Second annual Women's Jazz Festival at Hey Nonny in January
In January 2024, Arlington Heights venue Hey Nonny will once again become the world capital of women's jazz. Hey Nonny announced today its second annual Women's Jazz Festival. Tickets to the expanded four-day event are on sale as of Sept. 22.
"Our first attempt at hosting a women's jazz festival brought some artistically amazing performances and enthusiastic reactions from our audiences," said Hey Nonny co-owner Chip Brooks. "It has really inspired us to come back bigger and better this year."
Brooks and team announced in June that they had received a Music in Action grant from the Live Music Society specifically for the 2024 festival.
"The grant is a real endorsement of our success last year,"said Brooks.
Noting the overwhelming absence of jazz festivals featuring female performers anywhere in the country, Hey Nonny dove in with a robust line-up of performances and panels in January 2023. In its second iteration, the Hey Nonny Women's Jazz Festival looks to build on what worked well the first time through.
"Let's start with the music," Brooks said. "We've doubled up on headliners for each night and added a series of late afternoon-evening shows for $1. We were thrilled with the number of students we reached, and we hope these $1 shows continue to open the doors to young musicians."
The festival begins on January 4 with a 4 p.m. performance by Yoko Noge's Jazz Me Blues. Noge kicked off last year's festival as well, so Brooks is counting on her to be a lucky charm again. Noge's show is the festival's first $1 show. At 7:30 p.m., Sitarsys featuring Shanta Nurullah starts things off. Nurullah plays the sitar in what Chicago jazz fans consider to be a wildly interesting and innovative group. Later that night, the Joan Hickey Quartet returns to the festival, this time featuring one of the top names in the country, New York's saxophone and woodwind player Alexa Tarantino.
The festival's second $1 show on Friday, Jan. 5, at 4 p.m., features the Mary Halm Quartet, followed by Emily Kuhn's Helios Project. Halm, a bassist and composer, as well as trumpeter Kuhn are both Chicago-based. Kuhn's Helios Project is a six-piece ensemble that combines chamber music and jazz to perform highly improvisational, expressive music. At 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, bassist Marlene Rosenberg's Quintet will perform followed by Natalie's Wood, the clever name that saxophonist Juli Wood has given to her band that plays the music of Rashaan Roland Kirk. Kirk left a deep legacy as a multi-instrumentalist before passing away at only 42 years old.
The Saturday, Jan. 6 lineup runs deep as well, with Dee Alexander leading her trio in a $1 show at 4 p.m., before the Affinity Trio featuring Pamela York steps up at 5 p.m. York is a Canadian-born jazz pianist, composer, and vocalist with several CDs to her credit. The evening twin-bill at 7:30 p.m. starts with Heirloom, a trio featuring drummer Hannah Johnson and bassist Katie Ernst, followed by Eunoia Society, a creative trio whose lineup includes drummer and Chicago native (now a Virginia professor) JoVia Armstrong and Detroit violinist Leslie DeShazor. Eunoia Society incorporates technology and instrumentation to create unique and innovative performances that rely heavily on improvisation.
The festival wraps up on Sunday, Jan. 7, as Hey Nonny brings back a special edition of their Sunday Jazz Brunch featuring pianist Meghan Stagl and friends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations for the brunch can be secured through the Hey Nonny website. At 3 p.m., the performances move over to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre stage as highly regarded Chicago pianist Alexis Lombre performs, followed by Mary Halvorson's Amaryllis Project. Halvorson is a New York City-based guitarist and composer, and is a winner of a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant.
"We are so honored to shine the light on this amazing collection of jazz performers," said Brooks. "We'll also have some student events on Saturday the 6th. Featuring some of the exciting young players in local schools was such an impactful part of the festival last year. This will be an amazing way to kick off the new year."
Tickets for the 2nd Annual Hey Nonny Women's Jazz Festival shows, and other Hey Nonny shows, are available at www.heynonny.com.
Hey Nonny is a bistro and music venue located in the heart of downtown Arlington Heights. The bistro, helmed by Chef Noe, serves an array of fresh seasonal Midwestern comfort-food-with-a-twist and a seasonally changing menu. The music venue is one of the best new "listening rooms" in the country, and hosts live music six days a week, featuring the best Chicago and touring acts playing jazz, blues, country, folk, and rock.