Featured Performers

On its 52nd anniversary, the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival presses into its sixth decade with an impressive lineup.

Read below about the world-class artists performing at this year’s Festival.

John Fedchock New York Big Band

Since his emergence on the scene in 1980 with the Woody Herman Orchestra, John Fedchock has established himself as a world-class trombone soloist, a heralded bandleader, and a Grammy-nominated arranger. His multifaceted talents have led him to become one of the New York City’s most in-demand jazz performers and writers. His critically acclaimed John Fedchock New York Big Band has become a marquee group, showcasing his trombone and arranging, as well as the band’s all-star soloists. Their five albums on the MAMA and Reservoir Music labels have all received high praise from critics and extraordinary success on national jazz radio charts.

John Fedchock’s compositions and arrangements are published by Jazzlines Publications, Kendor Music Inc., and Walrus Music Publishing. John Fedchock is a trombone artist for XO Professional Brass and plays XO trombones exclusively.

We are excited to host the John Fedchock New York Big Band for their second performance at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival.

Michael Davis and the Hip-Bone Big Band

Trombonist and composer Michael Davis has enjoyed a diverse and acclaimed career over the past 35 years. Widely known as the trombonist for five world tours with the Rolling Stones, his career began in 1983 with the Buddy Rich Band and continued with a long list of jazz and pop luminaries including Frank Sinatra and James Taylor. He has released 11 albums as a solo artist, including his latest, the critically and popularly acclaimed Hip-Bone Big Band, featuring a star-studded lineup of New York and L.A. musicians. Also, he has authored a dozen books for brass players and appeared on over 500 albums, television themes and movie soundtracks. He is the founder, creator and president of Hip-Bone Music, Inc., and the S.E. Shires Company who recently released the Michael Davis Signature and Michael Davis+ model trombones.

The Festival has thrice welcomed Davis as guest/artist adjudicator, but this is our first time presenting his Hip-Bone Big Band in a feature performance.

Randy Brecker

Jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. After his first professional gigs with big bands including the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Brecker ventured into jazz-rock with Blood, Sweat and Tears. He left to join the Horace Silver Quintet, and then joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, before teaming up with brother Michael Brecker to form the seminal-fusion group Dreams. By 1975, Randy and Michael were ready to front their own group, the Brecker Brothers Band—a band of immeasurable impact and influence.

Brecker’s new album with the NDR Big Band features 11 Jörg Achim Keller arrangements of Brecker’s tunes from different periods. Also, it features special guests Dave Sanborn, Ada Rovatti and Wolfgang Haffner.

The Festival welcomes Brecker back for his second appearance as guest artist/adjudicator.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans is a world-class saxophonist and producer, who debuted on the international music scene at the age of 21 with Miles Davis. With 24 solo albums, Grammy nods, countless collaborations and tours, Evans has continued to explore a dazzling variety of adventurous musical settings.

Rise Above is his latest and most accessible release to date, in which he explores rich and haunting vocals from special guest singers, including legend Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, JJ Grey, Anders Osborne, Murali Coryell and Josh Dion. Full of soulful melodies and hard-hitting grooves, the recording also features Jake Cinninger (Umphrey’s McGee) and Mike Stern on guitar, as well as a who’s who among jazz and jam band musicians.

After a much-too-long hiatus of 29 years, we are proud to welcome Evans back for a second appearance as guest artist/adjudicator.

Mike Stern

A player of remarkable facility, whose searing lines are informed mainly by bebop and the blues, while also carrying a rock-tinged intensity, Mike Stern made his mark with Miles Davis in the early ‘80s, before launching his solo career in 1985. Since then, he has released 17 recordings as a leader, six of which were nominated for Grammy awards. His latest, Trip, is his first since recovering from a serious accident in 2016 that left him with two broken arms and nerve damage in his right hand that prevented him from even holding a pick. Stern is now back on top of his game, playing with typical authority and prodigious chops on this all-star outing. To a generation of contemporary jazz guitar aficionados, Mike Stern is regarded as one of the true guitar greats of his generation.

We are excited to welcome Stern for his first appearance at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival.

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