Joshua Jern Jazz OrchestraLockdownCH.ILL. Jazz

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Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra to release second album Lockdown

The Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra began a quick ascension to the topmost ranks of Chicago big band jazz with the release of their debut album Midnight Stroll in late 2019 and supporting debut performances at such iconic Chicago music venues as Fitzgerald’s and Phyllis’ Musical Inn.  Since then, the covid-19 pandemic has hindered live performances everywhere, and the fledgling big band has not had any opportunities to perform live in over a year.  But jazz music is no stranger to adversity, and the extra time to shed and write has proven to be creative fuel for Joshua Jern and the musicians in his band.  And so CH.ILL. Jazz is proud to announce the release of Lockdown, the second album by the Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra.

Lockdown is a collection of original compositions and arrangements written by Jern, and it features some of the finest players to come from the Chicago scene.  The trumpet section is an all-star line-up of longtime Chicago favorites, with contributions from Rob Parton (current head of Jazz Studies at University of North Texas), Roger Ingram (Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Harry Connick, Jr.), and Art Davis (Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Frank Mantooth, Kurt Elling).  Trombone solos by Luke Malewicz (Heritage Jazz Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Orchestra) and Russ Phillips (Rob Parton Big Band, Chicago Jazz Orchestra) round out a stellar offering of brass solos.  Lockdown also features vocalist Amanda Wolff (The Flat Cats, Alan Gresik’s Swing Shift Orchestra), saxophonists Aaron McEvers (M-13, Psycles) and Andy Schlinder (CRISP, The Flat Cats), guitarist Chris Siebold (Kick The Cat, Psycles), keyboardist Rob Clearfield (Matt Ulery’s Loom, Persona), bassist Kurt Schweitz (George Freeman, Rockford Symphony), and drummer Greg Fundis (Fareed Haque, Led Zeppelin 2).

The music on Lockdown is varied in style- funk/rock fusion grooves and original compositions live comfortably alongside hard swing and classic standards in the Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra.  Jern’s writing draws upon a rich and wide heritage of many different styles of American music while faithfully keeping intact the essential traditions of the big band genre.

While recording a big band album during a pandemic poses some very real logistical issues, modern technology and recording methods have fortunately allowed for the band’s studio recording schedule to keep up with their creative drive.  And since the musicians who play on Lockdown are all amongst Chicago’s finest studio musicians, it has been with relative ease that the Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra has adapted to the challenges presented by covid-19.  Lockdown grooves, it swings, and it carries the music forward with a healthy respect for the traditions of the past.