Archive for March, 2014

Chicago Jazz Festival Announce Headliners – Aug. 28-31

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the headliners performing in Millennium Park for the 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. The favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.), August 28-31, showcasing the very best of Jazz music from noon to 9:30 p.m. daily. Millennium Park headliners include: Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Holland, Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Sun Ra Arkestra. The FREE admission Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. The complete schedule will be announced at a later date.

On Friday, August 29 in Millennium Park, renowned bassist Rufus Reid will delight the Jay Pritzker Pavilion audience with selections from his newly released album, Quiet Pride: The Elizabeth Catlett Project, at 6 p.m. Throughout his career as a musician, Reid has composed music for string orchestra, jazz ensembles large and small, concert band, double bass ensemble and solo bass. Reid has strong Chicago roots: after earning his Bachelor of Music degree at Northwestern in 1971, he launched his professional career in Chicago, where he lived until moving to New York in 1976.

Friday evening closes with five-time Grammy® Award-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard,joined by Blue Note artists saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and West African guitarist Lionel Loueke at 8:30 p.m. Adding to his track record as a successful artist and influential band leader, Blanchard is also a renowned film-score composer, having worked on more than 50 soundtracks, including George Lucas’s 2012 film, Red Tails, chronicling the Tuskegee Airmen.

On Saturday, August 30, vibraphone virtuoso Gary Burton will bring his quintet to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage at 6 p.m. Burton’s two recent releases: the Grammy®-nominated album, Guided Tour, and his autobiography, Learning to Listen, which chronicles his 50-year career as a bandleader, acclaimed soloist and seven-time Grammy® Award winner. At 8:30 p.m., British-born bassist Dave Holland leads his quartet Prism, which stars guitarist Kevin Eubanks. Having appeared on nearly 200 albums – with artists ranging from Miles Davis to Chick Corea to Anthony Braxton to Herbie Hancock – Holland has thrilled audiences for over three decades with his own bands: groundbreaking quintets, big bands and now this neo-fusion quartet.

The Chicago Jazz Festival closes on Sunday, August 31 with a vibrant performance from the “new voice of Jazz,” Grammy®-nominated vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, at 7:10 p.m. Performing unique interpretations of little-known and seldomly-recorded jazz and blues compositions, Salvant has graced the stage at numerous festivals nationally and internationally, including Jazz à Vienne in France, the Detroit Jazz Festival and other venues. At 8:30 p.m., current and former members of the Sun Ra Arkestra will join together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the visionary composer and self-proclaimed visitor from Saturn. Starting in Chicago in the mid-1950s and continuing until his death, the prolific Sun Ra regaled the music world with his colorful combination of cosmic philosophy, new jazz sounds and beguiling stagecraft (including dance and costumes).

The 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago with support from the Chicago Jazz Partnership and these sponsors: American Airlines, Aquafina, Chicago Jazz Magazine, Chicago Transit Authority, Communications Direct, Downbeat Magazine, E&J Gallo Family Vineyards, LaGrou Distribution System and Pepsi.

For the latest information on the Chicago Jazz Festival, visit, like us on Facebook at Chicago Jazz Festival or follow us on twitter @ChicagoDCASE.

Widow of Dave Brubeck, 90, dies

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Iola Brubeck, the widow of jazz legend Dave Brubeck, died Wednesday morning in her Connecticut home at age 90, according to Dave Brubeck’s longtime manager-producer-conductor, Russell Gloyd.

Dave Brubeck died in December of 2012, a day short of his 92nd birthday.

Iola Brubeck had been waging “a brave battle with cancer,” according to a Brubeck family statement.

“Iola was a brilliant person who collaborated with our father over their 70 year marriage,” read the statement, which was posted on Dave Brubeck’s Facebook page. “She was a gifted lyricist whose poetry was sung by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Carmen McRae, Frederica von Stade and many others. Early in Dave’s career, she was the visionary manager of the Dave Brubeck Quartet who pioneered the presentation of jazz concerts in colleges across the country.”

