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Ryan Cohan & Geof Bradfield to Play Free Chicago Date

'African Journeys' is Based on the Musicians' Travels

Geof Bradfield

A free concert titled African Journeys featuring Ryan Cohan and Geof Bradfield will take place on August 11 in Chicago as part of the program Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz. The show will be held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park at 6:30 p.m. The concert will showcase Cohan’s The River and Bradfield’s African Flowers, and 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.

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.

Heard together for the first time on one stage, Cohan’s The River and Bradfield’s African Flowers share reflections on the universal joys and sadness of the human experience. The trombonist Vincent Gardner, best known for his work with Wynton Marsalis, and percussionist Samuel Torres, known for his work with Richard Bona, Arturo Sandoval and Roland Vazquez, will join as special guests with Bradfield and Cohan’s ensembles.

Bradfield’s band for the free concert will include Bradfield on saxophone, flute and bass clarinet, along with Vincent Gardner (trombone), Cohan (piano), Victor Garcia (trumpet, congas), Jeff Parker (guitar), Clark Sommers (bass) and George Fludas (drums, percussion).

Cohan’s group in Millennium Park will include Bradfield (saxophones, bass clarinet), Lorin Cohen (acoustic bass), Kobie Watkins (drums), John Wojciechowski (saxophones, flutes), Tito Carrillo (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Samuel Torres (percussion).

Originally Published