Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz continues with African Journeys featuring Ryan Cohan and Geof Bradfield
Two New Compositions Inspired by Their Cultural Exchange in Africa Thursday, August 11, 6:30 PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park
CHICAGO (July 13, 2011) -- Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz continues at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. with African Journeys featuring Ryan Cohan and Geof Bradfield. This free concert, which will showcase Cohan’s The River and Bradfield’s African Flowers, is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, and the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
In 2008, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Jazz at Lincoln Center selected Chicago’s Ryan Cohan Quartet to tour Africa as part of the Bureau’s cultural exchange program, The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad. Cohan’s quartet, which also includes Geof Bradfield, Lorin Cohen and Kobie Watkins, was chosen from a large pool of applicants to travel abroad and promote cross-cultural understanding.
Over a four week period, the Quartet visited Rwanda, Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe where they performed, led workshops and lecture demonstrations, and had impromptu jam sessions with local musicians. Their travels deeply affected all members of the band, and inspired both Cohan and Bradfield to compose music describing the powerful experiences.
Called "Epic" and "His deepest work" by the Chicago Tribune, Ryan Cohan’s The River had its world premiere in February, 2010 at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. The piece presents eight musical vignettes tied together with an improvised narrative theme or “river” that reflects the profound connection that Cohan experienced with the people, culture and land in Africa. The composition was imagined as a journey and the recurring musical narration that flows through the entire evolving musical landscape as the river. The River has been made possible with support from the Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works: Creation and Presentation program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.