McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter and Chucho Valdés are among the artists booked for the 2015/16 Symphony Center Presents Jazz Series. Now entering its 22nd season, the series consists of 10 concerts headlined by today’s most acclaimed and innovative jazz artists.
Subscriptions are available now by phone at (800) 223-7114 or (312) 294-3000, online at cso.org or at the Symphony Center box office, 220 S. Michigan. Single tickets go on sale in August. All concerts begin at 8 p.m., unless otherwise indicated.
Here’s the lineup:
The Bad Plus and Joshua Redman, Oct. 16: The trio of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King, known as The Bad Plus, joins forces with saxophonist and composer Joshua Redman to open the SCP Jazz Series. The Bad Plus, who last appeared at Symphony Center in 2005, commands international attention for its singular interpretations of music by artists as diverse as Nirvana, ABBA and Stravinsky. One of jazz’s most active innovators, Redman tapped the trio to form a supergroup, which has been hailed for its original compositions.
Chucho Valdés, Nov. 6: The legendary Cuban pianist celebrates 40 years of the revolutionary Latin jazz band Irakere, which he co-founded. Despite the political barriers that kept the band from traveling to the United States in the 1970s, Irakere exploded onto the jazz scene with its Afro-Cuban jazz and Cuban popular dance influences, as well as its distinctive use of traditional percussion instruments. With Valdés still a towering figure at 73, the band continues to absorb new styles and sounds as one of the most trail-blazing Afro-Cuban fusion bands in jazz today.
McCoy Tyner in “Echoes With a Friend,” Dec. 4: Nearly 45 years after recording the epic “Echoes of a Friend,” a tribute album to his compadre and bandmate John Coltrane, NEA Jazz Master Tyner receives his own tribute to his legendary career. Featuring two great pianists who emerged under Tyner’s towering influence, Geri Allen and Danilo Perez, this concert celebrates the artistry of what the New York Times calls “one of the most brilliant pianists and commanding leaders in modern music.”
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jan. 22-23, 2016: Bandleader and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis returns for three concerts during a multi-day residency with his acclaimed 15-piece ensemble. They will perform big band standards and new works in their Jan. 22 concert. Two SCP Special Concerts featuring JALCO are set for Jan. 23. At 1 p.m., Marsalis leads an interactive Jazz for Young People® matinee program called “Who Is Duke Ellington?” Capping the residency is a “Battle Royale” at 8 p.m. with the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, directed by Scotty Barnhart, joining Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra onstage.
Christian McBride, Feb. 19: The veteran bassist returns with his trio of emerging young jazz talents Christian Sands on piano and Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums. The trio, which has garnered accolades for its recent Mack Avenue Records release “Out There,” expands to form a Mack Avenue Records Super Band along with vibraphonist Gary Burton, trumpeter Sean Jones and saxophonist Tia Fuller. Opening the bill is famed Chicago pianist Willie Pickens with his trio (Larry Gray, bass, and Greg Artry, drums). Pickens, who launched his career with jazz greats including Sonny Rollins, James Moody, Clark Terry, Max Roach and Elvin Jones, is a lifelong educator and arranger who continues to summon extraordinary power at the keyboard.
Stefon Harris and Sonic Creed, Feb. 26: The vibraphonist and composer creates a virtuosic and high-energy groove driven by the group’s passion for genres spanning post-pop, funk, R&B and more. Harris is joined by band members Elena Pinderhughes (flute), Mike Moreno (guitar), James Francies (piano), Joshua Crumbly (bass) and Jonathan Pinson (drums). Opening the concert is the critically acclaimed new project Bird Calls from saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa in an homage to saxophone great Charlie Parker.
The Brad Mehldau Trio, April 1: The pianist and his trio (Larry Grenadier, bass, and Jeff Ballard, drums) return to the SCP Jazz Series for the first time since 2009. Known for stretching musical boundaries and comfortable with repertoire that includes original compositions, jazz standards and rock hits (from Radiohead, Nick Drake and Sufjan Stevens), the Brad Mehldau Trio communicates a unique intensity.
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra in “A Tribute to Sarah Vaughan,” May 20: Developed with Symphony Center Presents, the program features transcriptions of Sarah Vaughan big band charts by the CJO’s master arranger Jeff Lindberg. Three exceptional vocalists will honor the legacy of one of the great ladies of jazz. Chicago’s own Dee Alexander and Grammy-nominee René Marie return to Symphony Center while Ann Hampton Callaway makes her Symphony Center debut.
Wayne Shorter, May 27: From his stints with legends Art Blakey and Miles Davis, to his work with the jazz fusion group Weather Report, saxophonist Wayne Shorter has had a lasting impact on jazz. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner will appear with his quartet featuring Danilo Pérez (piano), John Patitucci (bass) and Brian Blade (drums).
Gregory Porter, June 10: After his SCP Jazz Series debut in 2013, the Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter takes the stage as headliner. One of today’s most original songwriters, Porter draws upon influences as diverse as country, gospel, pop and R&B. Opening is trumpeter and bandleader Marquis Hill with his BlackTet featuring Christopher McBride (saxophone), Justin Thomas (vibraphone), Joshua Ramos (bass) and Makaya McCraven (drums).
TOP: McCoy Tyner in concert at Symphony Center. | Todd Rosenberg Photography