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 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 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.
August 30th: Ann Ward
Ann Ward has developed her musical skills in several music areas including the church, theater, jazz vocal piano and music education. She is an acclaimed composer, vocalist, pianist and an African percussionist. She began her music performance career as a concert pianist at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. After graduation from Kentucky State University with a degree in music composition Ann began performing with the Ken Chaney Experience. She has appeared in productions with Kuumba, ETA, Chocolate Chip, Steppenwolf, North Light and the Chicago Theater Company as pianist and music director. She continues to perform with the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble including Dee Alexander, Douglas Ewart, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Mwata Bowden, Ed Wilkerson and many noted musicians. Her love for teaching music extends to coordinating the Arts and Humanities Programs for the Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools. Ann has been the Minister of Music at Chatham Bethlehem Presbyterian Church for the past twenty years and she continues to volunteer as the Director of the AACM School of Music on the campus of Chicago State University.