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Bill Charlap & Gary Hobbs at the Earshot Jazz Festival

During a press conference, Playboy Magazine publisher Hugh Hefner said Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Count Basie all played the company’s first jazz festival in Chicago. The 27th installment, spearheaded by producers George Wein and Darlene Chang, didn’t have musical offerings on that historical scale, but it did feature some moderately engaging performances, with occasional spikes of excitement.

The fest began on Saturday with the Los Angeles Multi-School Jazz Band, conducted by Reggie Andrews, featuring some of the area’s most promising young players. Following them were the Jazz Tap Ensemble and Caravan Project, spotlighting Lynn Dally’s impressive jazz-styled choreography.

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