2018 Illiana Jazz Monthly Concerts
Feb 18, 2018
Main Stem Orchestra
"Strictly High Grade Swing Music"
The Main Stem Orchestra is a 14-piece band on a mission to recreate the great swing music from the years 1935 through 1945. Focused on authenticity, the Main Stem Orchestra works from an extensive library of vintage arrangements encompassing the swing era’s most prolific bands and composers. With a deep respect for the music, the group utilizes period correct instrumentation and techniques to faithfully reproduce a sound that is as close to the original as possible. With a driving desire for excellence, the group features a top-notch ensemble, which draws on some of Chicago’s most-respected jazz talent
Keith Baumann, bandleader, guitar and tenor Banjo. He has performed weekly at Chicago’s Green Mill Lounge for the past 5 years. Driven by his love of vintage swing music, and vintage guitars, Keith formed the Main Stem Orchestra in 2015, recruiting some of Chicago’s top jazz talent to join him.
Mark Sonksen, musical director, double-bass. For his work with Chicago’s Main Stem Orchestra, he plays and records on a double-bass setup with gut strings for an authentic swing-era jazz sound.
Jeremy Kahn, piano, is one of Chicago’s busiest musicians. He spent twelve years in New York, where he was a member of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks. Jeremy is currently a faculty member of Northwestern University and the Music Institute of Chicago. Brian Collins, drums. His education grew under the instruction of Bob Rummage at Elmhurst College. He also performed with the Pete Ellman Big Band, Brass Tracks Big Band.
Eric Schneider, clarinet and saxophone. Eric’s is a richly diverse career that blends studio work, concert performances and jazz festivals. He's in constant demand on clarinet and saxophone by small groups and big bands that need a soloist who possesses both erudition and passion.
John Otto, clarinet and saxophone, Although John can play great jazz in many forms on clarinet and saxophone, his abilities in the hot dance category are supreme. In addition the Main Stem Orchestra, John currently performs with the Fat Babies classic jazz orchestra and is in high demand as “A” list player within the traditional jazz and swing circuit.
Ed Enright, tenor and baritone saxophones. Ed is an editor and contributing writer for DownBeat, the world’s top jazz periodical. Swing dancers know him as a member of the Outcast Jazz Band and as a saxophone sub with the Rhythm Rockets and the Flat Cats.
Bill Overton, lead alto and clarinet, was born in Memphis in 1954 and grew up there immersed in its blues, jazz and soul music. His debut recording as a leader, “The Sun Will Shine”, was released in 2015 and his latest recording, “Always in My Heart”, was released this year.
Russ Phillips, trombonist. Russ has performed with virtually every big band in Chicago, with small Dixieland and jazz ensembles as leader or sideman in clubs like The Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Andy’s, Fitzgerald’s, Winter’s Jazz Club and many, many more.
Steve Duncan, trombonist, He currently plays with many local groups and in a wide variety of styles as a low brass doubler. He maintains an active teaching studio, works as a composer and arranger, and is still growing musically through meeting the many opportunities and challenges Chicago's freelancing scene presents.
Art Davis, trumpet. He is a charter member of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. In addition to the Main Stem Orchestra, he is also currently playing with The Red Rose Ragtime Band, Petra Van Nuis' Recession Seven, and The Fumée Gypsy Jazz Project. Versatile in different styles of jazz, Art's interest in big band swing music goes back to his earliest experiences gigging with such greats as Les Elgart, Bob Crosby and Ray McKinley.
Andy Schumm, cornetist, is a performer and arranger specializing in the jazz and popular music styles of the 1920’s and 30’s. He can be heard regularly with a variety of bands, such as the West End Jazz Band, the Red Rose Ragtime Band, Alan Gresik's Swing Shift Orchestra, and the Salty Dogs. Andy also leads his own groups. However, the most prominent outfit with which Andy is associated is the Fat Babies, an eight-piece classic jazz orchestra based in Chicago. Andy is also active on saxophone, clarinet, drums, banjo, and just about everything else you throw his way.
Joshua Jern, trumpet, is a composer, arranger, and teacher living and working in Chicago, Illinois. Joshua Jern has performed with numerous acts and ensembles, including the Buddy Rich Big Band, , the John Burnett Orchestra, and Alan Gresik’s Swing Shift Orchestra. Joshua Jern has recorded in numerous studios throughout the Chicago-land.
Petra Van Nuis, vocalist. Regionally, Petra sings at jazz clubs, jazz societies, and festivals in the Midwest. Petra opts for a straightforward swinging delivery with an emphasis on feeling. Her approach is simple and without affectation. While steeped in tradition, she expresses her originality in the best sense of the word, by being true to herself. This sincerity is felt by audiences and musicians alike. Whenever she sings, Petra connects with people.