The Chicago Jazz Ensemble (CJE) and Artistic Director Jon Faddis continue the Eighth American Heritage Series at the Harris Theater for Music & Dance, 205 East Randolph Drive, with special guest, Chicago's own, Ramsey Lewis on Friday, February 16. The evening kicks off with a pre-concert conversation with Faddis and Lewis from 7:00 - 7:30 pm followed by the concert at 8:00 pm.
Lewis, world-renowned composer, arranger and pianist, last joined the CJE as a special guest at Father's Day with the Big Bands at the 2006 Ravinia Festival, where he has been the Artistic Director for Jazz since 1992. The CJE will present some of Lewis' most memorable tunes, including a taste of his jazz hits and soul-stirring gospels.
Lewis has been referred to as the great performer," a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections which display his early gospel playing and classical training along with his love of jazz and other musical forms. A native Chicagoan, he captivated fans with his first album Ramsey Lewis and the Gentlemen of Swing.
By 1965, he was one of the nation's most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with The In Crowd," Hang On Sloopy" and Wade In The Water." He has three Grammy Awards and seven gold records and has received three honorary doctorate degrees, the Recording Academy Governor's Award and the Person of the Week" award on ABC Nightly News. In addition to recording albums and performing live, Lewis hosts WNUA-FM's weekday morning drive-time radio show and the syndicated Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis," a two-hour radio program which airs in over 65 U.S. cities. He recorded his 2005 release With One Voice at Ravinia with the Sanctuary Choir of James Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church, where his sister is co-pastor.
The Chicago Jazz Ensemble is recognized internationally as one of America's leading jazz ensembles. Founded in 1965 by distinguished composer and conductor William Russo, and led by trumpeter and composer Jon Faddis since 2004, the CJE remains dedicated to preserving the innovative tradition of American jazz music, performing and reinterpreting the classics of big-band repertoire, while promoting the continuing evolution of the art form by regularly performing and commissioning contemporary works. As a professional jazz ensemble in residence at Columbia College Chicago, the CJE is equally committed to education, building new audiences and fostering the next generation of American talent by training and mentoring young musicians.
The 2006/2007 season marks the CJE's 41st Anniversary and third year with Jon Faddis as Artistic Director. Faddis draws on more than 30 years experience in performing with superb big bands and leaders, including Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra (now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra) and Gil Evans. Faddis served as music director for Dizzy Gillespie's GrammyTM-award winning United Nation 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 more than 40 concerts in 10 years at Carnegie Hall, featuring over 135 musicians and 70 guest artists. In addition to his work with the CJE, Faddis is reaping great audience and critical acclaim with his new album, Teranga, which was released on Koch Records in June, 2006.
Tickets for the CJE with special guest Ramsey Lewis at the Harris Theater are $45, $35, $20 and $15 with a 10% discount to senior citizens and students and a 20% discount to groups of 10 or more. For tickets and information, visit www.harristheaterchicago.com or call (312) 334-7777.
For more information on performances by the CJE, visit the website below.