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Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz Celebrates its 10th Year at Millenium Park

June 11th, 2014

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 6:30 p.m., 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.


(schedule is subject to change)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar: Milton Suggs Big Band

Milton SuggsDunbar is renowned for diversity of style in his approach to poetry; the rhythm and rhyme of his words is ideal for musical pairing. Vocalist Milton Suggs has chosen 12 poems that express his own interpretation of Dunbar’s works. 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 Sugg’s original compositions arranged by Kris Johnson, a renowned trumpeter, composer and professor at Ohio State University.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Hal Russell Story

NRG Ensemble (Ken Vandermark, Mars Williams, Brian Sandstrom, Kent Kessler, Steve Hunt)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.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

John Moulder’s Earthborne Tales of Soul and Spirit

John MoulderAnyone who has ever been around Moulder knows how powerfully he can 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,” as he puts it – 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 including New York saxophonist Donnie McCaslin, Jim Trompeter on piano, trumpeter Marquis Hill, bassist Eric Hochberg and drummer Xavier Breaker.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

Chicago composer, alto saxophonist and singer Roberts plays in her hometown for the first time in years, performing the second chapter of her ambitious genealogical epic, Coin Coin. Roberts studied under legendary Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson and first made her mark in the collective trio Sticks & Stones with bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Chad Taylor and has developed an artistic practice that is boundless. 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 the Chicago jazz scene.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fareed Haque – Chicago: Crossroads of the World

Fareed HaqueFew 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.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

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

Ernest DawkinsThe 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. As American jazz continually refreshes ties to its African American roots by its ever-present spirit of the blues, so 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.