Big Band Music in Chicago, One Year Later

Big Band swing and jazz music every month at Durty Nellie's Pub with the Jazz Consortium Big Band

The Jazz Consortium Big Band celebrates 1 year at Durty Nellie’s Pub.

Anniversaries are special moments in time meant to be shared, so come share the Jazz Consortium Big Band‘s celebration of its first anniversary of playing monthly at Durty Nellie’s Pub in Palatine, this Sunday June 10, 6-9 p.m.  You will also be sharing our love of Big Band music in all its forms: Swing, Jazz-Rock, Latin and Ballads.  Complimentary slices of cake will be served, courtesy of Durty Nellie’s, and we will raffle off copies of our CD throughout the evening.  The shows are always all-ages.  The cover is $10, or $5 for students 17 and under.  Food service is also available.

Hearing a live 17-piece Big Band up-close and personal is an amazing experience, and the gratifying response of people coming back to Nellie’s the second Sunday each month shows there’s an audience for Big Band jazz in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs.  We’re looking forward to our second year at Durty Nellie’s, and we’re looking forward to sharing the fun with you!

Durty Nellie’s is located at 180 N. Smith St., Palatine, IL.  Phone: 847.358.9150.  A big thank-you to owners Mark and Jim Dolezal for giving us a home to create wonderful music and memories for music lovers of all ages!

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Summer Song List Preview

Summertime song list

Songs for your summer

All this beautifully unseasonable weather in Chicago has inspired me to come up with a “preview” summer music song list.  There are so many tunes that personally invoke memorable summers past, but my criteria for this list are:

  • Songs whose music fits a laid-back summertime vibe as much as the lyrics do (which disqualifies rockin’ tunes like “Summer in the City”)
  • Songs I like  🙂

My choices for “music to sit on the porch with a cool drink and hope it doesn’t decide to snow next week” are (click links):

What are your favorite mellow summer songs?

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Big Band Jazz at FitzGerald’s

Chicago big band the Jazz Consortium Big Band performs swing jazz and jazz-rock favorites.

The Jazz Consortium sax section

Big Band jazz for every taste is in store as the Jazz Consortium Big Band makes its debut performance Sunday, Jan. 15, 6-9:30 p.m. at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn, the legendary and well-respected nightclub that’s been featuring the best blues, jazz and rock for over 50 years.  (Click here for more details.)

The 17-piece Jazz Consortium Big Band is honored to join the ranks of big bands that grace FitzGerald’s stage, and we look forward to bringing our own blend of Big Band classics and original compositions to its friendly environs.  Tunes from Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington to Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson will be on tap–we look forward to entertaining you with our wide-ranging repertoire!

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More Chicago Big Band Jazz in 2012

The Jazz Consortium Big Band at Durty Nellie's in Palatine

Where’s Waldo?  Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?  Can’t help you with those, but if you want to know where to find great Big Band jazz in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, the Jazz Consortium Big Band will be swinging throughout 2012 at Durty Nellie’s Pub, 180 N. Smith St., Palatine, IL.

It’s the same day and place the Jazz Consortium has been playing since June–the second Sunday of each month in the evening.  This 17-piece band mixes in classic and modern Big Band selections from such bands as Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson, plus original compositions.  And you can eat and drink while enjoying swing, jazz-rock and latin favorites past and present.

Come enjoy the “Swingin’ Second Sundays” every month–who knows, you might even find Waldo grooving to the sounds…

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Thanksgiving Songs, with Thanks

At this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope you have something & someone to be thankful for!  And whether you’re having a Thanksgiving feast a la Norman Rockwell or turkey TV dinners a la Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose, I hope you are sharing it with those you love.

Here is some “thank”-ful music that are personal favorites.  What are yours?

Now it’s time for me to go play for a Thanksgiving jazz brunch…have a great holiday!

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Halloween Songs to Put the Fright in Your Night

Orange you glad it’s Halloween?

Scary Halloween songs are creeping up on spooky party-givers’ minds about now.  Aside from the usual favorites, here’s a short list of spooky tunes, with an eye (ball) for some less familiar songs that’ll still give you a bit of a fright!  (Click on titles to hear them.)

What’s on your Halloween song list of frightful favorites?  I look forward to sharing your lists–have a spook-tacular holiday!

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Happy Birthday Charles Ives, an American Original

Charles Ives

 It’s Charles Ives’ birthday Oct. 20.  No, not the guy from 19th century printmaker Currier & Ives.  Born in 1874, he is one of America’s greatest classical music composers.  Ives combined adventurous experiments in music with his love for the music of the common American of his day: church hymns, marches, folk songs, ragtime.

