Big Band concert will aid jazz students
Frank Portolese of Green Oaks will performs with the Jazz Community Big Band at Fitzgerald's on Nov. 7. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Jazz Community Big Band
FitzGerald’s Nightclub, 6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn
7:30 p.m. Nov. 7
Tickets are $10 $5 for students 17 and under with ID; fundraiser for Bill May Jazz Education Fund
(708) 788-2118 or visit www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com and www.JazzCommunityBigBand.com
Updated: October 31, 2012 11:36AM
It will be an evening of fine, big band jazz to support a new generation of jazz musicians.
“I’m proud of what we’re doing and accomplishing in this short time with Jazz Community, in we’re keeping Bill’s memory alive with the music he loved through the band he created and built,” said Marianne May of Norridge.
May, the non-musical leader of the Jazz Community Big Band is talking about the Nov. 7 fundraising event benefit at FitzGerald’s Nightclub in Berwyn.
The band’s founder, the late Bill May was her brother, and to support The Bill May Jazz Education Fund, a 60/40 raffle will be conducted during the show, with 60 percent of the money going to the Bill May Jazz Education Fund and 40 percent to the winner.
The show features the 18-piece big band, including both its co-music directors and original band members, trumpeter Phil Feo of Lake Zurich and saxophonist Leo Kawczinski of Park Ridge. They’ll play with eight fellow original members, two returning members who’ve subbed with the band in the past, and seven new band members.
“I’m grateful that the musicians in the band are so committed and dedicated to keeping Jazz Community going after our big reunion in October of 2011,” said May. “When reuniting last fall, no one knew what the future would hold, I thought it would be a one-and-done situation, but Bill had such a huge impact on the original returning members of the band that they wanted to keep the band playing as a way to continue to honor him, and the new members of the band are just as committed to this endeavor. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.”
The band has already provided help for a new generation of jazz musicians. Recipients of its 2012 Summer Scholarship, Hoffman Estates High School students Matthew Capone, a trumpeter, and Carlos Garcia, a saxophonist, attended the Music Institute of Chicago’s summer jazz camp this past June. They will perform a couple of numbers with the band at Fitzgerald’s.
“Bill was all about teaching his students not only music, but to be better people by taking charge of their lives by always striving to do their best,” said May.
Guests will hear a mix of charts from the Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis libraries, as well as arrangements by band members and some original compositions.
“We also want to make sure our audience feels like they’re more than just spectators on Nov. 7, so we’ve asked them to provide suggestions as to what songs they might like to hear that evening with our “Listener’s Choice” offering,” she said.
To help make the evening even more enjoyable, Capri Ristorante, next door to FitzGerald’s, is offering a 15 percent discount to Jazz Community fans that evening. Attendees can call ahead to place their order and pick-up and take to the club to enjoy during the concert.
Coordinating the fundraiser is a big job, said May, but “none of that matters when we’re playing a gig — we’re all having a blast!”