The Venue in downtown Aurora presents a three-day Jazz Festival running July 8 to 10 in the adjacent Mundy Park.
Tickets cost $20 to $25 for a single day, or purchase a three-day pass for $65, a news release stated. The festival is sponsored by WDCB 90.9 FM radio from the College of DuPage. Patrons are encouraged to bring bag chairs or picnic blankets to enjoy jazz under the stars. Limited outdoor chairs are available for $5. For more information, visit the event page at themusicvenue.org.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Friday, July 8. The festival will kick off with The Pete Ellman Big Band, founded in 2009 after Ellman retired from 20 years of service in the Illinois Air National Guard. Ellman built a band not just to play live but to help mentor young budding musicians. The band plays all over the Chicago area, often inviting younger big bands to open their performances. The Big Band has created a residency at The Venue, packing houses on Tuesday evenings while bringing in high school and college bands to open the shows. The July 8 show begins at 8 p.m. General admission costs $20. All ticket prices increase by $5 at the door.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 9. Performing at 7 p.m. will be Carroll, Artry and Ward. The trio began in 2016 after an impromptu jam at Greg Ward’s Tuesday Night Fellowship at The Hungry Brain. There was an immediate connection as the first tune was called. The band followed up by getting together and looking at exciting new ways to present The American Songbook. The three musical minds have been making their careers playing jazz in the area for some time, and have performed with a plethora of people including Syl Johnson, Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, Lupe Fiasco, Makaya McCraven and others. In July 2018, the band released their first album, “Fellowship Vol. 1.”
At 8 p.m., the Joel Patterson Quartet will perform. Patterson is a guitar wizard, said concert organizers in the release. He’s played with a wide variety of acts, as well as played a wide variety of guitars. Each session, each performance, each guitar played has that unique stamp that comes distinctly from Patterson. His quartet features Andy Brown on guitar, Beau Sample on bass, and Alex Hall on drums. The band has a Monday night residency at The Green Mill, and is known to play all kinds of music from jazz to blues to Western swing and, as their bio states, “everything in between.”
At 9:15 p.m., Frank Catalano headlines Saturday night. Catalano is an extraordinary tenor saxophone player. Downbeat magazine proclaimed, “Frank Catalano is John Coltrane energy for the 21st century.” His music has been heard all over the world. He has won three Grammys, and been nominated 11 times for playing with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child and John Legend. Years ago, Catalano lost his middle finger in an automobile accident. After a trying few months, he relearned his specific technique, and has not looked back.
On Sunday, July 10, doors open at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., Album Covers salutes “Grant Green - Alive!” and “John Coltrane - A Love Supreme.” In keeping with the theme of jazz, Album Covers has created a related show featuring two famous jazz records. Joining Scott Tipping at 7 p.m. is the widely recognized soul/jazz ensemble The Heavy Sounds. Their set will consist of Grant Green’s groovin’ class, “Alive!” The record is focused around soul and funk music. Yeah, this is jazz, but this is jazz that makes you want to dance, concert organizers said. Following will be The John Hanrahan Quartet performing a John Coltrane masterpiece, “A Love Supreme.” An album that redefined what could be done within the genre of jazz, the epic record will be reproduced with the spirit of improvisation that Coltrane believed in.
WDCB is owned and operated by the College of DuPage. It is known for its programming with a specialty in blues and jazz.
The Venue is owned and operated by the nonprofit Fox Valley Music Foundation (foxvalleymusicfoundation.com).