We continue our Discovery series this week by heading to the state of Illinois (U.S.). Chicago, by far the state’s largest city, is one of the world’s largest cities and has a long and rich history of jazz. I am not going to even attempt to list all of what this city has meant to the history and the continued development of jazz. Even outside of Chicago, Illinois is home to some great jazz musicians and some wonderful colleges and universities that produce these musicians. Some of the names listed below you may already know, but I hope to focus on some that you may not.
As with our past locations, the goal is to introduce you to 3 new musicians each week from different parts of the world. My hope is you will find some new discoveries, support them by buying their albums and by attending their concerts if you are in their area (or they in yours). Another benefit is for you to hear new musicians and how they approach their instrument and jazz. You never know where you might find your next favorite line!
Chicago is home to a number of great jazz venues, but in this week’s post I wanted to highlight one of those venues because of what they are doing to support not only live Jazz-but supporting young jazz musicians. The Drake hotel in downtown Chicago (along with a partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago) features the NextGenJazz series, which is a 6-concert series every Thursday night in their Palm Court. I think it is great that a venue supports the next generation of Jazz musicians they way they do.
Like mentioned in previous series; Illinois has been the home to a number of jazz musicians known and unknown. Hopefully the musicians below are people you will start checking out (if you have not already).
Marquis Hill– trumpet
Rajiv Halim– sax
Xavier Breaker– drums
These are just a few of literally hundreds (if not thousands) of great jazz musicians you can find in and/or from Illinois. If you have checked out these musicians above, be sure to check out their websites and albums to support them. I would also highly encourage you to look up other great musicians from Illinois and see what this great state has to offer in terms of Jazz.
Jason Klobnak is a versatile trumpet player that has been performing as an active musician, author, clinician, composer and educator. His band, J's Ruckus, is Denver's blend of Post-Bop, Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. They perform infectious and up-lifting originals for audiences hungry for a memorable live experience. J's Ruckus released their latest album, Suck Less, in March of 2020 and their first EP, Sermons, in July of 2019. Both were recorded live in front of an audience. Suck Less was recorded to a packed auditorium at Arapahoe Community College's Waring Theater in Littleton, CO. Sermons was recorded in front of a sold out crowd at the Soiled Dove Underground. The JKQ (the Jason Klobnak Quintet/Quartet) is Mr. Klobnak's Hammond B-3 centered groups. The JKQ released their third full-length album in March of 2018 called Friends & Family. It has been very well reviewed, on numerous Top 10 lists for Jazz radio stations across the country (including Denver's KUVO 89.3FM which named it May 2018's CD of the month), and in Jazzweek's Top 100. Each composition was written for specific family and close friends (that might as well be family). Their second album, New Chapter, was recorded in part thanks to the Pathways to Jazz Grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance. In 2015 and 2016, New Chapter was in the Top 75 on the Jazzweek charts and on the Top 10 playlists for over a dozen radio stations worldwide. Their first album, Mountain, Move made the Best Recordings of 2013 list from AllAboutJazz.com by C. Michael Bailey. His very well reviewed Christmas single, Hark the Herald, in 2016 as part of a creative project with musicians James Roberson and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. Besides the JKQ, Mr. Klobnak is a B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman-custom trumpet), Denis Wick (mouthpiece and mutes) and Westone Audio endorsed artist (ES20 and Tru Customs). Mr. Klobnak has played and recorded for numerous groups ranging from jazz, soul/R&B, indie-rock/pop and gospel. In addition to performing, he has also written two improvisation-based books called Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and Breaking the Monotony and is currently an adjunct professor and brass instructor at Arapahoe Community College. Mr. Klobnak holds a bachelor degree from Drake University (Des Moines, IA) and a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO).
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