For the 3rd year the Chicago Jazz Festival is partnering with PianoForte Foundation to present three solo piano concerts at their beautiful and intimate concert hall at 1335 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. All concerts begin at 5:30 and end at 6:30.
Monday August 25 Sam Grossner
Tuesday August 26 John Wright
Wednesday August 27 Matthew Shipp
For more information call
Sam Grossner – Monday August 25th
Sam started playing piano at 7 years of age. As a teen, he helped a friend of his repair and rebuild player pianos, which quickly brought him to the world of stride piano and piano player Fats Waller among others. Today he both plays and restores pianos. Sam played piano at the original DejaVu Tavern on Lincoln Avenue for several years at the Sunday night jazz jam sessions.
John Wright – Tuesday August 27th
John Albert Wright was born in Louisville Kentucky in 1934, to a father who worked as a laborer, and a mother who served as a missionary At the age of three, John began playing the piano at his mother’s Pentecostal church. It was the sanctified tradition of gospel sound alone that was allowed to enter his ears. By the age of five he so put his piano teacher to shame, that the humbled instructor told Mother Wright “her money should, at honest best, be saved, not “wasted” on formal lessons. In John, she had a prodigious son”.
To this day the pianist, organist and bassist does not read or write music. Known commercially as “South Side Soul” he currently appears with his own quartet in clubs in the Chicago area. Selected recordings include South Side Soul-John Wright Trio, John Wright: Mr. Soul, John Wright: Makin’ Out and John Wright: The Last Amen. His studio credits include Prestige, Fantus and Catz recording studios.
John attended Wendell Phillips High School from 1948-1951, and in 2008 was inducted into Wendell Phillips High School Hall of Fame. His military service included three years of Special Services throughout Europe. He is a father of nine, grandfather of 29, great grandfather of 15, and great-great grandfather of five. Wright was the 2009 recipient of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Walter Dyett Lifetime Achievement Award.
Matthew Shipp – Wednesday August 28th
Shipp was raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and began playing piano at six years old. His mother was a friend of trumpeter Clifford Brown. He was strongly attracted to jazz, but also played in rock groups while in high school. Shipp attended the University of Delaware for one year, then the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with saxophonist/composer Joe Maneri. He has cited private lessons with Dennis Sandole (who also taught saxophonist John Coltrane) as being crucial to his development.
Shipp moved to New York in 1984 and has been very active since the early 1990s, appearing on dozens of albums as a leader, sideman or producer. He was initially most active in free jazz, but has since branched out, notably exploring music that touches on contemporary classical, hip hop and electronica. At the beginning of his career Shipp was stylistically compared to some of his predecessors in the jazz piano pantheon but has since been recognized as a complete stylistic innovator on the piano – with AllMusic referring to his “unique and recognizable style”; and Larry Blumenfeld in Jazziz Magazine referring to Shipp as “stunning in originality.” Jazziz Magazine also referred to Shipp’s CD 4D as “further proof of his idiosyncratic genius.”