“The Life & Music of Dave Brubeck” will be celebrated April 7-12 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

By Howard Reich
Originally published at


Osaka, Japan to Host the Third International Jazz Day

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The third annual International Jazz Day will take place on April 30, with Osaka, Japan, serving as this year’s host city. The event will kick off with a daylong series of jazz education programs, performances and community outreach. An evening concert at the outdoor Osaka Castle Park will feature performances by Toshiko Akiyoshi, John Beasley (also musical director), Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Theo Croker, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Roberta Gambarini, Kenny Garrett, James Genus, Roy Hargrove, Lalah Hathaway, Terumasa Hino, Earl Klugh, Marcus Miller, T.S. Monk, Gregory Porter, Claudio Roditi, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Lew Tabackin, Steve Turre and other artists.


Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Band Director Academy

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

May 28-30, 2014
Mesa Arts Center
Mesa, AZ

June 27-June 30, 2014
Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center
New York, NY

Are you new to conducting jazz band? Are you a veteran jazz band director looking for new ways to work with your big band? Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Band Director Academy (BDA) offers powerful insights into the teaching of jazz and emphasizes hands-on learning and techniques that can be immediately applied to the classroom. The Academy is split into two separate divisions: one for beginning/intermediate-level jazz band directors, and the other for advanced directors with years of jazz band experience. Beginners start with the basics of theory and the culture and history of jazz, while the advanced group, led by the country’s leading jazz band directors, will include seminars that delve deeper into effective rehearsal strategies, best practices and appropriate repertoire selection for your group.

The four-day session includes hands-on classes with a student demo band, jam sessions, topic discussions and a faculty concert. Whether you’re a music education student or a veteran teacher, BDA offers tips and techniques for a deeper understanding of, and passion for, teaching jazz.

Faculty to include:

Scott Brown, Director, Roosevelt High School
(Seattle, WA)

Ron Carter, Director of Jazz Studies,
Northern Illinois University

Jim Gasior, Director, New World School of the Arts High School (Miami, FL)

Reginald Thomas, Professor of Music,
Michigan State University

Rodney Whitaker, Director of Jazz Studies,
Michigan State University

Others TBD

Tuition: $350 per person

Discounts are available for 2013-14 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program members and music education students. Scholarships are available.

For more information or to register:
Phone: 212.258.9810
Email: [email protected]

Yusef Lateef

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Yusef Lateef is a Grammy Award-winning composer, performer, recording artist, author, visual artist, educator and philosopher who has been a major force on the international musical scene for more than six decades. In recognition of his many contributions to the world of music, he has been named an American Jazz Master for the year 2010 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Still very much active as a touring and recording artist, Yusef Lateef is universally acknowledged as one of the great living masters and innovators in the African American tradition of autophysiopsychic music — that which comes from one’s spiritual, physical and emotional self.

As a virtuoso on a broad spectrum of reed instruments — tenor saxophone, flute, oboe, bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, argol, sarewa, and taiwan koto — Yusef Lateef has introduced delightful new sounds and blends of tone colors to audiences all over the world, and he has incorporated the sounds of many countries into his own music. As a result, he is considered a pioneer in what is known today as “world music.”

As a composer, Yusef Lateef has compiled a catalogue of works not only for the quartets and quintets he has led, but for symphony and chamber orchestras, stage bands, small ensembles, vocalists, choruses and solo pianists. His extended works have been performed by the WDR (Cologne), NDR (Hamburg), Atlanta, Augusta and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, the Symphony of the New World, Eternal Wind, the GO Organic Orchestra, and the New Century Players from California Insitute of the Arts. In 1987 he won a Grammy Award for his recording of “Yusef Lateef’s Little Symphony,” on which he performed all the parts. His latest extended works include a woodwind quintet, his Symphony No.2, and a concerto for piano and orchestra.

As an educator, Yusef has devoted much of his life to exploring the methodology of autophysiopsychic music in various cultures and passing what he has learned on to new generations of students. He is an emeritus Five Colleges professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, from which he was awarded a Ph.D. in Education in 1975. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “An Overview of Western and Islamic Education.” In 2007 he was named University of Massachusetts’ “Artist of the Year.”

As an author, Yusef Lateef has published two novellas, “A Night in the Garden of Love” and “Another Avenue;” two collections of short stories, “Spheres” and “Rain Shapes;” and his autobiography, “The Gentle Giant,” written in collaboration with Herb Boyd. In recent years he has also exhibited his paintings at various art galleries.

