A New Era of Jazz

trailside events

The Central Illinois Jazz Society is ecstatic to announce that our 2017-2018 season will kick off in June at a beautiful new venue: the Trailside Event Center in Peoria Heights.

Go ahead and applaud. We can wait. 

Since the birth of CIJS in 1978 in the backyard of our founder, jazz pianist Doug Lady (now a Senior VP at Hal Leonard Corporation in Milwaukee), we have held our monthly concerts at great spots like The Other Side (inside of Pizza Works), The Distillery, Holiday Inn on Brandywine, Jumer’s Castle Lodge (for many, many years), and most recently The Starting Gate Banquet Room at Landmark.

todd kelly quintet at the starting gate banquet room

todd kelly quintet at the starting gate banquet room

We are beyond grateful to Liz and her team at Landmark for letting us rush over when Jumer's announced its closure. We've enjoyed several memorable seasons at this location.

However, like all good things, our time at Landmark will soon come to an end thanks to an incredibly generous offer from Mark Trompeter, General Manager of the Trailside Event Center. Mark has offered to reserve the third Sunday of every month for our Featured Artist Concert Series, which is a big commitment for a new but already successful venue. 

the blank canvas awaits an era of blue notes

the blank canvas awaits an era of blue notes

CIJS could not pass up this amazing opportunity to initiate a new era for the organization, our guest artists and house band, our supporters, and most importantly our mission.

Offering one night each month to providing staff, bar, and food for a nonprofit with a limited budget is a compassionate commitment for which we will always be grateful…to Mark, Landmark, Jumers and every other venue that has hosted us over the last four decades. 

And so, with a clear view of our potential to grow among Peoria Heights' up-and-coming community of arts and music lovers (and the businesses who serve them), we humbly accepted Mark's generous offer.

the brazilionaires, who will play the final concert at landmark, are the cijs featured artist for may.

the brazilionaires, who will play the final concert at landmark, are the cijs featured artist for may.

Wow. Almost four decades.

With tremendous gratitude and all kinds of excitement in tow, we invite you to follow us to the beautiful Trailside, an expansive and historical venue with beautiful brick walls, gorgeous custom windows, great food and drink options, and the accessibility our patrons have come to appreciate from our monthly concerts.

The phenomenal Todd Kelly Quintet will officially kick off the new season and a new Jazz Age for CIJS on Sunday, June 18.

Each of us at the Central Illinois Jazz Society would like to genuinely thank you all for so many years of loyalty and support, and we cannot wait for you to join us in June as we begin our 2017-2018 season as part of the premiere food and entertainment community of Peoria Heights.

Let the new era of Central Illinois Jazz begin.

DEREL MONTEITH TRIO 2.19.17

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CONCERT REVIEW

By Derel Monteith

When Ellen told me that she had drawn the short straw to write the review of my trio's show at Jazz Society, I thought "hmmm...love ya, but I'm not sure that's the best idea...a wife reviewing her husband's band." So I volunteered to write a little about the songs we played, without necessarily reviewing our specific performance of them.

As I mentioned at the show, these are all originals of mine that, with one exception, were written since I formed the band about 2 years ago. We started with "Folk Song," which I wrote the night of the November 2016 election rather than watching the election returns. It starts with a simple melody backed by a military-style snare drum groove, and after a brief interlude featuring the bass, has a solo section that eventually "goes free"---that is, we all solo simultaneously without any sense of time to hold things together. The time then returns for us to play the original melody to finish the piece.

Next was "Innocence," which I wrote to try to musically capture the notion of focusing on simple, beautiful things in the world and in other people; my daughter Ariel has always inspired me to return to that notion.

After bringing some contrast with "Trash Talk," an aggressive, loose funk tune, we played "American Melody," a ballad I wrote to try to reflect the desire many people have for our country to thrive, a desire that I believe cuts across political lines. To attempt to get there, I tried to echo traditional American compositions such as simpler works by Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.

Next up was "Shifting Sands," one of my stranger tunes, with multiple time changes and textures; to bring the program back to a more familiar style, we then played "A Note From The Old School," which is basically an extended blues form with a few tricks thrown in.

