Orbert Davis’ Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble with special guests Zachary Brock and Brandon McCune

Orbert Davis’ Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble with special guests Zachary Brock and Brandon McCune

Orbert Davis’ Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble with special guests Zachary Brock and Brandon McCune
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Image by Graffiti Photographic
Orbert Davis–this year’s Artist-in-Residence at the festival–convenes his 18-piece Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble, which may boast 37 fewer members than the full Philharmonic, but lacks nothing in big band swagger and classical warmth. Tonight’s eagerly anticipated set will include a new Davis composition commissioned for the festival that will feature Polish percussionist Marianna Soroka, pianist Brandon McCune and violinist Zach Brock; a personal extension of Sketches of Spain that will bring out its Moorish influence; and a classically informed piece that will superimpose a Mozart string quartet over a jazz rhythm section.

The ensemble will include Stewart Miller, bass; Mikel Avery, drums; Sarah Allen, percussion; Talia Pavia and Sylvia de la Cerna, violins; Lynn La Plante, viola; Ann Griffin, cello; Nicole Mitchell, flutes; Amy Barwa, oboe; Anna Najoom, clarinet; Mike Saltr, bass clarinet; Steve Eisen, tenor saxophone; David Spencer, trumpet; Henry Salgado, trombone; Beth Mazur-Johnson, French horn, and Charlie Schuchat, tuba.

Tenor saxophone trios, once limited to visionaries like Sonny Rollins, are now fairly common in jazz. But you don’t often encounter a trumpet trio – especially one that will go from a Charlie Parker classic to a Gershwin prelude to Thad Jones’ “A Child is Born.” That’s what’s on the menu Friday for the Orbert Davis Trio, featuring Chicago native Brandon McCune (musical director for singer Nnenna Freelon) on piano and Stewart Miller on bass. Davis modeled the jazz arrangements after the duets Oscar Peterson recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Harry Sweets Edison, Roy Eldridge and Jon Faddis. The classical component is pure Orbert, this year’s Artist-in-Residence.

Each summer, the University of Illinois Chicago and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic co-administer a two-week jazz camp, the Jazz Academy, at which high school and elementary school students get to play with and learn from a special assortment of jazz pros including Artist-in-Residence Orbert Davis. In addition to band studies, the students are offered classes in jazz history and jazz aesthetics. Today, students selected from the just-completed session of the Jazz Academy will get to perform with a cast of pros headed by Davis and including violinist Zach Brock. It’ll be one of the more entertaining all-star events of the summer.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
Roosevelt University – Ganz Hall
Orbert Davis Trio
5:00 pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Petrillo Music Shell
Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble
7:10 – 8:10 pm

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage
Orbert Davis’ Jazz Academy
3:20 – 4:00 pm

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
Grant Park, Jazz on Jackson Stage
Orbert Davis’ Quintet with Ryan Cohan,
Ari Brown, Stewart Miller and Ernie Adams
1:10 – 2:05 pm

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