Student musicians debut at Chicago Jazz Festival

UIC Jazz Ensemble

The UIC Jazz Ensemble performs at 2:50 p.m. Sunday at the Chicago Jazz Festival’s Young Lions Stage, between Randolph Street and the Pritzker Pavilion.

The UIC Jazz Ensemble makes its debut Sunday at the internationally known Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park.

The group will play at 2:50 p.m. on the Young Lions Stage, located between Randolph Street and the Pritzker Pavilion. Their set will feature Kenny Wheeler’s “Sweet Time Suite,” a piece with eight movements.

The students will perform with soloists Cheryl Wilson, who teaches vocals at UIC, and 2014 graduate Shaun Johnson on flugelhorn. Wilson will sing wordlessly in harmony with Johnson.

“The voice and the flugelhorn are often used together to make one sound, in unison. Or they’re answering each other, or they’re in harmony,” said ensemble director Andy Baker.

Wilson has performed as a backing vocalist with Spike Lee, Harry Connick Jr., Mel Torme, Jay Z, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Tony Bennett, Joni Mitchell and dozens of other big names.

Johnson, who also plays trumpet, has appeared with Randy Brecker, Ernest Dawkins, Miguel Xenon and UIC’s own Dee Alexander. He has toured with Wynton Marsalis and performs locally with the Xavier Breaker Coalition at Andy’s Jazz Club, the Velvet Lounge and the House of Blues. This will be his second performance at the jazz fest.

The UIC Jazz Ensemble’s new CD, “Walkin’ About,” will be available for sale at the festival. Callers who’ve phoned a campus number lately may have heard a preview of the new album — two selections are featured in UIC’s latest on-hold message.


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