After "Whispered Spark," a complex tune with many written bass lines (and the one old piece in the bunch), we finished up with "Spirit and Solidarity," which centers around a simple waltz melody inspired by a great performance given by the Brian Blade Fellowship at the Rootabaga Jazz Festival in Galesburg.

Thanks to everyone for following and listening to live jazz, and we look forward to seeing you at future shows!

NOTEWORTHY

♪ We welcome David Hoffman and Friends as our Guest Group for the March 19 Jazz Society concert. David Hoffman leads the group on trumpet and flugelhorn. Joining David are Kevin Hart on vibes, Derel Monteith on piano, Andy Crawford on bass, and Jason Brannon on drums. David Hoffman and Friends features an All-Star lineup of excellent musicians from the Central Illinois area. They will present a variety of standards and original tunes, including new selections composed for the Weekly Jazz Vespers service at Westminster Presbyterian Church. David Hoffman and Friends will begin their set at 7:15 p.m. The Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band, led by Larry Harms, will open the night with the first set at 6:00 p.m.

♪ Thanks to the Derel Monteith Trio for performing as our Guest Group for our February Jazz Society concert. Derel led the trio on keyboards and was joined by Andy Crawford on bass and Jason Brannon on drums. Derel presented an outstanding concert of original music, some performed for the first time in recent days. We thank Roger and Shirley Cunningham for being Program Sponsors for the February concert. Please contact any board member if you would like to Sponsor a future concert. Program Sponsors help sustain the Jazz Society through their additional financial support of our monthly programs.

♪ We also thank Ellen Monteith for serving as our MC for the February concert. We also thank Tom Harkless, Andy Bussan, Beth Bussan, Ray Ellington and Bob Cannon for helping with the concert. Thanks to Bill Duncan, Cedar Hills Sound, for providing outstanding sound for all of our monthly programs.

Stephanie Aaron | 1.22.17

CONCERT REVIEW

by John Cheek

After a break for the holiday, jazz was live again at the Landmark Center in January. The CIJS House Band opened the evening with Angel Eyes with a medium swing feel. Band leader Larry Harms was in his usual great form on tenor, and trumpeter Matt Buzcko was reminiscent of the great Chet Baker. Guest guitarist Lonnie Tucker gave us a nice solo, with the rhythm section rounded by the usual suspects of Billy Cook on guitar, Jon Byler-Dann on bass, and Jeremy Clark on drums.

Guest vocalist Bernie Salguero joined the boys for Besame’ Mucho, providing sultry vocals to complement a slick guitar solo by Billy. Berne continued to steam up the room with Fever, featuring a growling plungered trumpet solo by Matt. Up next was Flapper Snapper, a great 20s-style tune by Central Illinois’s Tom Fatten, giving us the feel of a speak easy joint filled with Larry’s clarinet stylings and Jeremy’s great brush work on the drums. Bernie joined again with here beautiful tone on the standard Bye, Bye Blackbird. The House Band closed their set with Like Someone In Love, with a funky intro transitioning to a swing melody. 

The featured artist was the great Stephanie Aaron, accompanied by Larry Harms on saxophone and backed by next month’s featured group, the Derel Monteith Trio (Derel on piano, Andy Crawford on bass, and Jason Brannon on drums). Stephanie was fantastic, as always, and opened with Sleeping Bee, which really got the crowd going. Stephanie next took us down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, in a Latin style. She really showed the awesome range of that huge voice...that comes from a tiny person! A surprise was next, with Bunny Berigan’s I Can’t Get Started in a three feel and modernized lyrics. Solos by Larry and Derel were great before Stephanie belted out a big finish that resolved into a quite ending. Truly a treat. 

A great storyteller, Stephanie moved on to M-O-T-H-E-R, a tribute to moms everywhere. Stephanie’s smile was infectious as she sang the “Mother, a word that means the world to me.” Stephanie killed it again on the ballad More Than You Know before picking things up again with Exactly Like You, featuring great brush work by Jason and superb solos by Derel, Andy, and Larry. The closer of the night was the great ballad Every Time We Say Goodbye, with Derel and Stephanie in sync on rubato intro that really set the foundation for Stephanie’s emotional vocals. If you missed the January concert, you missed another good one. It was great to have Stephanie back in town, and we can’t wait for her next visit.

