Brookfield gears up for jazz fest

Free event includes everything from swing to samba

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Brookfield will host its first-ever "Jazz in the Park" event this Sunday, Sept. 17 in Kiwanis Park, 8820 Brookfield Ave., from 1 to 7:30 p.m. The event, one of several smaller events scheduled this summer to replace the now-defunct Brookfest music festival/carnival, features four ensembles which cover the spectrum of jazz.

The brainchild of Ian Tiele, founder of the Brookfield Jazz Society and a member of the Brookfield Special Events Commission, "Jazz in the Park" is being billed as a family event that will feature music not just for jazz enthusiasts, but for anyone who loves music.

Admission to the jazz fest is free.

"It's not aimed at jazz fans," said Tiele, who will serve as the emcee of the event. "It's aimed at people who like fun music, good music and for people who like jazz. While in no way is this replacing Brookfest, it's a step in the right direction of having a village and family atmosphere."

The fest will take place at the music stage in Kiwanis Park, just south of the park pavilion. In the event of rain, the fest will be held indoors next door in the lower level of the Brookfield village hall. While Tiele encouraged families to bring blankets, chairs and picnics to the fest, there will also be local groups and restaurants on hand to offer refreshments for sale.

Among the vendors at the fest will be La Cabanita (Mexican food), Trattoria Gemelli (desserts), the Brookfield Jaycees (burgers and hot dogs) and the Brookfield Kiwanis Club (water and pop). The event is being underwritten in part by the First National Bank of Brookfield.

Starting the fest off at from 1 to 2:15 p.m. will be the John Burnette Swing Orchestra. Morning radio host at WDCB-FM, Burnette's 17-piece orchestra focuses on swing arrangements from the big names of the swing era of the late 1930s and 1940s, including Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and more. The band includes vocalist Frieda Lee and has played such local venues as the Jazz Showcase, FitzGerald's and the Willowbrook Ballroom.

Burnette will be followed from 2:45 to 4 p.m. by the Chicago Mob Dixieland Jazz Band, which turns back the clock from the 1940s to the 1920s and features a more-or-less traditional Dixieland ensemble, complete with banjo, tuba, trumpet and trombone.

The band, which dresses the part with wiseguy fedoras and dark suits, plays New Orleans-style jazz in tribute to such greats as Kid Ory, Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke.

"Dixieland is a fun music, and you don't necessarily have to like jazz to like Dixieland," Tiele said of the band, which played for the Jazz Society's Big Easy Fundraiser to aid Hurricane Katrina victims last winter. "It's music that appeals to all generations."

From 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., the fest will time warp to the present in the form of the Andreas Kapsalis Trio, a combo Tiele said was a smash success at its Jazz Society live appearance back in February. The trio, which features Kapsalis on guitar, a drummer and a percussionist, creates a sound that its at once exotic and completely jazz, according to Tiele.

"It was [the Jazz Society's] biggest crowd ever," Tiele said of that performance. "The crowd got so into the music; they just lapped it up. They got the best audience reaction, which prompted me to think of them for our festival."

Wrapping up the fest will be Chicago jazz scene stalwart Marshall Vente, another WDCB-FM music host, who will bring his Latin-infused Tropicale ensemble to the event.

Vente, a keyboardist, will bring along two vocalists and a band featuring a saxophone, drums, percussion, guitar and bass. Vente's jazz trio played at a previous live music night for the Brookfield Jazz Society, but said the Tropicale group would be just right for the larger park event.

"It's jazz with a Brazilian, Latin, Caribbean feel," Vente said. "Our drummers are from Brazil. They really do play the samba, and we're Chicago jazz guys that like to groove on top of that."

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