. Featured: Legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes at NYC’s iconic Blue Note. photo by Abbe Sparks

April 30th marks the sixth annual International Jazz Day highlighting the virtues of jazz as an educational tool and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. The intent of jazz day is to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies.

International Jazz Day is celebrated in a different global host city each year. In partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day
highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promotes intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, and unites people from all corners of the globe.

Whether you are a jazz promoter, jazz lover or newbie to the world of jazz, there are many ways to celebrate the day. For a complete list of events around the world visit: jazzday.com/events. Here are a few suggestions:

 

Havana, Cuba: The All-Star Global Concert at the historic Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, the Cuban Institute of Music, and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO will be live streamed on JazzDay.com (April 30, 9 pm EDT), and will feature an extraordinary array of artists from around the world paying tribute to the international art form of jazz.

 

New York City: All Sides of Ella with Ulysses Owens, Jr. & Friends with drummer/music director Ulysses Owens, Jr.; pianist Allyn Johnson; trumpeter Alphonso Horne; bassist Alex Claffy; and vocalists Brianna Thomas and Alyson Williams.

In just the past few years, Ulysses Owens, Jr. has performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola with artists including Christian McBride, child prodigy Joey Alexander, Steve Wilson, Mulgrew Miller, Steve Nelson, the Swing Collective, and the New Century Jazz Quartet. Already one of today’s most high-profile sidemen, this GRAMMY® Award winner and DownBeat Rising Star has recently stepped into a leadership role and assembled some top-shelf groups. Tonight’s band features a monster lineup similar to the one Owens led in 2016’s Celebrating Ellington and Beyond program. This year, they’ll be honoring the many sides of the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald as part of their Ella Fitzgerald Festival. This show is highly recommended for any kind of jazz fan.

 

Chicago: The Jazz Institute of Chicago’s International Jazz Day Celebration event at The Chicago Cultural Center.

In celebration of International Jazz Day, the Jazz Institute of Chicago honors the diversity of jazz and its ability to forge new connections by featuring two ensembles that represent the global influences of the music. Mexican drummer Gustavo Cortiñas presents music from his new album “Esse,“ which “gathers fellow musicians from Chicago to contemplate, through composition and improvisation.” Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan performs a blend of American jazz, Gypsy jazz, Flamenco, and folk music

So, however you choose to honor the day — Enjoy!

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Entertainment, Arts & Music Latest News

In Memoriam: Al Jarreau 1941 – 2017

In Memoriam: multi-Grammy award-winner Al Jarreau died today at the age of 76.  Just days after announcing his retirement and on the day of music’s biggest night, comes a blow to his many family, friends, colleagues and fans across the globe.

In his honor, we share one the all-time favorite love songs. Thank you Al Jarreau. RIP.

 

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Entertainment, Arts & Music Events

No Turn on Red – Gig at Jerry’s

WHAT:  No Turn on Red – Gig @ Jerry’s

Justin Gruby's photo.

If you’re in Chicago this weekend, check out this funk New Orleans Blues Fusion ‪‎Band in Wicker Park at Jerry’s.  Hear the Band’s new sound!

WHEN: Saturday, November 8 @ 9:45pm

WHERE: Jerry’s, 1938 W. Division Street, Chicago

MUSICIANS

Justin Gruby-  Saxophones
Larry Glenzer 0 Trumpet
Amir Arrington – Bass
Bob Rodriguez – Guitar
Dave Dakich – Guitar
Bob Bechstein – Drums
Jeremy – Keys
Mary Porzelt – Vocals

PRICE: free, no cover!

RSVP: facebook events

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Events Latest News

Electrifying Jazz in Chicago Tonight: Miles Davis Tribute by The Frank Russell Band

The Frank Russell Band and Special Guests to Salute Miles Davis: The Electric Years for Jazz Appreciation Month at Mayne Stage, April 27th 8 PM

With Dede Sampaio, Dee Alexander and Corey Wilkes

 

CHICAGO Jazz it up tonight with The Frank Russell Band and special guests as they salute jazz master impresario Miles Davis in concert: A Tribute to Miles Davis: The Electric Years,

The Frank Russell Band to Salute Miles Davis - The Electric Years For Jazz Appreciation Month at Mayne Stage Saturday, April 27th at 8pm. Tickets: www.maynestage.com
The Frank Russell Band to Salute Miles Davis – The Electric Years For Jazz Appreciation Month at Mayne Stage Saturday, April 27th at 8pm. Tickets: www.maynestage.com