Charles Ives’ music grabbed me from the first time I heard it–quite different from the music I usually make!  Its unconventional harmonies, complex rhythms and layering of melodies make for compelling–if sometimes challenging–listening, and his writings reflect this same bold, no-holds-barred attitude.  One of my favorite Ives quotations is as pertinent today as it was when written in the 1930’s:

“Men (that is, women and men) are so constituted that they are at first more inclined to buy the easy to hear and look [at] it than the difficult.  Toward art in general, especially music, they are like the five year old boy who comes down to breakfast.  He sees two tables in the dining room: (1) nice lollypops, (2) oatmeal.  He goes to #1, if he has his way.  But most of them don’t always have their own way…For that reason most boys go to #2, and they grow up strong, more or less.  But towards music…the majority still go to table #1 (lollypops etc.), because the president, the directors, and stockholders of the…companies are weak sisters, and not strong fathers and mothers—for there is more money in selling #1 because it’s easier to sell.”

Happy Birthday, Charlie!  May your visionary music never cease to amaze and inspire its listeners.

The Joy of Making Music

Making joyous music with Jennifer Silk and The Roy Vombrack Orchestra. (Photo: Richard Shay Photography) A numerologist once told me my “numbers” reveal my purpose in life is to bring joy and optimism to others.  Maybe that’s why I love what I do: playing music to make people’s happy and celebratory occasions even more so.

From the time I began playing in rock bands in high school, I never had a desire to be a solo “artiste”—making music in a band setting and entertaining a crowd is what really appealed to me.   And even though my primary instrument was sax, I was never just a “jazzer”—I loved all kinds of music: rock, jazz, country, blues, classical.  I would listen closely to recordings to figure out what made the different genres special, which I later put to great use in creating hundreds of different types of music tracks for TV and radio commercials.

I carry this same love of variety into the RSVP Orchestra’s performances.  Weddings, corporate events, galas, concerts—their audiences are diverse in ages and tastes within the same event, but they share a common desire: to be entertained and have a good time.  Our mission: to have everyone who hears us feel we have played something just for them, and to play it with feeling and enthusiasm.

It’s not just playing or singing the “right notes”, it’s how we play and sing them that connects us with our crowd.  Judging from the unsolicited testimonials you can read at, I’m glad to say my life-purpose gets renewed on a regular basis.

You can also visit us at our Facebook page.

Live Big Band Jazz in Chicago

The Jazz Consortium Big Band

A personal performance note:  there’s nothing like live music, and there’s nothing quite like hearing a 17-piece Big Band up close and personal.  Come be amazed by the Jazz Consortium Big Band, a swinging, rocking, roaring Big Band that I lead which performs the second Sunday of every month at Durty Nellie’s Pub, 180 N. Smith St., Palatine, IL.

It’s not your grandfather’s Big Band–you’ll hear the best of the classic and modern swing and jazz-rock Big Band sounds played with energy and style.  It’s open to all ages, and food and drink are available during our show.   Be there or be square!

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The Courtesy of a Reply

I recently had the pleasure of losing a bid for a potential client’s special event entertainment.  The “pleasure of losing”?  Well, I say “pleasure” not because I enjoyed failing to close the deal, but because the client had the courtesy to actually let me know that although they enjoyed the presentation, our music services would not be needed at this time.

As a vendor, who has conscientiously provided estimates, taken meetings, brainstormed ideas and sent materials regarding possible events, I appreciate knowing the outcome of a client’s decision (especially when solicited by the client to begin with).  No having to guess the status of a particular event, or wasting time on unreturned messages or emails.

However, modern communication has enabled buyers to shop the Internet casually and at will, building up a long list of potential vendors to inquire to.  The resulting backlog of disqualified suppliers can make it a daunting task for buyers to follow up with messages of polite no-thank-you’s.

And, most people dislike being the bearer of disappointing news—whether it involves a business pitch, a contest or a personal relationship.  Voice-mail messages aren’t a sure thing, since the rejectee might actually pick up the phone.  So, modern communication can also minimize the discomfort of this process.  Person-to-person can be replaced by emails, texts or even a brief note (so last-century, but still practiced in certain remote areas of society), which lets the supplier know his efforts were appreciated, even if not ultimately resulting in a go-ahead.

I make a point of thanking those who communicate back for their thoughtfulness.  It’s often a breath of fresh air in my—or any—business.  Of course, I prefer the pleasure of the RSVP Orchestra getting to perform for a client’s event.  But if it’s not meant to be, I will take the pleasure of their courtesy as the next best substitute.

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