The Chicago Jazz Festival Announces Its 2016 PianoForte Sessions, Featuring Performances by three of
Chicago’s Foremost Pianists: Steve Million and Jeremy Kahn’s “Double Monk” project and Ari Brown performing a tribute to Ann Ward
For over twenty years, a staple of the Chicago Jazz Festival‘s programing has been a featured solo piano performance, usually by local talent, on the festival grounds. In the past 5 years, the solo piano performances have been presented in partnership with the PianoForte Foundation – another active presenter of music in the Chicago area.
For the 2016 series, The PianoForte Session will include Steve Million and Jeremy Kahn’s “Double Monk” project and AACM stalwart Ari Brown paying tribute to Ann Ward.
Additionally, all of the PianoForte performances will be broadcast live on WDCB (90.9 FM).
All PianoForte events will take place at Pianoforte – 1335 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605; All concerts are free and begin at 5:30 PM
August 29th: Steve Million and Jeremy Kahn’s “Double Monk”
Steve Million is a Chicago based jazz pianist who can be heard five nights a week performing with the Eric Hochberg Trio. This gig (which has lasted for ten years!) features a different great Chicago jazz artist every night. Artists who regularly perform there include: Dee Alexander, Greg Ward, John Moulder, Victor Garcia, Sarah Marie Young, Mike Allemana, Ari Brown, etc.
Million moved to Chicago in 1988 after being a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition. Upon moving to Chicago he and Mike Kocour, also a semi-finalist, put together a two keyboard band called Monk’s Dream with Robert Shy on drums, Mike on organ and Steve on piano. This was his first foray into two keyboard interpretations of Monk music. They performed at the Green Mill and the Bop Shop, as well as the Chicago Jazz Festival. Now some twenty years later
, he and his good friend and colleague the great pianist Jeremy Kahn have put together Double Monk which features both artists on piano. The music is very challenging and especially so for multiple keyboards! They can be heard here: https://youtu.be/a-g1H6qLZyc
Million grew up musically in Kansas City, Mo. performing with the great singer Ida McBeth as her musical director. He was part of a vibrant KC scene and was influenced by and performed with such greats as Jay McShann, Carmel Jones, the great guitarist Steve Cardenas, etc.
Million recorded three CD’s in the late 90’s featuring his original music and arrangements on the Palmetto label. These CD’s featured the playing of Randy Brecker, Chris Potter, Dick Oatts, Michael Moore, Ron Vincent, and Steve Cardenas. He recorded a trio side in 2003 (Poetic Necessities), a solo piano recording in 2008 (Remembering the Way Home), two experimental synth recordings with the group Thelonious Moog along the way, and he co-leads the band BakerzMillion with Andy Baker, their CD is entitled Mood Point.
In addition to Double Monk, he also has a band co-lead by the great singer Sarah Marie Young that features his original songs and lyrics.
Million is the Jazz Chair at Merit School of Music.
Steve lives on the west side of Chicago with his wife, Azusa, and their two beautiful daughters Nika and Mari.
Jeremy Kahn is one of Chicago’s busiest pianists, dividing his time between jazz venues, pit orchestras, and recording and teaching studios. He graduated from New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. Jeremy then spent twelve years in New York, where he was a member of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, and was the pianist in the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (led by Jon Faddis). He has performed on stage with Dizzy Gillespie, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Branford Marsalis, the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, and on screen with Madonna, Mary Wilson and Johnny Crawford. Jeremy has played at many of Chicago’s theaters, including the Oriental, Cadillac Palace, Shubert, Auditorium, Chicago, Aurora Paramount, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Lincolnshire Marriott, Porchlight and Royal George for shows like Wicked, Spamalot, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Aida and Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara. Jeremy was also the pianist/conductor for productions of Hot Mikado and Pal Joey, and is currently a faculty member of Northwestern University and the Music Institute of Chicago. He has been a featured performer at the Chicago, Hyde Park and Poznan (Poland) Jazz Festivals, and a featured guest on the radio shows of Studs Terkel and Marian McPartland. Jeremy sits on the Advisory Board of the PianoForte Foundation and is a 2014 honoree of the Chicago Musicians Union Dal Sagno Club.
“New York’s loss has been Chicago’s gain in the case of Jeremy Kahn, the splendid jazz pianist who (has) moved back to his hometown . . .”
Howard Reich; Chicago Tribune
Information about Jeremy’s recordings and schedule can be found at www.kahnman.com.
August 30th: Ari Brown Solo Piano in Tribute to Ann E. Ward
Versatility has characterized the career of Ari Brown
, a Chicago-based reedman and occasional pianist who plays hard bop and post-bop as convincingly as he plays avant-garde jazz. After growing up on the city’s South Side and graduating from high school in the early ’60s, Brown
attended Chicago’s Wilson College, where he met Jack DeJohnette
, Henry Threadgill
, Roscoe Mitchell
, Joseph Jarman
, and others who would later become members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Brown
played piano in mostly soul and blues bands until 1965, when he took up the sax and starting becoming seriously interested in jazz. In 1971, he joined AACM and made jazz his primary focus. Brown
played sax on a few albums by the much-loved Chicago group called the Awakening
(who included bassist Rufus Reid
), but after losing some teeth in a 1974 auto accident, he gave up playing the sax for about a year and played the piano exclusively. Brown
made a full recovery, made the sax his main instrument once again and went on to work with players ranging from McCoy Tyner
and Don Patterson
to Sonny Stitt
in the 1970s. Brown also kept busy during the 1980s, recording with Lester Bowie
before being hired by Von Freeman
, Bobby Watson
, and Anthony Braxton
(who hired him for his Charlie Parker Project). It was in 1989 that Brown
began his lucrative membership in Kahil El’Zabar
‘s Ritual Trio
. But as long a resumé as Brown
had as a sideman, he didn’t record as a leader until 1995, when he provided the diverse Ultimate Frontier