Saturday, April 27th, 8:00pm at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave.  Chicago’s premiere electric bass player Frank Russell and his band pay homage to the jazz master in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month with a signature song ‘Code M2,” originally penned for Miles Davis by Chicago’s very own Robert Irving and arranged for Frank on his highly acclaimed CD “Circle Without End.”  Joining Frank on stage are Dede Sampaio (Miles Davis Band percussionist), Dee Alexander (jazz vocalist) & young lion trumpeter Corey Wilkes plus surprise guests in what promises to be a memorable performance you won’t want to miss. Opening act: young trumpeter T.L. Williams. Jazz critic Neil Tesser to host; produced by Lynn Orman Weiss, Orman Music Group, sponsored by WDCB Radio, 90.9FM. Tickets are $25 general admission at www.maynestage.com or 773.381.4554.  Valet parking $5.00.

“Miles Davis is one of my biggest influences as a musician,” says Frank Russell. “To get the blessing and support from the Miles Davis family for this concert, there are no words…but that I am blessed and thankful.”

“Uncle Miles always said the funkiest bass players were from Chicago…Frank Russell proves him right.” — Vince Wilburn Jr., Drummer and Nephew of Miles Davis

Frank met Vince Wilburn Jr., Robert Irving III and Randy Hall at the home of drummer Terry Morrisette. “The Miles Davis album “The Man With The Horn” had just come out and these guys on the album were heroes to me,” explains Frank. “They took me right in when they found out I played with the late Ken Chaney who Vince used to play with and he would still come and sit in with us when he was in town. We are like brothers now!”   It is in large part to Vince’s suggestion that the concept for Frank’s acclaimed CD “Circle Without End” was born.

Lakland Bass guitarist Frank Russell, a native of Chicago, started his music career early playing drums, guitar and sax before switching to bass guitar at the age of 14, and has been playing it ever since.  Along the way working or recording with such diverse artists as The Spaniels, Dee Clark, Dee Dee Warwick, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, Bobby Irving , Art Porter, Alphonse Mouzon, Red Holt, Mike Wolff, Willie Pickens, Peter Erskine, Ken Chaney, Sugar Blue and many others.  Frank has recorded five CDs with acclaimed guitarist, Henry Johnson, whose first CD “You’re the One” garnered a five star rating in Down Beat Magazine, received number one status in radio airplay across the country & was nominated for a Grammy.  Frank has recorded two CDs under his own name.  The first, “Covering All Basses,” where he plays fretless, four and five string and acoustic bass guitars and the latest, “Circle Without End.” Frank is an endorsee and clinician of Lakland Guitars and Gallien-Krueger. He also endorses GHS Strings.

LINKS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4D-dWF6laY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR4zS_9xh24&list=UUTwuy5EnYPcEzA4SwIe4gZw&index=1

https://www.facebook.com/events/430878210329081/

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Events Latest News

The Frank Russell Band/Tribute to Miles Davis: The Electric Years is April 27

Electrifying Jazz with The Frank Russell Band: Miles Davis Tribute

The Frank Russell Band to Salute Miles Davis - The Electric Years For Jazz Appreciation Month at Mayne Stage Saturday, April 27th at 8pm. Tickets: www.maynestage.com
The Frank Russell Band to Salute Miles Davis – The Electric Years For Jazz Appreciation Month at Mayne Stage Saturday, April 27th at 8pm. Tickets: www.maynestage.com

with Dede Sampaio, Dee Alexander and Corey Wilkes

The Frank Russell Band and special guests salute jazz master impresario Miles Davis in concert: A Tribute to Miles Davis: The Electric Years, on Saturday, April 27th, 8:00pm at Chicago’s boutique venue The Mayne Stage. “Miles Davis is one of my biggest influences as a musician,” says Frank Russell. “To get the blessing and support from the Miles Davis family for this concert, there are no words…but that I am blessed and thankful.” –Frank Russell

Chicago’s premiere electric bass player Frank Russell and his band with special guests Dede Sampaio (Miles Davis Band percussionist), Dee Alexander (jazz vocalist) & young lion trumpeter Corey Wilkes pay homage to the jazz master in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month. Featuring a signature song ‘Code M2,” originally penned for Miles Davis by Chicago’s Robert Irving and arranged for Frank on his highly acclaimed CD “Circle Without End.”   Opening act: Miles Davis-inspired Trumpeter  T.L. Williams. Jazz critic Neil Tesser to host; produced by Lynn Orman Weiss, Orman Music Group, sponsored by WDCB Radio, 90.9FM.

