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posted: 3/13/2014 4:17 PM

NIU Jazz Lab performs at Jazz Showcase in Chicago

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Submitted by Northern Illinois University

The NIU Jazz Lab Band, directed by Rodrigo Villanueva, will perform Tuesday, March 18, at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

The event is a fundraiser to help the band produce a DVD of a live performance at the Peoria Civic Center last January as part of the 2014 Illinois Music Education Association All-State Conference. The Lab Band featured NIU Jazz Studies faculty Art Davis, Tom Garling, Kelly Sill, Geof Bradfield, Fareed Haque and Rodrigo Villanueva performing music by Thad Jones, Wayne Shorter, John LaBarbera, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer, Tom Garling and Rodrigo Villanueva.

The performance at the Jazz Showcase, founded in 1947, one of the oldest jazz clubs in America, and the oldest jazz club in Chicago, will feature many guests, including NIU Jazz Faculty, Alumni and the NIU U-Jazz Band, directed by Matt Attfield and Matt Poulos. Shows are at 8 and 10 p.m. Cover is $10 and $5 for students. Jazz Showcase is at 806 S Plymouth Court, Chicago.

The NIU Jazz Lab Band is the Laboratory Jazz Big Band at NIU. This group performs advanced and intermediate material covering a wide variety of jazz styles, including new works composed and/or arranged by NIU faculty and students.

The group has performed with several international artists, including Allen Vizzutti, Stefan Karlsson, Liam Teague, Gary Smulyan, Mark Colby and Wayne Bergeron.

The NIU Jazz Lab Band, directed by Rodrigo Villanueva has participated in international jazz festivals and competitions, and it performs at least six concerts per academic year. In 2010 and 2014 the Lab Band was featured at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference. The group won first place in the College Jazz Big Band division at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Jazz Festival in 2008 and 2010. Under Villanueva the band has received outstanding recognition in many occasions at various jazz festivals, including the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. The band also got Outstanding Performance recognition at the 35th DOWNBEAT Annual Student Music Awards, June 2012. In addition, during the winter of 2008 the Lab Band went on tour to Mexico for the first time, participating at the JazzUV International Jazz Festival and the San Miguel De Allende Jazz And Blues International Festival. In the Spring of 2011 The Lab Band recorded its first album Quintessence.

For more information about the NIU Music Program, visit, for more about the show, call (312) 360-0234.