The McAninch Arts Center will be filled with the sounds of jazz March 11 and 12 during Jazz Weekend, featuring the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour along with noted Chicago jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis.
The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, which will give listeners a taste of the long-running Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, Calif., will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the McAninch Arts Center on the College of DuPage campus at Fawell and Park boulevards in Glen Ellyn.
Lewis will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 12. Tickets to either performance are available by calling the MAC box office at 630-942-4000 or visiting atthemac.org.
Jazz Weekend is presented in part by the College of DuPage's radio station, WDCB, which focuses on jazz and blues music. WDCB station manager Dan Bindert has worked to increase the station's jazz programming since his arrival in 2013.
"Jazz has obviously always been the main thing at WDCB, but we've been trying to take it up to the next level over the last few years," Bindert said.
Among the musicians who will perform as part of the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour is saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, son of legendary jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. Other musicians include guitarist and singer Raul Midon, trumpet player Nicholas Payton, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Kendrick Scott.
"It's kind of eclectic," Bindert said. "It's a bunch of people who each have something really interesting to offer. It's a really high-powered, all-star group."
He also is pleased Lewis is part of Jazz Weekend.
"Ramsey is a great piano player and a real Chicago legend," Bindert said. "And the fact that WDCB carries his nationally syndicated jazz program called 'Legends of Jazz' is a real nice connection."
Midon has appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival three times – in 2009, 2011 and 2015. Those who attend the COD show will get a taste of what the festival is like.
"It is an extension of it," Midon said. "Everybody that is in the group has played there. It's literally an extension of the Monterey Jazz Festival."
Midon said he is honored to have been part of the festival.
"It's a gathering of some of the greatest performers in the world," he said. "You always end up meeting people who you haven't seen in a long time and seeing some performers who you otherwise probably wouldn't see. For me, it's just a chance to play with some really good musicians."
Even though Midon has been blind since birth, he hasn't let that get in the way of his goals.
"It just focuses the mind," he said. "You don't have a lot of other things to fall back on. You kind of have to commit yourself. When you are blind, everything takes more time and effort."
Over the years, he has had the chance to collaborate with his musical heroes, including Stevie Wonder.
"It was an honor, obviously, to work with him," Midon said. "For me, it was sort of a feather in my cap to have Stevie Wonder on my record."