=================================================

Who: The Frank Russell Band/Tribute to Miles Davis: The Electric Years with Dede Sampaio, Dee Alexander and Corey Wilkes. Opening act: Trumpeter T.L. Williams

When: Saturday, April 27 @ 8:00pm; Doors open @ 6:30pm

Where: The Mayne Stage, 1328 West Morse, Chicago, 773.381.4554. Valet Parking $5

Tickets: $25 general admission @ www.maynestage.com or 773.381.4554.

“Uncle Miles always said the funkiest bass players were from Chicago…Frank Russell proves him right.” — Vince Wilburn Jr., Drummer and Nephew of Miles Davis

LINKS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4D-dWF6laY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR4zS_9xh24&list=UUTwuy5EnYPcEzA4SwIe4gZw&index=1

https://www.facebook.com/events/430878210329081/

 

ABOUT:

Frank met Vince Wilburn Jr., Robert Irving III and Randy Hall at the home of drummer Terry Morrisette. “The Miles Davis album “The Man With The Horn” had just come out and these guys on the album were heroes to me,” explains Frank. “They took me right in when they found out I played with the late Ken Chaney who Vince used to play with and he would still come and sit in with us when he was in town. We are like brothers now!”   It is in large part to Vince’s suggestion that the concept for Frank’s acclaimed CD “Circle Without End” was born.

Lakland Bass guitarist Frank Russell, a native of Chicago, started his music career early playing drums, guitar and sax before switching to bass guitar at the age of 14, and has been playing it ever since.  Along the way working or recording with such diverse artists as The Spaniels, Dee Clark, Dee Dee Warwick, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, Bobby Irving , Art Porter, Alphonse Mouzon, Red Holt, Mike Wolff, Willie Pickens, Peter Erskine, Ken Chaney, Sugar Blue and many others.  Frank has recorded five CDs with acclaimed guitarist, Henry Johnson, whose first CD “You’re the One” garnered a five star rating in Down Beat Magazine, received number one status in radio airplay across the country & was nominated for a Grammy.  Frank has recorded two CDs under his own name.  The first, “Covering All Basses,” where he plays fretless, four and five string and acoustic bass guitars and the latest, “Circle Without End.” Frank is an endorsee and clinician of Lakland Guitars and Gallien-Krueger. He also endorses GHS Strings.

For media inquiries, interviews, JPEGS, MP3s contact:

Abbe Sparks, Media Relations: abbe@abbesparksmediarelations.com or 224.567.9166

Lynn Orman Weiss, Producer, Orman Media Group: ormanmusic@gmail.com or 847.452.6469

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Entertainment, Arts & Music Events

The Frank Russell Band: A Tribute to Miles Davis-The Electric Years is April 27 at Mayne Stage

 

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Events Latest News

The Frank Russell Band to Salute Miles Davis – The Electric Years in Chicago

For Immediate Release

April 5, 2013

 

Frank Russell
Frank Russell

The Frank Russell Band and Special Guests to Salute Miles Davis: The Electric Years for Jazz Appreciation Month at Mayne Stage, April 27th 8 PM

With Dede Sampaio, Dee Alexander and Corey Wilkes

 

CHICAGO Jazz it up this April with The Frank Russell Band and special guests as they salute jazz master impresario Miles Davis in concert: A Tribute to Miles Davis: The Electric Years, on Saturday, April 27th, 8:00pm at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave.  Chicago’s premiere electric bass player Frank Russell and his band pay homage to the jazz master in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month with a signature song ‘Code M2,” originally penned for Miles Davis by Chicago’s very own Robert Irving and arranged for Frank on his highly acclaimed CD “Circle Without End.”  Joining Frank on stage are Dede Sampaio (Miles Davis Band percussionist), Dee Alexander (jazz vocalist) & young lion trumpeter Corey Wilkes plus surprise guests in what promises to be a memorable performance you won’t want to miss. Jazz critic Neil Tesser to host; produced by Lynn Orman Weiss, Orman Music Group. Tickets are $25 general admission at www.maynestage.com or 773.381.4554.  Valet parking $5.00.

“Miles Davis is one of my biggest influences as a musician,” says Frank Russell. “To get the blessing and support from the Miles Davis family for this concert, there are no words…but that I am blessed and thankful.”

