More than 30 of Illinois’ top high school jazz bands and ensembles will perform in the 18th annual Evanston Township High School Jazz Festival on Saturday, Feb. 12, a daylong event that culminates with an evening concert by trumpeter Orbert Davis and his powerful octet.
ETHS’s own Jazz Ensemble, led by Matthew Bufis, Director of Bands, will open Davis’s concert at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. The school is located at 1600 Dodge Ave. Earlier in the day, at noon, ETHS alumnus Chris Greene (class of ’91) and his quartet perform for the high schoolers.
Established in 2004 as a non-competitive, all-day jazz immersion event, the ETHS Jazz Festival gives students of all levels a rare chance to take clinics and master classes from some of the Chicago area’s best jazz musicians and jazz educators.
Throughout the day, 22 jazz ensembles from eight schools will perform, including ETHS’s nine bands and combos. Following each session, the student bands participate in a half-hour clinic presented by world-class professional musicians, university professors and educators.
When not playing, the students can attend additional clinics throughout the day. Orbert, founder of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and members of his octet will deliver a special presentation and Q&A at 4:30 p.m.
“The young men and women participating today represent the future of jazz music,” Bufis said. “They’ll be challenged by distinguished clinicians and have the chance to observe some of the best jazz artists that keep the genre evolving.”
Tickets for Davis’s 7 p.m. show in ETHS’s main auditorium are $20 for adults, $15 for students with ID and senior citizens. They can be purchased at ETHSJazz.com or by calling 847-424-7848. All proceeds benefit jazz education at ETHS.
Emmy-Award winning trumpeter, composer and educator Orbert Davis is co-founder, conductor and artistic director of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, a 55-plus piece symphonic jazz orchestra dedicated to bringing together audiences of diverse backgrounds through multi-genre projects. His composition “Soul Migration” draws on the stories of some of the six million African Americans who took part in the Great Migration, moving from the rural south to the industrial north beginning a century ago. Premiered at the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival, “Soul Migration” features an octet of musicians from Orbert’s Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Davis is widely respected in all things jazz, as well as his distinctive ability to use his musical talents to positively impact society through arts education and advocacy. He has a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from DePaul University, a master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Governors State University.
Evanston native, saxophonist and composer Chris Greene spent his formative years in the award-winning Evanston Township High School Wind and Jazz Ensembles. As a teenager he played professionally with many local pop/rock and jazz bands. Greene eventually attended the prestigious Indiana University Jazz Studies program and studied with renowned professor and cellist David Baker. Greene returned to Chicago in 1994 and has since collaborated with some of the nation’s most creative and versatile musicians. As a performer, Greene can be seen with many different groups and genres. He also leads his own critically acclaimed group, the Chris Greene Quartet, which includes Steve Corley on drums, Damian Espinosa on piano and keyboards and Marc Piane on bass. The Chris Greene Group Quartet incorporates funk, hip-hop, rock, pop, the blues and reggae, reflecting their diverse backgrounds.
Addison Trail High School
Champaign Central High School
Concord Community High School
Downers Grove North High School
Downers Grove South High School
Evanston Township High School
Grayslake North High School
Lake Forest High School
Kaneland High School
Lyons Township High School
New Trier Township High School
Niles West High School
Normal Community High School
South Elgin High School
William Howard Taft High School
Warren Township High School
Jazz adjudicators and clinicians
Rhythm Section Clinic: Joan Hickey (Piano), Joel Spencer (Drums), John Tate (Bass)
Play by Ear Workshop: Todd Kelly
Improvisation Clinic: Mark Bettcher
Mark Bettcher – Trombone
David Fodor – Drums
Joan Hickey – Piano
Bob Lark – Trumpet
Brian Logan – Drums
Todd Kelly – Trumpet
Joel Spencer – Drums
Janis Stockhouse – Trumpet
John Tate – Bass
Glenn Williams – Trombone