NOTEWORTHY

♪ The Derel Monteith Trio will perform as our Guest Group for the Jazz Society’s February 19 concert. The Trio has become a regional favorite through regular performances at Rhythm Kitchen Music Cafe in Peoria and Jazz UpFront in Bloomington, as well as concerts at venues such as Knox College and CEFCU Center Stage. Joining Derel in the Trio are Andy Crawford on bass and Jason Brannon on drums, who help shape the overall sound and style of the group. The Derel Monteith Trio will begin their set at 7:15 p.m. The Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band, led by Larry Harms, will open the night with the first set at 6:00 p.m. We thank Roger and Shirley Cunningham for being Program Sponsors for the February concert. 

♪ We thank Stephanie Aaron for performing for our January concert. Stephanie was joined by Larry Harms on sax, Jason Brannon on drums, Andy Crawford on bass, and Derel Monteith on keyboards. Stephanie and her band presented an outstanding program of music. We were fortunate to have Stephanie with us again to share her talented voice and creative skills, and we thank Sharon and John Amdall for being Program Sponsors. Please contact any board member if you would like to sponsor a future concert. Program Sponsors help sustain the Jazz Society through their additional financial support of our monthly programs. 

John Cheek’s Concert Reviews will be missed in future issues of the Jazzscope, since John will be moving out of the area. We appreciate John serving on the Jazz Society board and preparing outstanding Concert Reviews during the last several years. We all wish him the very best and welcome him back any time. Thanks John! 

♪ We are sorry to report that Leonard Lloyd, a former Jazz Society board member, passed away on January 1, 2017. Len served on our board for many years before moving from the area to be closer to his son. We express our deep sympathy to the family of Len at this time of great loss. 

♪ We thank Ellen Monteith for serving as our MC for the January concert. We also thank Tom Harkless, Andy Bussan, Beth Bussan, and Ray Ellington for helping with the concert. Thanks to Bill Duncan of Cedar Hills Sound for providing outstanding sound for all of our monthly programs.  

Jane Lady Family Jazz Education Scholarship

Scholarship Announcement

We announced at our November concert the recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Jazz Society – the “Jane Lady Family Jazz Education Scholarship” – in honor OF Jane Jady, former Jazz Society President and mother of Doug Lady, founder of the Jazz Society.

The recipient of the $750 scholarship is Victor Garcia. Victor is a sophomore music major at Illinois Central College, where he plays lead alto in the ICC Hard Bop Jazz Band. He studies privately with Larry Harms and is sound engineer for the ICC Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Victor is a graduate of Richwoods High School in Peoria. In addition to school, Victor also has a full-time job at Panda Express restaurant.

Thanks to Larry Harms for his help with the scholarship process and all that he does for young musicians and the Jazz Society. Thanks to the Jazz Society members – you help support this effort.

Illinois Central Jazz Train 11.20.16

CONCERT REVIEW

by John Cheek

The featured group for November was the Illinois Central Jazz Train under the direction of Larry Harms. The Jazz Train played both sets in November, but the CIJS House Band was not entirely absent as House Band regulars Jeremy Clark on drums, Jon Byler-Dann on bass, and Matt Buzcko on trumpet are featured members of Jazz Train. The night kicked of with Sammy Nestico's Fun Time, a medium swing featuring a great bari sax solo by Jeff Arbisi. The band moved on to Jobim's Wave, arranged by guitarist Justin Haynes and featuring lead trombonist Harlan Geiser. Up next was Fletcher Henderson's Wrappin' It Up, a 1930's hit for the Ellington band, which really showed the versatility of the Jazz Train. The first ballad of the night was a new arrangement of When You Wish Upon A Star, performed as a soaring duet by trumpeters John Cheek and Myles Singleton. Larry Harms gave us a burning fast clarinet feature on Undecided...so fast that the band had to hustle to keep up with Larry!