“Uncle Miles always said the funkiest bass players were from Chicago…Frank Russell proves him right.” — Vince Wilburn Jr., Drummer and Nephew of Miles Davis

Frank met Vince Wilburn Jr., Robert Irving III , and Randy Hall at the home of drummer Terry Morrisette. “The Miles Davis album “The Man With The Horn” had just come out and these guys on the album were heroes to me,” explains Frank. “They took me right in when they found out I played with the late Ken Chaney who Vince used to play with and he would still come and sit in with us when he was in town. We are like brothers now!”   It is in large part to Vince’s suggestion that the concept for Frank’s acclaimed CD “Circle Without End” was born.

Lakland Bass guitarist Frank Russell, a native of Chicago, started his music career early playing drums, guitar and sax before switching to bass guitar at the age of 14, and has been playing it ever since.  Along the way working or recording with such diverse artists as The Spaniels, Dee Clark, Dee Dee Warwick, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, Bobby Irving , Art Porter, Alphonse Mouzon, Red Holt, Mike Wolff, Willie Pickens, Peter Erskine, Ken Chaney, Sugar Blue and many others.  Frank has recorded five CDs with acclaimed guitarist, Henry Johnson, whose first CD “You’re the One” garnered a five star rating in Down Beat Magazine, received number one status in radio airplay across the country & was nominated for a Grammy.  Frank has recorded two CDs under his own name.  The first, “Covering All Basses,” where he plays fretless, four and five string and acoustic bass guitars and the latest, “Circle Without End.” Frank is an endorsee and clinician of Lakland Guitars and Gallien-Krueger. He also endorses GHS Strings.

LINKS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4D-dWF6laY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR4zS_9xh24&list=UUTwuy5EnYPcEzA4SwIe4gZw&index=1

https://www.facebook.com/events/430878210329081/

http://www.frankerussell.com

 

For media inquiries, JPEGS, MP3s contact:

Abbe Sparks, Media Relations: abbe@abbesparksmediarelations.com or 224.567.9166

Lynn Orman Weiss, Producer, Orman Media Group: ormanmusic@gmail.com or 847.452.6469

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April Awareness Awareness Months

Jazz Appreciation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month as sanctioned by the Smithsonian, here’s one very special night in Chicago  worth checking out:

A Tribute to Miles Davis ~ The Electric Years ~Frank Russell will present the electric side of Miles Davis with a signature song  ‘Code M2,’ penned for Miles Davis by Chicago’s very own Bobby Irving  and arranged for Frank Russell on his new highly acclaimed CD, ‘Circle Without End’. You don’t want to miss this Jazz Show with special guests including young trumpet prodigy, Corey Wilkes and Dede Sampaio (Miles Davis percussion) and the captivating Jazz vocals of Miss Dee Alexander. Saturday, April 27th at 8:00pm at  the Mayne Stage, Chicago’s premiere, intimate music room. Tickets: www.maynestage.com

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Latest News

Stay Tuned for More Blues, Jazz & Rock ‘n Roll in the White House?

Music to My Ears…

So elequently stated by Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich, I felt compelled to share this story/plea and put an added spin on it.  Three music genres — Blues, Jazz and Rock ‘n Roll — play such an important role in our history on a multitude of levels, we must continue to share these legendary artists and their music with all.  So, blues, jazz and rock ‘n roll  music lovers, fans, aficionados, journalists, bloggers, historians and the like  please feel free to share these sentiments and put your own two cents in.  And, without further ado, below is Howard Reich’s article:

Obama’s next four years: Tune in to jazz

Howard ReichArts critic12:16 p.m. CST, December 11, 2012

 

Barack ObamaJazz musician Herbie Hancock, left, and members of OK-Go are onstage as President Barack Obama celebrates his 50th birthday during a fundraiser at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago last year. (Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune / December 11, 2012)
Howard ReichArts critic12:16 p.m. CST, December 11, 2012

 

Any president’s second term offers another shot at fulfilling dreams that got away the first time around.

So while President Barack Obama is strategizing on immigration, unemployment, the deficit and, oh yes, the fiscal cliff, I’d like to add one more little item to his to-do list: teaching the White House to swing again.

Four years ago, when Obama was elected, jazz lovers hoped that he might end an eight-year jazz drought at the executive mansion and, in so doing, send a message to the world about the value of America’s homegrown art form. Not since Bill Clinton lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had the country’s most famous residence honored the music so robustly.

Clinton invited jazz veterans such as singer Joe Williams, pianist Dorothy Donegan and saxophonist Illinois Jacquet to share the spotlight with ascending stars such as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, saxophonist Joshua Redman and vocalist Bobby McFerrin. They convened on the White House South Lawn on June 18, 1993, to play music and hear Clinton lift the presidential megaphone to trumpet the beauty and significance of this art.

