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Horns, harmonica and hot tunes at jazz fest

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Monday's jazz festival showcases young talent from UIC and nearby high schools, ending with an evening concert featuring Grammy Award winner Howard Levy.

Video: Joshua Clark/Anna Dworzecka

UIC’s High School Jazz Festival has always showcased young talent, but this year it will top off the Feb. 27 all-day event with an evening concert featuring a 2012 Grammy winner.

Howard Levy, jazz harmonica virtuoso and pianist, will perform at 7 p.m. in the Illinois Room, Student Center East. The concert will open with the UIC Jazz Faculty Combo, followed by Levy playing with the UIC Jazz Ensemble, a 17-piece student band.

Levy won the Grammy for best instrumental composition with Bela Fleck, renowned jazz banjo player, for “Life in Eleven.” Bela Fleck and the Flecktones recorded the song on a recent album, “Rocket Science.”

The UIC Jazz Faculty Combo, Student Combo and Jazz Ensemble will perform a free concert at midday during the festival. In the morning and afternoon, high school bands will perform and be critiqued by noted jazz faculty artists, including Ernie Adams, Patricia Barber, Ari Brown, Orbert Davis, Stewart Miller, Peter Stoltzman, and Zvonimir Tot.

The festival has grown to include 16 Chicago-area bands this year, ranging from combos to big bands.

“That’s more than we planned to accept, but we hate to turn anyone down, so we’ve expanded to three performance spaces,” said Tot, professor of jazz studies.

Tot and other festival organizers felt it was time to reach out to a wider audience.

“There was always talk about extending the day when we educate high school students to include a concert that not only would they attend, but that would also appeal to the public,” said Joel Spencer, adjunct lecturer and director of the jazz ensemble.

Tickets to the evening concert are $10 for the general public; $7 with student ID. Tickets are available online or at the door (cash or check only).

For information, call 312-996-6068.


The UIC Jazz Ensemble in rehearsal. The student group will be showcased in performances at the High School Jazz Festival Monday: at noon and again at 7 p.m. with Grammy-winner Howard Levy.

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