Tenor saxophonist Tyler Dringenberg was featured on Soundsketch by Bob Florence, a ballad that also showcased the entire band on a double-time shout chorus. Nasty Blues gave us a fast swinging blues with great solos, including a closer on alto by John Offut.  The band closed the first set with Hank Levy's Whiplash, the title track from the recent award-winning film with a tricky 7/4 time signature, counter melodies, and some crazy trumpet solos mixed in the middle. The second set kicked off with another Nestico tune, this time No Time Like The Present, followed by trumpeter Tom Fatten's great arrangement of Route 66. In A Brazilian Bone Tone featured the entire trombone section, namely Harlan Geiser, Charlie Vetter, Darren Seymour, and Jason Shea.

Another Tom Fatten arrangement was up next, the beautiful Gentle As A Grandaughter's Smile, featuring Morgan Turner on alto sax and Matt Buzcko on trumpet. The band moved on to a blues shuffle called Blue Brews before hitting us with Louis Bellson's Skin Deep, which closed with the band leaving stage for several minutes while drummer Jeremy Clark showed his stuff on a great drum solo. A little funk was on the menu next as the band took on an original by guitarist Justin Haynes called Marvin Gets Meaner, with excellent solos by pianist Bruce Lane, tenor saxophonist 'Mo' Washburn, and Justin himself. Jazz Train closed the night with another Fletcher Henderson tune for the Ellington band, Hotter Than 'Ell, again showing the band's ability to play all styles ranging from early jazz to swinging blues to modern funk.

NOTEWORTHY

♪ Stephanie Aaron will perform as the Guest Group for the Jazz Society’s January 22 concert. Stephanie Aaron is a Peoria native who, for the last several years, has been living in Chicago where she sings steady gigs at clubs and hotels. She is very pleased to be playing for the Jazz Society once again with Larry Harms on sax, Cory Flanigan on drums, Andy Crawford on bass, and Derel Monteith on keyboards. Stephanie Aaron will begin her set at 7:15 p.m. The Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band, led by Larry Harms, will open the night with the first set at 6:00 p.m. We thank Sharon and John Amdall for being Program Sponsors for the January Concert. We are very happy to welcome Stephanie back with the Jazz Society.

♪ We thank the Illinois Central Jazz Train, directed by Larry Harms, for performing during both sets of the Jazz Society’s November concert. Larry and the Jazz Train always present an outstanding array of tunes and styles – from classic big band to contemporary arrangements with a new and interesting twist. They drew a big crowd to enjoy this unique big band group. We thank Bill and Joan Flowers for being Program Sponsors for the November Concert. Please contact any board member if you would like to Sponsor a future concert. Program Sponsors help sustain the Jazz Society through their additional financial support of our monthly programs. 

♪ Many thanks to Bill Duncan for organizing the Jazz Gala Benefit for David Hoffman and his wife Julia on Nov. 6. Thanks to the many musicians, who donated their music for the Benefit, thanks to those who attended and everyone who helped with the event. We also thank the Trailside Event Center for providing their wonderful facility and Hearth for providing fine food for this display of fabulous music and fellowship.

♪ We thank Maureen O’Haenny for serving as our MC for the November concert. We also thank Jake Jacobsen, Sally Jacobsen, Tom Harkless, Andy Bussan, Beth Bussan, Ellen Monteith and Bob Cannon for helping with the concert. Thanks to Cedar Hils Sound for providing outstanding sound for all of our monthly programs

Preston Jackson & Friends with Judy Page + CIJS House Band 10.16.16

CONCERT REVIEW

by John Cheek

The CIJS House Band got the evening started with Henry Mancini’s Days of Wine and Roses. Bandleader Larry Harms on clarinet and Matt Buzcko on trumpet kicked on the solos and were followed by the usual rhythm section of Billy Cook on guitar, Jon Byler-Dann on bass, and Jeremy Clark on drums. Why Don’t You Do Right was up next, with Larry’s clarinet and Matt’s plunger mute background behind guest vocalist Bernie Salguero. Jon’s familiar bass line on this tune was reminiscent of Stray Cat Strut. Bernie continued on vocals with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Corcovado, named after a mountain near Rio de Janeiro, and Matt gave us a superb bubble muted trumpet solo. The band continued with Pfrancing (No Blues), which is a traditional 12-bar blues by Miles Davis with great solos all around. Larry was featured on the ballad My One And Only Love before Bernie came back for Black Coffee. Bernie’s soothing sounds and great phrasing were reminiscent of the simple sounds of the great Chet Baker. The band wrapped up its set with Cute by Neil Hefti, featuring Jeremy Clark on the brushes. Bernie was a great addition to the House Band, which was killer as usual.

