NIU Jazz Lab Band to swing in Chicago

NIU Jazz Lab Band
NIU Jazz Lab Band

The NIU Jazz Lab Band, directed by Rodrigo Villanueva, will perform two shows Tuesday, March 18, at the legendary Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

Funds raised at the door will help the band produce its first live DVD, which was recorded in January at the Peoria Civic Center as part of the 2014 Illinois Music Education Association All-State Conference.

That concert featured NIU Jazz Studies faculty members Art Davis, Tom Garling, Kelly Sill, Geof Bradfield, Fareed Haque and Villanueva and the music of Thad Jones, Wayne Shorter, John LaBarbera, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer, Garling and Villanueva.

Performances at the Jazz Showcase, located at 806 S. Plymouth Court in Chicago, are scheduled at 8 and 10 p.m. Cover charge is $10 for general admission and $5 for students.

Special guests will include NIU jazz studies faculty and alumni and the NIU U-Jazz Band, directed by Matt Attfield and Matt Poulos.

Opened in 1947, the Jazz Showcase is the oldest jazz club in Chicago and one of the oldest in the United States. For more information, call (312) 360-0234.

Chicago Jazz Showcase logoThe NIU Jazz Lab Band, which performs at least six concerts per academic year, also participates in international jazz festivals and competitions. The group won first place in the College Jazz Big Band division at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Festival in 2008 and 2010.

Under Villanueva, the band has received outstanding recognition at various jazz festivals, including the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. The band also got “Outstanding Performance” recognition at the 35th DOWNBEAT Annual Student Music Awards (June 2012). In addition, during the winter of 2008, the Lab Band went on tour to Mexico for the first time, participating at the JazzUV International Jazz Festival and at the San Miguel De Allende Jazz and Blues International Festival.

In the spring of 2011, the Lab Band recorded its first album, “Quintessence.”

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