Jazz it up

Event preview for the Glen Ellyn Sun.
July 10, 2009

By RUTH MOON For The Sun

Jazz singer Tammy McCann has performed jazz and classical music across the U.S. and worldwide.

She will bring her sound to Glen Ellyn Saturday.

McCann is returning for her second year of performing at Glen Ellyn’s Jazz Fest, an event which will transform part of downtown Glen Ellyn into a jazz garden and performance stage July 11.

The gates for the free event will open at 2 p.m., with the music beginning at 3 p.m. The event will feature five jazz bands, food and drinks, and will run to 10 p.m. A transformed block of Main Street just north of the Metra train tracks will become an audience seating area.

McCann said her musical style is standard, “straight-ahead” jazz. She uses jazz pieces originally created by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and the like, and then gives them her own style.

She performed with another band at last year’s festival and will be back this summer with her own band. She said she is looking forward to her second performance in Glen Ellyn.

The most important part of performing, she said, is building a relationship with the audience.

“I’m not talking about being shticky or campy, but really using my music. What’s important to me is using my music to make a conduit with the audience. I don’t want to go on a musical journey by myself. I want the audience to come with me,” she said. “For me, all these songs are like stories, and my goal is to share these stories and kind of bring some memories out of people who hear these songs.”

The Tammy McCann Quartet is one of five jazz bands from the Chicago area that will perform during the fest, including the Chicago Hot Five band, the Kelly Brand Trio, the Mark Colby Quartet and the Deep Blue Organ Trio.

The festival is sponsored and partially funded by the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, the Village of Glen Ellyn, the McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage Public Radio and Karnes Prickett Design. Part of the event’s estimated $30,000 price tag will be covered by food and beer sales and donations, and sponsors are donating time and materials, event marketing director Roland Raffle said.

Raffle hopes the festival will bring a taste of Chicago jazz to the suburbs. Musicians have rotated through and the festival committee tries to bring a variety of new bands each year, he said.

“I’m not looking at any of them and saying this is the one I have to hear,” he said. “I just think it’s going to be a good variety.”

Sue Cleary owns Paisley on Main in downtown Glen Ellyn. She went to last year’s fest and will be there this Saturday as well.

“I think even if you weren’t a jazz fan, you would really enjoy the music. It was just great. Everyone was having a good time, from children to grandparents and everyone in between,” she said.

She’ll be bringing friends to this year’s show.

“We’ll really make a day of it and enjoy it, listening to great music and enjoying the summer in Glen Ellyn,” she said.

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