The 49th installment of the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival is shaping up to be one of our best yet! Click on the names below to read more about these world-class performers.
Bob Mintzer Big Band
Ryan Truesdell and the Gil Evans Project
Trombonist/composer Michael Davis has enjoyed a diverse and acclaimed career over the past three decades. Widely known as the trombonist for the Rolling Stones since 1994, he toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra from 1988 to 1994, released 9 solo CDs, composed over 150 works, authored 10 books and appeared on over 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks. He is the founder, creator and president of Hip-Bone Music, Inc.
In the field of music education, Davis has served as a clinician around the world, while also authoring a number of highly esteemed instructional books and arrangements for musicians of all ages and abilities. A multiple recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, he maintains his own jazz groups and projects through Hip-Bone Music. About him, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts was moved to comment, “In this ‘bone dry era, it is essential to have Michael Davis around.” We welcome Mr. Davis back for his third appearance as guest artist/adjudicator.
Donny McCaslin's latest album, Fast Future, reprises the stunning electro-acoustic quartet on his previous album, Casting for Gravity – an album that earned McCaslin a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo. His gargantuan tenor sound finds an ideal setting in the ferocious grooves and electronic textures of keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre, and drummer Mark Guiliana. Couching his trademark gift for brawny melodies in lurching dub rhythms, McCaslin has crafted a game-changer of an album, fusing a wealth of forward-looking influences into one wholly new modern jazz sound.
Originally from Santa Cruz, California, McCaslin attended the Berklee College of Music and shortly after joined both Gary Burton's quintet and Steps Ahead. He really began to turn heads with his solo work in larger ensembles – first Ken Schaphorst’s big band, and subsequently the acclaimed Maria Schneider Orchestra.
Mr. McCaslin has performed at our Festival as part of the Maria Schneider Orchestra, but this year we welcome him for his first venture as guest artist/adjudicator.
Bob Mintzer is a triple threat musician. He is equally active in the areas of performance, composing/arranging, and music education. Whether he's touring with the Yellowjackets, his quartet, or his big band, Bob is always performing and writing music. The Bob Mintzer Big Band began in 1983, and while on DMP records, the group produced 13 albums with 3 Grammy nominations. In 2005, Bob began a relationship with the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (MCG Jazz) resulting in the recording of three additional big band albums. Bob's latest effort is a small band recording called Canyon Cove, a swingin' organ trio album with Larry Goldings and Peter Erskine.
The Festival is excited to present the Bob Mintzer Big Band for a third time.
The Gil Evans Project was born out of composer/producer Ryan Truesdell’s desire to restore and perform Gil Evans’ music directly from Gil’s original manuscripts. The magic of Gil’s writing lies in the details, and without his original scores, it is nearly impossible to accurately perform his music as originally intended. After years of painstaking research, countless hours of preparation, and with full support from the Evans family, Ryan Truesdell and the Gil Evans Project have made it possible, for the first time, to perform Gil’s music in its purest form: directly from his manuscripts. In celebration of Gil’s 100th birthday on May 13, 2012, Truesdell recorded ten of these works which were released on the album Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans.
A second album of Gil's music, Lines of Color, was released in 2014 and presents Ryan's band live at New York City's Jazz Standard. It is this band and this new music that we present in concert at the Festival. We are honored this year to welcome Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans project for a second Festival appearance.
Scott Wendholt is an articulate, passionate, and lyrical trumpeter who approaches music with energy and spirit. He communicates to audiences with sincerity and ease. An in-demand artist, he has worked extensively with artists including Kenny Garrett, Cyrus Chestnut, Christian McBride, Don Braden, Bruce Barth, and Vincent Herring. Wendholt has performed with many of the best big bands in the world: the Carnegie Hall Big Band, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He has been recorded on more than ninety albums, including many as a leader. Check out his latest release Fresh Sound with a new quartet including Adam Kolker, Victor Lewis, and Ugonna Okegwo.
Mr. Wendholt is on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music and the Jamey Aebersold summer jazz camps. A past performer at our Festival with various big bands, this year marks his first appearance as guest artist/adjudicator.