The featured act was Preston Jackson & Friends featuring Judy Page, with the renowned Preston Jackson on guitar, Dave Parkinson on tenor sax, John Miller on bass, Steve Degenford on guitar, and Tevin Keeton on drums. The great Judy Page always provides awesome vocals. The band opened with the standard Blue Bossa and gave us a sense of the great sounds we would hear during the set. Tenderly was a medium ballad featuring great solos by Dave, Preston, and Steve, all held together by Tevin’s solid drumming. Judy joined the guys next for a string of vocal features, starting with The Old Man From The Old County, featuring a great bass solo by John, and leading into Dinah Washington’s soulful If I Had (You). Judy continued with Never Make A Move Too Soon by BB King, with a great sax solo by Dave, and the we heard another great solo by Preston on I’ve Grown Accustomed from My Fair Lady. After two more vocal standards, Judy brought back to a Latin mood by calling Sway, leading Dave to grab some maracas to help Tevin out on percussion. Judy’s sweet vocals were complemented by Preston’s background licks and a great guitar solo by Steve. The band finished the night with one more instrumental. It was great to have Preston and Judy back at Jazz Society, and we thank them and the rest of the band for their contributions to keeping Jazz alive in Central Illinois.

Noteworthy

 The Illinois Central Jazz Train, directed by Larry Harms, will perform during both sets of the Jazz Society’s November 20th program. Members of the CIJS House Band will be featured prominently in the first set, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. The second set starts at 7:15 p.m. We thank Bill and Joan Flowers for being Program Sponsors for the November concert. The Jazz Train in an outstanding group of musicians who perform unique big band arrangements. We always look forward to their program – be sure to attend.

 We thank Preston Jackson & Friends and song stylist Judy Page for being our Jazz Society guest group for the October concert. Preston led his talented friends on guitar. Joining Preston were David Parkinson on tenor sax, Steve Degenford on rhythm guitar, John Miller on bass, and Tevin Keeton on drums. Preston, Judy, and Friends helped fill the Landmark with a very appreciative crowd. The October program was sponsored to honor J.C. Kline’s birthday and his love of the Jazz Society. J.C. passed away on Sept. 2, 2015. We thank J.C. Kline’s family for sponsoring the concert and honoring J.C in this very special way. Please contact any board member if you would like to sponsor a future concert. Program Sponsors help sustain the Jazz Society through their additional financial support of our monthly programs.

 We thank Ellen Monteith for serving as our MC for the October concert. We also thank Jake Jacobsen, Sally Jacobsen, Tom Harkless, Julie Harkless, Bob Cannon and Ray Ellington for helping with the concert. Thanks to Cedar Hills Sound for providing outstanding sound for all of our monthly programs.

ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER

Beginning in January 2017, we will discontinue individual mailing of our newsletter. The November Jazzscope is the last planned newsletter mailing.

IT JUST COSTS TOO MUCH (printing costs, time spent processing, and materials).

We are encouraging everyone to subscribe on our website so we can start sending you the newsletter and other highlights through email. We are also working on a postcard mailing to replace the newsletter in an effort to continue alerting you to our upcoming concerts and programs.

All other information will be available on the website.

We will have some paper copies available at our monthly concerts. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we believe the saved costs and time will be put towards better purposes. Thank you in advance for your patience and continued support for live Jazz in Central Illinois.

