Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker" highlights CJO's "Not So Silent Night" concert, 12/22 @ the Studebaker
The acclaimed Chicago Jazz Orchestra (CJO) will debut a new holiday music tradition in Chicago when it presents Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s The Nutcracker Suite, a jazz-infused rendition of Tchaikovsky’s original 1893Nutcracker score, in its entirety, one-night-only, Friday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Studebaker Theatre, 410 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building.
Single tickets are $35-$45. Reserve tickets in advance at chicagojazzorchestra.org, or purchase tickets on site that evening, subject to availability.
A stellar composer’s masterwork plus an inspired arranger and his jazz orchestra equals Duke Ellington’s The Nutcracker Suite. The beloved 1960 Columbia label album introduced exciting new jazz interpretations of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, arranged by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
Ellington’s entire eight-song Jazz Nutcracker will comprise act one of CJO’s Not So Silent Night holiday concert, from Toot, Toot, Tootie Toot (inspired by Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Reed Pipes), to Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy), to Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance).
Act two includes the 17-piece Chicago Jazz Orchestra, under the director of Jeff Lindberg, performing holiday favorites arranged for big band. Selections include Jingle Bells by James Lord Pierpont, Vince Guardaldi and Lee Mendelson’s Christmas Time is Here, Stan Kenton Orchestra’s A Merry Christmas, Hannukah Medley arranged by Paul Ferguson, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Jules Styne and Sammy Cahn, Maynard Ferguson Orchestra’s Christmas for Moderns medley, and more.
Smart Chicago jazz enthusiasts can save money by adding Not So Silent Night to a CJO 2017-18 three-concert package including Sophisticated Giant: A Tribute to Dexter Gordon, with special guest Joshua Redman (March 25), and A CJO Salute to Sinatra at the Sands featuring Paul Marinaro (May 12).
Discounted three-concert packages are $85 (balcony) and $115 (floor), and are available at chicagojazzorchestra.org. All three concerts will be performed at the beautiful Studebaker Theatre.
Founded in 1978, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra is the city’s oldest professional jazz orchestra in continuous operation and one of the oldest jazz repertory orchestras in the country. As recently as 2015, Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune cited the CJO as “one of the best big bands in the country.” For more information, visitchicagojazzorchestra.org.
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra (chicagojazzorchestra.org) strives to develop and promote an appreciation for and understanding of music for the American jazz orchestra as it was originally conceived, performed and recorded by jazz master composers and soloists.
When Jeff Lindberg and the late Steve Jensen first came up with their big band concept in 1978 (founded as the Jazz Members Big Band), they could not have predicted the remarkable metamorphosis that has turned a group of first-call musicians into what is now known as the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece premiere jazz ensemble that has garnered both national and international recognition.
Conductor and Artistic Director Jeff Lindberg is one of the foremost transcribers in jazz. As a result, the orchestra’s repertoire draws upon his vast library including the works of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Oliver Nelson, Ray Charles. Because the CJO has its own transcriptions of the original recordings, much of the music in its concerts cannot be heard anywhere else. The CJO also performs compositions and arrangements by CJO members, including Associate Artistic Director Charles Harrison.
The CJO served as the resident orchestra for the Kennedy Center Honors Supper Dance for more than 25 years. In 2006, the Orchestra performed before a sold-out audience at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina. The CJO has toured Europe twice, including performances in Italy, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. The Orchestra has performed with such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, Louis Bellson, Herbie Hancock, Jon Faddis, Kurt Elling, Jack McDuff, Kenny Burrell, Roy Hargrove, Marquis Hill, Walter White and many more.
The orchestra performs at a wide variety of top venues across the Chicago area, from The Green Mill, to City Winery, to the Spertus Institute. Merit School of Music is the orchestra’s educational partner, including day-long clinics that culminate with students performing alongside members of the CJO, master classes led by renowned guest artists and open rehearsals. The CJO also provides complimentary concert tickets to underserved public school students and their families.
The CJO’s recordings include Clark Terry and Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra: George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Americana Music, 2004), nominated “Jazz Album of The Year” by the Jazz Journalist’s Association, and a rare “Five Star” rating by DownBeat magazine, which also named it one of the top recordings of the previous decade. It also made the annual “top CD’s” lists of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Times and Jazz Education Journal. To celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2013, the CJO released Burstin’ Out with vocalist Cyrille Aimée performing classic and original jazz arrangements. The CJO’s newest release is the 2017 compilation Live from Space, with live recordings from the summer of 2016.
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra’s 2017-18 season is supported by The Stare Fund, The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Joseph B. Glossberg Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, and The Saints of Chicago, with media sponsorship from WDCB 90.9 FM,DownBeat Magazine and Chicago Jazz Magazine.
For more information, visit chicagojazzorchestra.org.