Join the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre (CRDT) and Pharez Whitted as a guest solist on October 5th & 6th at the Constellation Jazz Club.
Join Pharez Whitted and Willie Pickens at The Green Mill on Friday, September 15th at 9pm and Saturday, September 8th at 8pm.
A master trumpeter, gifted composer, conductor, and educator, ORBERT DAVIS is co-founder and artistic director of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (CJP), a 55 piece jazz-symphonic orchestra, which he co-founded in 2004. He also works with at-risk children through his Jazz Alive program, which is the Arts Education outreach arm of the CJP. In addition to eight CD’s, including the newly released Havana Blue, and three films to his credit, Orbert conducts his newest piece, Soul Migration, commissioned for the Great Black Migration Centennial Celebration, at the opening of the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival. He also has composed The Chicago River, inspired by the reversal of the Chicago River in the early 20th century, and performed at Symphony Center in 2013; a piece for the City of Chicago’s 173rd birthday; and Hope in Action, a tribute to Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, both performed by the CJP to capacity crowds in Millennium Park. In 1995 the Chicago Tribune named Orbert one of the Arts People of the Year, and in 2003 Chicago Magazine named him one of seven Chicagoans of the Year. He was commissioned to write the music for the 2010 WTTW special, From DuSable to Obama for which he won an Emmy. Orbert is also host of “The Real Deal with Orbert Davis,” a weekly three hour program airing on 90.9fm WDCB, also streaming live at wdcb.org. For the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Orbert pays tribute to one of the great jazz trumpeters, Freddie Hubbard, who formed his sound out of the Clifford Brown/Lee Morgan tradition, and became a pacesetter in jazz in the 1970s. The Sextet includes ORBERT DAVIS, trumpet; VICTOR JESUS GARCIA, trumpet; PHAREZ WHITTED,trumpet; LEANDRO LOPEZ VARADY, piano; STEWART MILLER, bass; and YUSSEF ERNIE ADAMS, drums.
A piano powerhouse, WILLIE PICKENS began his career on Eddie Harris’s 1961 national hit record, Exodus, since then playing with James Moody, Roy Eldridge, Max Roach, Clark Terry, Ira Sullivan, and going on the road with Elvin Jones for five years. But instead of staying on the national and international jazz scene, Willie chose to make a home in Hyde Park, become a Chicago Public School (CPS) teacher, an active member of the Hyde Park Union Church, and a mentor to scores of upcoming musicians. Following his retirement from CPS, Willie increased his performance schedule. By the time he passed his 80th birthday, Willie was busier, more in demand, and playing better than ever. Although recently retired from decades of teaching at Northern Illinois University, he maintains a vigorous schedule, mentoring in Ravinia’s Jazz Scholar program and performing frequently at the Jazz Showcase, among other venues. Earlier this year as part of Jazz at Symphony Center series, Willie gave an electrifying performance with his trio, receiving a thundering standing ovation. The Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich has written that Willie’s intense dramatic performances result from his “large and complex chords, his great splashes of color and dissonance in the right hand and his barrelhouse octaves in the left.” He also has commented that it “takes a lifetime to learn to construct such an essay in sound, and we're fortunate that Pickens is here to show us how it's done.” Joining Willie are PHAREZ WHITTED, trumpet; KURT SCHWEITZ, bass; and ROBERT SHY, drums.