Blue Note Records’ 80th Birthday Celebration Swings Into The MAC  

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JAMES FRANCIES (from left), Kandace Springs and James Carter. (Photo courtesy of Blue Note)

The New 411 By Raymond Ward

Sunday, November 10, brings a triple-bill of current Blue Note artists to the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) as part of the exclusive Chicago-area engagement of Blue Note Records’ 80th Birthday Celebration: The State of Jazz 2019. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., Kandace Springs, James Francies and the James Carter Organ Trio will perform a set of their own music before coming together for the finale featuring a classic Blue Note tune. A free “MAC Chat” will precede the concert at 5:00 p.m. Media support for this event is provided by WDCB 90.9 FM, Chicago’s jazz station.

Nashville singer and pianist Kandace Springs will release her third Blue Note album “The Women Who Raised Me” in early 2020. After her head-turning 2014 self-titled EP (which caught the attention of Prince who raved “Kandace has a voice that could melt snow”), Springs released her Larry Klein-produced debut album, “Soul Eyes,” in 2016, followed by her “breathtakingly eclectic” (MOJO) 2018 album “Indigo,” produced by Karriem Riggins. The Wall Street Journal declared “the soulful pianist and vocalist is self-assured, distinctive and strikingly contemporary,” while Rolling Stone said Springs “recalls an era when the boundaries between jazz, soul and pop were more fluid.”

The New York Times has called James Francies “a pianist with liquid dynamism in his touch.” The Houston-born, NYC-based pianist and composer released his acclaimed debut album “Flight” on Blue Note in 2018. He has played with jazz headliners, including Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Stefon Harris, Eric Harland and Terrace Martin, and racked up equally impressive credits in hip-hop and R&B from gigs with Ms. Lauryn Hill, José James, Common, and Nas, to studio time with Chance the Rapper and appearances with The Roots on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Detroit saxophonist James Carter’s Blue Note debut, “James Carter Organ Trio: Live From Newport Jazz,” was recently released and is a thrilling live performance of Carter’s imaginative soul jazz reinvention of Django Reinhardt. Hailed as “one of the most charismatic and powerful soloists in jazz,” by the New York Times, Carter harbors a command of his instruments that is astonishingly complete, though he only employs that technique in the service of canny ideas, evoking early jazz, jump blues, the avant-garde and other lessons residing inside his vast, scholarly knowledge of the music of the African-American experience.

Tickets are $55-$65. For tickets or more information, visit AtTheMAC.org or call 630-942-4000.

The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355. It houses three indoor performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 236-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), the outdoor Lakeside Pavilion, plus the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and classrooms for the college’s academic programming. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 100,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.

The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community.

Visit AtTheMAC.org or facebook.com/AtTheMAC for more information.

The MAC’s 2019-2020 Season is made possible in part with support by Follett, L.L. Bean, Doubletree by Hilton Lisle/Naperville, WDCB 90.9 FM, DuPage Foundation and the College of DuPage Foundation.

Programs at the MAC are partially supported through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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