Yusef A. Lateef was born William Emanuel Huddleston on October 9, 1920 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and moved with his family to Detroit in 1925. In Detroit’s fertile musical environment, Yusef soon established long-standing friendships with such masters of American music as Milt Jackson, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Paul Chambers, Donald Byrd, the Jones brothers (Hank, Thad and Elvin), Curtis Fuller, Kenny Burrell, Lucky Thompson and Matthew Rucker. He was already proficient on tenor saxophone while in high school, and at the age of 18 began touring professionally with swing bands led by Hartley Toots, Hot Lips Page, Roy Eldridge, Herbie Fields and eventually Lucky Millender. In 1949 he was invited to join the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra.

In 1950 he returned to Detroit, where he began to study composition and flute at Wayne State University, receiving his early training in flute from Larry Teal. He also converted to Islam in the Ahmadiyya movement and took the name Yusef Lateef. From 1955–1959 he led a quintet including Curtis Fuller, Hugh Lawson, Louis Hayes and Ernie Farrell. In 1958 he began studying oboe with Ronald Odemark of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Returning to New York in 1960, Yusef undertook further studies in flute with Harold Jones and John Wummer at the Manhattan School of Music, from which he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music in 1969 and his Master’s Degree in Music Education in 1970. Later, as a member of the school’s theory department in 1971, he taught courses in autophysiopsychic music. From 1972–1976, he was an associate professor of music at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Yusef first began recording under his own name in 1956 for Savoy Records, and has since made more than 100 recordings as a leader for the Savoy, Prestige, Contemporary, Impulse, Atlantic and YAL labels. His early recordings of such songs as “Love Theme from Spartacus” and “Morning” continue to receive extensive airplay even today. He also toured and recorded with the ensembles of Charles Mingus, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Babatunde Olatunji in the 1960s.

As an instrumentalist with his own ensemble, Yusef Lateef has performed extensively in concert halls and at colleges and music festivals throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Japan and Africa, often conducting master classes and symposia in conjunction with his performances. Dating from the release of the double CD “Influence” with the Belmondo Brothers in 2005, his engagements at international music festivals have increased significantly. Over the years his touring ensembles have included such master musicians as Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Hugh Lawson, Albert Heath, Roy Brooks, Ernie Farrell, Cecil McBee, Bob Cunningham, Adam Rudolph, Charles Moore, Ralph Jones and Frederico Ramos as well as the Lionel and Stéphane Belmondo.

Dr. Lateef’s first major work for large orchestra was his Blues Suite, also known as “Suite 16,” premiered in 1969 by the Augusta, GA Symphony Orchestra, performed in 1970 with his hometown Detroit Symphony Orchestra at the Meadowbrook Music Festival, and recorded by the WDR Orchestra in Cologne. In 1974 the NDR Radio Orchestra of Hamburg commissioned him to compose and perform the tone poem “Lalit,” and he later premiered and recorded his Symphony No.1 (Tahira) with the same orchestra.

From August 1981 until August 1985, Dr. Lateef was a senior research Fellow at the Center for Nigerian Cultural Studies at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, where he did research into the Fulani flute. Sarewa is the generic name for the Fulani flute.

In 1992 Yusef Lateef formed his own label, YAL Records, to record and distribute his works and those of other artists including the Eternal Wind Quintet. One of his first recordings on the label, co-composed with percussionist Adam Rudolph, was “The World at Peace,” an extended suite requiring 12 musicians including Eternal Wind, which has received repeated performances throughout the United States.

In 1993 the WDR Orchestra producer Ulrich Kurtz commissioned Yusef Lateef’s most ambitious work to date, The African American Epic Suite, a four-movement work for quintet and orchestra representing 400 years of slavery and disfranchisement of African Americans in America. David de Villiers conducted the premiere performance and recording with the WDR Orchestra. The suite has also been performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Yoel Levi as a centerpiece of the National Black Arts Festival in 1998 and by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Wilkins in 2001.

Through his publishing company, Fana Music, Yusef Lateef has contributed extensively to the lexicon of performance and improvisational methodology with such works as “Yusef Lateef’s Flute Book of the Blues,” “A Repository of Melodic Scales and Patterns,” and “123 Duets for Treble Clef Instruments.” Fana has also published numerous works for chamber ensembles, stage bands, duos and wind ensemble or symphony orchestra.

Photo credits:

  1. Photo #1 on homepage –
  2. Photo #2 above –
  3. Photo #3 above –