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Music Institute presents Jazz Double Header at Nichols Concert Hall

Marcus Roberts Trio March 14, Tribute to Art Blakey March 28

By Raymond Ward, The New 411

THE 411 2In two performances honoring jazz legends, the Music Institute of Chicago presents the Marcus Roberts Trio, saluting “Piano Giants” March 14, and “100 Years of Art Blakey,” featuring Jazz Messengers alumni, Tammy McCann and more, March 28. Both performances are at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave. in Evanston, Illinois.

On March 14, the Marcus Roberts Trio—Roberts on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass, and Jason Marsalis on drums—pay tribute to “Piano Giants” of the 20th century, including Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, and Duke Ellington. Known for its virtuosic style and entirely new approach to jazz trio performance, the Marcus Roberts Trio members share equally in shaping the direction of the music with lightning reflexes and imagination. Influenced by the famous piano trio styles of Ahmad Jamal and Oscar Peterson, the Marcus Roberts Trio builds from that rich foundation to create an ever-evolving sound all its own that is sure to delight jazz audiences.

On March 28, “100 Years of Art Blakey” pays tribute to the drummer and bandleader who founded the Jazz Messengers, a collective that influenced generations of leading musicians through mentorship and intergenerational collaboration. Performers include Jazz Messengers alumni trombonist Robin Eubanks, saxophonist Javon Jackson, and trumpeter Charles Toliver; singer and Music Institute artist-in-residence Tammy McCann; and drummer Clif Wallace and his Big Band.

The Music Institute’s 2019–20 season concludes with the Formosa Quartet performing its exclusive collection of music April 4.

The Marcus Roberts Trio performs Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m., and “100 Years of Art Blakey” takes place Saturday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m., both at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston.

Admission is $50 for early access seating, $25 for advance purchase, and $30 at the door. Tickets are available at or by calling 847.448.8326. All programming is subject to change.

The Music Institute of Chicago was founded in 1931 and leads people toward a lifelong engagement with music by providing widely accessible resources for high-quality music teaching, performing, and service activities—and harnessing the power of music to educate, inspire, and bring comfort to the communities it serves. Each year, the Music Institute provides personalized music instruction to more than 2,000 students, regardless of age, level of experience, or financial means, across eight Community Music School locations in Chicago, Downers Grove, Evanston, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, and Winnetka. In addition, the Music Institute brings music education, arts curriculum integration, and professional development as well as music performance and engagement opportunities to thousands; offers scholarship opportunities to students in the Academy, a nationally recognized training center for highly gifted pre-college pianists and string players; and inspires more than 15,000 visitors annually at Nichols Concert Hall through performances, master classes, and special events.

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