“It’s especially important that we should be together here in America’s house to celebrate that most American of all forms of musical expression, jazz,” Clinton told the gathering, which was later broadcast on PBS. “Jazz is really America’s classical music. Like our country itself, and especially like the people who created it, jazz is a music born of struggle but played in celebration.”

Well said, but Clinton wasn’t the first chief executive to take to the bully pulpit on behalf of jazz. Fifteen years earlier to the day, in 1978, President Jimmy Carter presided over one of the greatest jazz gatherings anywhere, bringing to the South Lawn no less than pianist Eubie Blake (who was 95), trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, singer Pearl Bailey, drummers Max Roach and Louie Bellson, and bassist Charles Mingus, among other luminaries, for an event also broadcast on PBS and covered around the world.

“That was the best jazz concert the White House has ever seen,” Carter told Time magazine in 2007, and no one disputed it.

During the event, Carter, a peanut farmer-turned president, vocalized with Gillespie on — what else? — “Salt Peanuts.” When Carter finished riffing, Gillespie asked if the president could come out on the road.

To which Carter quipped, “After tonight, I may have to!”

But the gathering had its serious moments, too. Mingus, seated in his wheelchair, famously wept as Carter sang his praises, and the president spoke eloquently about what jazz, and the musicians who sacrifice so much to play it, means to this country.

“What you have given America is as important as the White House and the Capitol building,” Carter said, affording a noble art form a degree of official respect it rarely receives in the nation that created it.

Nothing remotely like the Carter and Clinton jazz marathons occurred during the presidency of George W. Bush, though clearly every president has a right to indulge his own musical tastes. What’s the fun of being leader of the free world if you can’t invite to the White House the musicians who mean the most to you?

But the prospect of an Obama presidency stoked hope among jazz aficionados, and not only because of his African-American heritage. More important, Obama’s mixed-race lineage echoed the autobiography of jazz, which emerged at the dawn of the previous century when black and Creole cultures intermingled in the hothouse known as New Orleans. Only by merging the musical practices of self-taught black artists and their formally trained Creole colleagues could a music as sophisticated yet accessible, as complex yet freewheeling as jazz come to life.

Like America itself, jazz emerged as the most democratic of the arts, a language that gave each player a chance to stand up and solo — to speak out — as well as a requirement to work within the larger group for the greater good: musical democracy in action. If the aesthetic and technical demands in jazz were quite high from the outset, that only coaxed players to work that much harder and strive for something better, another all-American ideal.

Had Obama initiated a jazz summit at the White House, its power might have superseded the Carter and Clinton events, for it would have resonated with America’s larger breakthrough in electing its first African-American president. Moreover, a jazz event in an Obama White House could have featured American-based players with international roots, such as the Panamanian piano wizard Danilo Perez, the Puerto Rican tenor saxophone giants David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon, the Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuna, the Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen, and others.

More than ever, jazz has become a global language, but America remains its sacred ground, the arena where all jazz musicians want to play. An Obama jazz event would have projected America’s best face at a time of global strife and recession.

Now Obama has a second chance. Let’s concede that he had his hands full navigating a potential economic meltdown, health care legislation, two wars, the Arab Spring and the recent election season. Perhaps a case even could have been made that a jazz celebration on the South Lawn would have struck the wrong note at a time of economic distress (though I would have argued that music stands as a powerful, uplifting antidote to hard times).

With Obama entering his second term, however, there are no more reasons to delay. If, as Obama often says, the economy is improving, if our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are indeed winding down, Obama should set an optimistic tone for the next four years with a music that, as Clinton said, is “born of struggle but played in celebration.”

Surely the time has come for Obama to make a major cultural statement. As a president who has said he loves John Coltrane and Frank Sinatra, as a chief executive from Chicago — a city that has been defining and redefining jazz since at least 1910, when Jelly Roll Morton arrived here from New Orleans — Obama needs to convene his own jazz gathering on White House South Lawn.

Four years ago, shortly after Obama was elected, I wrote in these pages that “if Obama hopes to bring the sound of Chicago and the spirit of cooperation to Washington, he could start with jazz,” adding that he also should expand jazz programs at the National Endowment for the Arts and persuade the Kennedy Center Honors to pay greater heed to the music.

With both the sound of Chicago and the spirit of cooperation in short supply in the capital, Obama should try to start resetting the tone with a jazz gathering that he’s uniquely positioned to present.

As the Charlie Parker tune proclaims, “Now’s the Time.”