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January 16, 2005
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Chicago Jazz Ensemble Announces Sixth American Heritage Jazz Series First with Artistic Director Jon Faddis

The Chicago Jazz Ensemble (CJE) announced today that it will kick off its Sixth American Heritage Jazz Series Sunday, February 13, 2005, at the Field Museum with an innovative jazz inspired blues concert featuring legendary blues guitarist Lonnie Brooks. This year's celebration "The Roots of Chicago Jazz" features four programs representing the evolution of jazz in Chicago.

Born Lee Baker Jr. in Dubuisson, Louisiana, Lonnie learned to play the blues from his banjo-picking grandfather. By the time he was 22, Brooks owned a guitar and was seen strumming on his porch in Port Arthur, Texas by zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier, who offered the youngster a job. By 1957 Brooks had become a regional R&B star in his own right recording singles for Goldband under the name Guitar Junior. Brooks met Sam Cooke in Atlanta in 1959, and the two became fast friends. Together they went to Chicago, where Brooks fell in love with Chicago blues. Soon, his own potent mixture of Louisiana swamp R&B, Chicago blues, proto-rock and soul had people taking notice. He changed his name to Lonnie Brooks (there was already a Guitar Junior in Chicago) and the rest is history. From headlining the 13th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, a month-long European tour, a guest spot on the nationally syndicated NPR quiz show, Whad'ya Know?, and a nationwide tour, Brooks continues to create vibrant, emotionally charged music.

The Chicago Jazz EnsembleTM was founded in 1965 by the late jazz composer William Russo as a professional jazz orchestra in residence at Columbia College Chicago. The 20-piece orchestra is comprised of Chicago's jazz elite and its repertoire is derived from the early works of Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, King Oliver, and Jelly Roll Morton, as well as other jazz greats that forged the American jazz heritage.

This is the CJE's first series with Artistic Director trumpet virtuoso, Jon Faddis. Faddis draws on over thirty years experience in performing with and conducting superb Jazz big bands such as Lionel Hampton's big band and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra (now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra). Faddis served as music director for Dizzy Gillespie's GrammyTM-award winning United Nation's Orchestra, for Dizzy Gillespie's 70th Birthday Big Band, and, after his mentor's passing, Faddis led the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars Big Band. Renowned for his leadership of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Faddis conducted over 40 concerts in ten years at Carnegie Hall, featuring over 135 musicians and 70 guest artists. With an extraordinary mission, "The Roots of Chicago Jazz" honors CJE's past 40 years and forges an adventure in music education creating tomorrow's legacy™.

Dates and times for the series are as follows:

2:00 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2005,The Field Museum, James R. Simpson Theatre, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, $30, $25 and $10 for students; 312-344-6245. Program: A special Jazz and Blues Concert. Guest Artist: Lonnie Brooks

8:00 PM, Saturday, March 19, 2005 The Art Institute of Chicago Rubloff Auditorium, 230 Columbus Drive. $30, $25 and $10 for students; 312-344-6245. Program: The Great Chicago Tenor Saxes. Guest Artists: Johnny Griffin, Ira Sullivan, Von Freeman, Franz Jackson, and Eric Alexander.

8:00 PM, Friday, April 8, 2005 The Field Museum, James R. Simpson Theatre 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, $30, $25 and $10 for students; 312-344-6245. Program: The CJE shares the stage with guests of the International Association for Jazz Education. The program will include Chicago Style Jazz.

8:00 PM, Saturday, May 7, 2005 2:00 PM, Sunday, May 8, 2005 The Field Museum, James R. Simpson Theatre 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, $30, $25 and $10 for students; 312-344-6245. Guest Conductor: Two-time Grammy Award Nominee, Composer/Arranger Gerald Wilson.

Ticket and venue information is available on the web at or the CJE ticket hotline at 312-344-6245. Additional information can be obtained by calling Kat Ryan, Marketing and Development Coordinator at 312-344-6269.

Programs and guest artists are subject to change.

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