November 28, 2023
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Musicians find their groove at Jazz Trials jam in Yorkville

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YORKVILLE – A few dozen patrons came from near and far for the monthly local Chicago-style open jazz music jam session that celebrated its third anniversary this month.

Musicians including drummers, pianists, steel pannists, horn players and bassists came from in town and as far as Puerto Rico for this month’s Jazz Trials jam on Thursday, July 25 at The Law Office, 226 S. Bridge St.

Dave Katz of Yorkville was one of about 10 musicians that played during the jam. He said he has been frequenting the jams since they started under host and Yorkville native Mike Schwebke three years ago – and a consistent jam session lasting this long is almost unheard of outside of Chicago.

“Oftentimes, they’re at restaurants, the owners may not be quite as supportive as everybody here and, oftentimes, they only last a year,” Katz said.

Visual artist Susan May Romano’s photo installation called “Solo Single” also was featured at The Law Office during this jam session.

Katz said the monthly jam session also features "celebrity bartenders" from primarily northern Illinois-based nonprofit groups, where all tips from the night go to the organization that is featured during the jam that month. He said the fundraising part of the event has been popular and gives patrons an opportunity to support music and local charities in the same night.

Schwebke had said that component of the recurring jam has raised more than $15,000 for more than 20 organizations in the past three years of the event, with no duplicates. This month's celebrity bartenders were from Water Street Studios, a nonprofit art gallery in downtown Batavia.

Jaime Gutierrez of North Aurora, who is also the events, facilities manager for Water Street Studios, was celebrity bar tending along with Brea Hayes of Batavia, volunteer for Water Street Studios. He said he has been familiar with the jams previously and was initially approached by Schwebke as an organization that could benefit from the event.

Even though the group is visual arts-based, Gutierrez said, they also try to help promote and be involved in different areas including music, theater and dance.

“Any chance we get to collaborate with any kind of arts related event, we’re happy to do that,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said the money raised during the event will go toward upgrading the gallery’s sound system.

“Right now and for many years, we’ve just been using like a home stereo system to run our speakers,” Gutierrez said. “We don’t really have a good way of having microphones and extra sound for our events.”

Gutierrez said the overall goal for the new system is $2,772. He said the group raised $380 in tips on Thursday, July 25.

Katz said he thinks the jam has been so successful and will remain successful because everyone involved in the event – including the venue's owners, other musicians and benefiting charities – is supporting everybody else.

“Old timers like me can come and have a good time and high school kids can come and practice with the seasoned veterans,” Katz said with a laugh.

Colin Kampschroer, a senior at Oswego High School and a percussionist, said he enjoys playing at the jam, mainly because it’s great to play with others that share the same passion as he does for playing music. He said he first came to the jam last month to play on drums because his high school’s band program was the charity beneficiary for that event, so he decided to come and play again this month.

“I had a lot of fun that time, so this month I just thought that I would come by and do it again,” Kampschroer said.

Katz said he tries to come to this jam in particular as often as he can and goes out of his way to do so. He said the musicians that come through are wonderful and he especially enjoys playing with the house band's rhythm section – which usually comprises of a drummer, pianist or guitar, and bassist.

"It's just so much fun and I love it," Katz said.

Katie Finlon

Katie Finlon

Katie Finlon covers local government and breaking news for DeKalb County in Illinois. She has covered local government news for Shaw Media since 2018 and has had bylines in Daily Chronicle, Kendall County Record newspapers, Northwest Herald and in public radio over the years.