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Summer Jazz Festival features guest artists, U. of I. musicians

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor

Jon Faddis
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Photo by John Abbott
Jon Faddis returns as festival headliner to the Summer Jazz Festival at Illinois for the third year.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The in-house jazz talent at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign combines forces with guests artists June 16 through 19 to present the 2005 Summer Jazz Festival at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The festival takes place in Krannert Center’s Tryon Festival, with a final performance on June 19 at the Allerton Conference Center near Monticello. Krannert Center programs begin at 7:30 p.m.; ticket information is available at 333-6280 or The Allerton event, which begins at 5 p.m., includes cocktails and dinner. For reservations, or for more information, call the Allerton Conference Center, 333-3287 or 762-7011.

Returning for the third year as festival headliner – performing all four nights – will be guest artist Jon Faddis. The seasoned trumpeter, who regards Dizzy Gillespie as a mentor and major source of musical inspiration, has performed and recorded with jazz legends Gillespie, Eubie Blake, Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. He also has played on recordings by Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, and the Rolling Stones, and on the soundtracks of Clint Eastwood’s films “Bird” and ‘The Gauntlet.”

Kicking off the festival June 16 (Thursday) is “A Tribute to Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Monk at Town Hall,” featuring an acoustic jazz ensemble of 10 players. In addition to Faddis, featured band members will include Toby Curtright, a U. of I. doctoral student in jazz performance, who will play bass on all festival programs; Joel Spencer, a Chicago-based jazz drummer; and trombonist Jim Pugh, who will join the music faculty at Illinois this fall. The featured arrangements were first performed in New York City’s Town Hall in 1959 and will be recreated for the first time at Illinois. Introductory comments will be provided by U. of I. musicologist Gabriel Solis, an authority on Monk’s life and music.

On June 17, performers will include Pugh; jazz studies director Chip McNeill, saxophone; Dana Hall, drums; and Mark Flugge and Joan Hickey, piano.

The June 18 program will be a recreation of the 1924 Paul Whiteman Aeolian Hall Concert, featuring Maurice Peress conducting a 24-piece band with U. of I. music professor Ian Hobson, piano. Spencer will reappear on drums, along with John Dee, on hecklephone, a rarely heard instrument related to the oboe.