If you're in the mood for a truly musical experience, jazz may be just the thing you're looking for.
This weekend will be a treat for both jazz junkies and those new to the scene, with top jazz performers from the Chicago area performing in a variety of venues in downtown St. Charles.
If you goWhat: St. Charles Jazz Weekend
When and where:
Thursday, Sept. 20
• 5 - 7 p.m., Chris Madsen Jazz Trio at Bistro One West, 1 Illinois St.
• 7 - 10 p.m., Andy Schlinder Jazz Duo at The Alibi, 12 N. 3rd Street
• 8:30 - 11:30 p.m., Dat Band, McNally's Irish Pub, 109 W. Main St.
Friday, Sept. 21
• 7 - 10 p.m., Chris Madsen Jazz Trio at Isacco Kitchen, 210 Cedar St.
• 7:30 - 10:30 p.m., Bill Boris Trio at Bistro One West
Saturday, Sept. 22
• 12:30 - 3 p.m., Jeans and jazz lunch and fashion show, Bistro One West, $20 per person; call (630) 444-0600
• 7:30 - 10:30 p.m., Mike Jeffers Trio at Bistro One West
• 9:30 - 12:30 p.m., Chicago OGD at McNally's Irish Pub
Sunday, Sept. 23
• 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., The Mike Frost Duo at Bistro One West
Admission: Performances are free to patrons of the venues
This premiere event "came about as a way to attract people to St. Charles for a nice evening out," said Scott Pinar, marketing and development Manager for the Downtown St. Charles Partnership.
The idea for this weekend of jazz originally coincided with a Branford Marsalis concert at the Arcada Theatre. Although that fell through, the rich range of talent and sounds coming throughout the four days promises to bring the best jazz experience around.
"Jazz aficionados can choose to tune in and listen intently to the duet interplay, while casual listeners will find the music nonintrusive and recognizable as we're playing music from the Great American Songbook, as well as some jazz standards," said Chris Madsen, who will be appearing with Tim Fitzgerald at Bistro One West and Isacco Kitchen during the weekend.
From Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 20-23, musicians will perform at Bistro One West, McNally's Irish Pub, Isacco Kitchen and The Alibi. Performers include the Chris Madsen Jazz Duo, the Andy Schlinder Jazz Duo, Dat Band, the Bill Boris Trio, Mike Jeffers Trio, Chicago OGD, and the Mike Frost Duo.
"I have worked with Bistro One West for the past year, helping them to present live jazz on a weekly basis," said Mike Jeffers, drummer and president of Chicago Jazz Magazine and ChicagoJazz.com. "When the idea of having a jazz weekend in St. Charles was developed, I worked closely with George Guggeis, the owner of Bistro One West, to program the live music for the weekend. The groups that are performing at Bistro One have been featured at festivals throughout the country, and are all booked through Chicago Jazz Entertainment."
The Mike Jeffers Trio, which will perform Saturday evening at Bistro One West, will feature Jeffers on drum set, with pianist Demos Petropolous, and bass player Nick Schneider. The music that Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat Cole and Antonio Carlos Jobim made famous will be at the heart of this performance.
Chicago jazz musicians are a close-knit community, and in addition to performing this coming weekend with his trio, Jeffers will also be appearing Friday night with the Bill Boris Trio.
"Bill Boris is a guitarist who has traveled throughout the world performing," Jeffers said. "Boris just returned from a tour of Italy with the jazz faculty of Columbia College of Chicago, where he is on the faculty. He has recorded or performed with Charles Earland, David 'Fathead' Newman, Arthur Prysock, Tony Monaco, Irene Reid, Eric Alexander, Fred Weslay, Oscar Seaton, and many others. His performances combine straight-ahead jazz with more contemporary music that enables him to showcase his unique guitar talents."
The Andy Schlinder Jazz Duo will perform this weekend, with their variety of standard jazz repertoire as well original compositions. One distinct characteristic of their music is the influence of Balkan and Turkish rhythms/rhythmic concepts. They have appeared throughout Chicago including the Green Mill and the Jazz Showcase.
Chicago OGD, appearing Saturday night at McNally's, covers standard jazz to today's smooth jazz, and includes dance music as well as the blues. From its performances of "Hello Brazil" to "Fine as Wine," listeners will be transported beyond the standard jazz experience.
In addition to the musical stylings of the weekend, a Jeans and Jazz Lunch and Fashion Show, provided by Jeans and a Cute Top Shop in St. Charles, will be held at Bistro One West on Saturday afternoon. Guests will be treated to a gourmet lunch along with live jazz and a strolling fashion show. Tickets are $20 per person for this show only, and must be purchased ahead of time by calling (630) 444-0600.
All other performances this weekend are complementary to in-house guests of each venue.
Sunday brunch at Bistro One West will feature the Mike Frost Duo.
"Frost has a jazz sound all his own, and focuses around the jazz standards," Jeffers said. "His recordings have been charted in the top 100 of Billboard, and his playing is something to really experience."
With mutual admiration, Mike Frost said, "I am performing in the St. Charles jazz festival because I believe it's important to bring jazz to new audiences whenever possible. If we want to keep jazz thriving we as jazz musicians need to seek out new opportunities. I will be playing with guitarist Bill Boris who recorded with me on all three CDs that were released by the Mike Frost Project. I think that both seasoned jazz fans and newcomers will find something enjoyable in our performance at Bistro One West on Sunday, Sept. 23."
"It's a different taste of music," Pinar said. "Bistro One often has jazz, and McNally's has music, but we wanted an event for early fall, when folks could enjoy jazz outside."
For details, see downtownstcharles.org.