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17th Annual Jazz Series Announced

With four different events, the UMS Jazz Series celebrates jazz’s diversity, highlighting the best in modern jazz while honoring jazz’s legacy:

Silent Surrealism

Celebrating Django Reinhardt’s 100th Birthday

The Hot Club of San Francisco

The Hot Club of Detroit

Friday, October 29 | 8 pm
Michigan Theater

The Hot Club of San Francisco is an ensemble of accomplished and versatile musicians celebrating the music of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli’s pioneering Hot Club de France. Fast forward 80 years. Continuing this early French tradition, a similar scene plays out as the Hot Club of San Francisco presents Silent Surrealism, an evening of live Gypsy jazz with short silent films from the 1930s by Charlie Bowers, James Sibley Watson, and Harold Shaw, courtesy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Django Reinhardt is rightly hailed as one of the greatest guitarists who ever lived, but many people praising his accomplishments as a guitarist tend to overlook his roots in Gypsy culture and the fertile, polyglot Paris of the 1920s. Reinhardt and his companions used all these elements, along with American jazz, to create this new music, but the Gypsy heritage seems to be the most important ingredient. The Hot Club of San Francisco and the Hot Club of Detroit join together for this celebration of Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with

Wynton Marsalis

Wednesday, February 2 | 8 pm
Hill Auditorium

Led by the incomparable Wynton Marsalis, who conceived and built this ensemble into the irresistible force it is today, the 15-member Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra returns for its near-annual Hill Auditorium appearnace. Despite one of the most aggressive touring schedules in the business, they make each concert seem fresh, drawing in audiences who are continually energized and amazed by the group’s depth of outrageous talent. “[The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra] is not just a band on tour, but a religious congregation, spreading the word of jazz.” (Downbeat)

Vijay Iyer Trio and Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Apex

Saturday, February 12 | 8 pm
Power Center

This double bill brings together two of today’s most interesting jazz combos. Dubbed one of “today’s most important pianists” by The New Yorker, Vijay Iyer is a singular talent: ­ a forceful, rhythmically invigorating performer who weds a cutting-edge sensibility to a unique sense for compositional balance. An exceptional, forward-thinking composer, Iyer draws from African, Asian, and European musical lineages to create fresh, original music in the American creative tradition. His latest album, Historicity, received year-end acclaim for #1 Jazz/Pop Album of the Year (The New York Times) and #1 Jazz Album of the Year (National Public Radio and The Los Angeles Times). The second half of the program features alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s quintet Apex, which will be co-led by Mahanthappa and trendsetting septuagenarian hard-bop saxophonist Bunky Green. Mahanthappa, (who appears with Danilo Perez on April 8 at the Michigan Theater) is one of the most innovative young musicians and composers in jazz today. The two ensembles perform separate sets, then come together for a searing finale.

Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba

Thursday, April 7 | 8 pm
Hill Auditorium

For more than 80 years and in over 35 countries, the Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba has been the greatest and first champion of the traditional sound of the Cuban son. From the unmistakable twang of the tres to the smoky vocals of Eugenio “Raspa” Rodriguez, it is impossible to resist the infectious rhythms of this celebrated ensemble. The SNC performs some of the most treasured and well-known Cuban songs in the tradition of Ignacio Piñeiro Martínez, the legendary founder of the Septeto’s first incarnation in 1927 and one of the most important composers of son music. The group’s exceptional musicianship is firmly rooted in the musical explosion of Cuban son that took place during the 1920s and 1930s, evoking the nostalgic elegance of the dancing ballrooms and clubs of the era. The SNC recently played in the US for the first time since 1933 – more than 75 years ago. They are masters of Afro-Cuban rhythm and spirit, adding a splash of rumba to its son and delivering infectious, up-tempo fun. This band may be official cultural ambassadors from Cuba, but they know how to throw a party!

Jazz Series packages (all four concerts) range from $60 to $160. Subscription renewal packets and brochures will be mailed in early May.

Tickets to individual events on the series go on sale on Monday, August 23 (via and Wednesday, August 25 (in person and by phone).