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updated: 12/10/2012 10:51 AM

Chicago-based artist Licha DeLaPeņa's paintings will be on the CD Smoke Signals for Mercaba, a jazz quartet.

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  • This is is one of Licha DeLaPeņa's paintings on Mercaba jazz quartet's CD

    This is is one of Licha DeLaPeņa's paintings on Mercaba jazz quartet's CD

Dorothy Weinberg

Chicago-based artist Licha DeLaPeņa's paintings will be on the CD Smoke Signals for Mercaba, a jazz quartet. There are two paintings one on the cover and one inside.

The CD was released on December 5, 2012. The Mercaba quartet includes Glen Roberts, electric guitarist and composer, a Northbrook native; Trevor Shandling, drummer and composer, Highland Park native; Dan Kristan, on bass, and Mark Tuttle, both of Des Moines, Iowa. All members of the quartet now live in Chicago. Artist Licha DeLaPeņa, who grew up in Dolton, IL, finds inspiration for her paintings in day to day living in the city's Logan Square neighborhood in the St. George Artist Court, a block of private artist studios, where she currently resides.

Licha DeLaPeņa's website is: Information about the band can be found on their website and on their Facebook page:

Much like the music they play; the name Mercaba has many meanings and can be interpreted in many ways. It refers to a mystical vision of the chariot of God, a 3-dimensional star tetrahedron, and can be translated as "light-spirit-body".

Roberts, a University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC) alum, learned guitar mainly by listening to Chicago jazz legends like Bobby Broom, New York legends like Kurt Rosenwinkel, and by taking lessons from a couple guys around town including Zvonimir Tot who became the guitar professor at UIC only after Glen graduated from its music program.

Shandling, also a UIC alum, learned the drums at a young age by studying with his father, Rick Shandling, who is an underground staple of the Chicago jazz scene. He studied jazz drum set with Ernie Adams at UIC and jazz piano with Dave Flippo.

Kristan, played bass since he was 9 and was in the Iowa All-State Jazz Band and the All-State Orchestra as principal bassist. He moved to Chicago to study at DePaul University where he's now a senior. He studies with Kelly Sill and Ron Perrillo.

Tuttle has played for many great groups in Chicago including the Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Rick Shandling's Jazz Coalition, Brad Goode Band, Dana Legg Stage Band, Bill O'Connell Big Band, Paul Mckee, Damon Short, Woody Herman Orchestra, and even Tower of Power to name a few.

Mercaba recorded their first full length all original album, "Black Bridge", at Dr Caw Recording Studio in Northbrook in November 2011. It is the culmination of playing together for almost 2 years. They have performed their original music and straight ahead jazz at Chicago venues such as Jerry's, Bird's Nest, Elbo Room, Deagan Music, Horseshoe Place, and the illustrious Green Mill as part of the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective series. Suburban performances include Salerno's Pizzeria in Vernon Hills, the Landmark in Northbrook, Northbrook Days festival, Highwood Farmer's Market, North Shore 'Live' Cooper's Corner public access cable TV show, the 1st Presbyterian Church of Deerfield, Glenview Public Library, and a broadcast at WNUR 89.3FM Northwestern radio.

The CD cover painting is titled "With" and is on exhibit through December 2012 at The Flower Flat located at 620 West Addison Chicago, Illinois 60613. For details about the Flower Flat please visit:

The second painting, "It's Always Our self We Find In The Sea" is part of Wallace J Nichols LivBlue crusade . This painting is available for sale at the artist's studio, Oktober Studio 50% of the sale is donated to ocean conservation.

DeLaPeņa began painting in her graduation year from Columbia College Chicago in 1996. Mostly showing work on the west side of Chicago, her work has been showcased in venues such as Gallery Cabaret, Gallery 1633, Simons, 20/30 Club Charity Events, TOP Charity Events, KDT Designs Inc, Green Eye Lounge, The Charleston, Filter, Advance Spine & Sports Care, and No Friction Cafe, among others. Paintings are available for purchase and commission at the artist's private space, Oktober Studio in Logan Square.