John Miller and the Romaniacs + CIJS House Band 9.18.16


Concert Review

By John Cheek

The September concert kicked off with the CIJS House Band, under the direction of saxophonist Larry Harms. After opening with Yesterdays by Jerome Kern, Larry welcomed guest trombonist Charlie Vetter to the stage for a great rendition of All Of Me. Drummer Jeremy Clark provided excellent brush work behind sweet trombone and clarinet sounds. Bassist Randy Emert opened up Footprints, a great 3/4 time piece by Wayne Shorter, and played a haunting bass line behind Jeremy’s drum solo. The band’s ballad of the night was Horace Silver’s Peace, which explored both diatonic and modal functions (for our musician readers!) and gave a great backdrop for Billy Cook’s guitar solo and Larry’s finale cadenza. Billy was next featured on Wes Montgomery’s Road Song, with great strumming and picking. The set wrapped up with On Green Dolphin Street, with fantastic solos all around. It was wonderful to see and hear another talented guest brass player with the House Band.

As usual, a large crowd turned out for our featured artists, John Miller & the Romaniacs. John was joined by usual suspects Larry Harms on clarinet and Joe Park (from St. Louis) on guitar, with Randy Emert on bass pulling double-duty that night. The Romaniacs played 14 “gypsy jazz” and Django Reinhardt tunes, so I can only share some of the great moments here.

The Gypsy Fire, by French guitarist Romane, had a nice bounce with Larry taking the melody before John’s solo. Django’s guitar style was partly a result of a fire-related hand injury, so this was a great background for one of John’s great Django stories. (Django’s Hot Club Quintet) with Little Coquette, an old gypsy standard with a Bossa rhythm. John next called Dance Norvegienne, one of Django’s ballads, featuring both Larry and John. Hungaria, first recorded in 1939, took us back to a bouncy and upbeat sound before John’s favorite song, Crépescule. Vocals and crowd participation were next on the menu, with John taking to the microphone for Oo-La-La-La, C’est Magnifique. Everyone had fun with that one!  One of my favorites, The Blue Drag, was next with its nice medium swing beat and great solos and some intricate bass work by Randy. Joe (nicknamed Fluvio) was featured on Swing 42, which was an “extra song” recorded at the end of Django’s 1942 recording session. Joe and Randy (nicknamed Antoin) gave us a second-line groove to kick off Django’s Monkey (a modern take off of Django’s Tiger), which gave us some stop-time soloing by John and Larry before returning to a second-line feel. Nuage (meaning Clouds in French) was another excellent ballad platform for the band, with its airy and uplifting lines. John and the band gave us another great performance of their take on gypsy jazz and the music of Django Reinhardt, and as usual, John’s stories about Django and the music were a great addition to the show.

Noteworthy

Preston Jackson & Friends, featuring Judy Page, will perform as the Guest Group for the Jazz Society’s October 16 program. Preston Jackson leads this group of talented musical friends on guitar. Joining Preston are David Parkinson on tenor and alto sax, flute, and backup vocals, rhythm guitarist Steve Degenford, John Miller on bass, and Tevin Keeton on drums. Finally, adding to this group's ability to captivate an audience is longtime song stylist, Ms. Judy Page. Preston Jackson & Friends will begin their set at 7:15 p.m. The Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band, led by Larry Harms, will open the night with the first set at 6:00 p.m.

We thank John Miller and the Romaniacs for being our Jazz Society Guest Group for the September concert. The Romaniacs perform a “gypsy jazz” style of music and are a very popular group with the Jazz Society attendees. John Miller leads the Romaniacs on guitar and provides interesting narratives about the music and about Django Reinhardt, the composer of many of their tunes. Joining John were Randy Emert on bass, Joe Park on guitar, and Larry Harms on clarinet. We welcomed the Romaniacs and hope they are able to return for a Jazz Society concert. We thank Bob and Linda Cannon for being the Program Sponsors for the September Concert. Please contact any board member if you would like to Sponsor a future concert. Program Sponsors help sustain the Jazz Society through their additional financial support of our monthly programs.

  We thank Ellen Monteith for serving as our MC for the September concert. We also thank Andy Bussan, Beth Bussan, Tom Howard, Tom Harkless and Ray Ellington for helping with the concert. Thanks to Cedar Hills Sound for providing outstanding sound for all of our monthly programs.