The 17th annual Evanston Township High School Jazz Festival on Saturday, Feb. 15, will feature an evening concert by Chicago’s Rajiv Halim Quintet.
ETHS’ own Jazz Ensemble will open the concert in the main auditorium led by Matthew Bufis, director of bands. The festival’s noontime concert will feature the Brian Gephart Group. Halim and bandmates also will give attendees a special presentation.
“The growth of this event has been fantastic for the student musicians and for the school,” Bufis says. “Middle and high school musicians from across Chicagoland get a chance to challenge themselves in many ways. There is the musical selection they’ve prepared, but they also are challenged by distinguished clinicians and observe some of the best jazz artists that keep the genre evolving.”
Tickets for the evening show in the school’s main auditorium are priced at $20 for adults, $15 for students with ID and senior citizens. They can be purchased by calling (847) 424 – 7848 or clicking ETHSJazz.com. Proceeds benefit jazz education at ETHS.
Throughout the day, 13 jazz ensembles from seven schools join ETHS’s nine bands and combos to build their performance experience, sharpen their skills and showcase the jazz talent area music programs are nurturing.
Following each performance, the group will participate in a half hour clinic.
Rajiv Halim is a saxophonist, composer, and educator from Chicago. Halim has performed at venues and festivals in Canada, Poland, Belize, and Taiwan. He's also performed or recorded with many great musicians includin Jennifer Hudson, Chance The Rapper, Cory Henry, Von Freeman, Mike Stern, Martha Reeves, Bob Mintzer and The Four Tops.
A highlight of Halim's recording career came in 2016 when he contributed saxophone parts to the composition “Finish Line” by Chance the Rapper for his project “Coloring Book”, which won the 2017 Grammy Award for “Best Rap Album.” Rajiv’s debut album, “Foundation,” was released in August 2015.
The Brian Gephart Group has been a leading ensemble for many years in the Chicago area. Gephart plays with a rotating pool of jazz musicians, performing a combination of his original compositions, jazz standards, and jazz versions of popular music. The primary group consists of Gephart on tenor and soprano saxophones, Karl Montzka on piano, Mike Arnopol on bass and Tim Davis on drums.
Established in 2004 as a non-competitive, all-day jazz immersion event, the Evanston Township High School Jazz Festival hosts nearly 50 middle and high school jazz groups from around the region.