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OUT! Lakeside Pride Jazz Ensemble throws fundraiser in Uptown
by Vern Hester
2015-06-12

This article shared 2164 times since Fri Jun 12, 2015
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On June 7, shhh...OUT! Lakeside Pride Jazz Ensemble threw the public and themselves a "Let's Fall in Love" fundraiser/concert/party at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway, in acknowledgement of the passing of same-sex marriage in 37 states and the anticipated ruling of the Supreme Court by the end of June.

As an offshoot of the larger Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles, which generally focuses on orchestral and symphonic works, this group and show dropped the formalities while focusing on cabaret, old-school jazz and popular music with a selection of old and new standards. "Let's Fall in Love" not only included the full jazz ensemble but also performances from The Strayhorns ( an octet named after jazz icon Duke Ellington's long-time collaborator and out composer/arranger Billy Strayhorn ) and members of The Wilde Cabaret ( named after LGBTQ icon and martyr Oscar Wilde ).

Under the guidance of director and lead trumpeter Scott Malinowski, the show kicked off with Matt Russell's vocal interpretation of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's standard "Let's Fall in Love." What came next was an evening of jazz and pop standards that spanned the decades ( "Cheek to Cheek," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Days of Wine and Roses," "A Fine Romance" ), with more then a few surprises. Appealing vocalist Glenn Abel swept through an enthralling version of "Come Dance With Me," vocalist Samantha Elliott tripped through the late Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," and Malinowski and fellow trumpeter Travis Cuckler performed Hoagy Carmichael's "Star Dust" in dedication to their partners, who were in attendance.

If the evening seemed to tilt toward couples who were happily partnered, there was a strong element of risque humor that turned up late in the evening. As part of the fundraising auction that popped up later on and some of the ensemble members went on the block as prizes for "fun dates" and customized musical performances, the standing-room-only crowd insisted that said ensemble members strip off their formal wear for something that was closer to a hoe-down on Halsted Street. It was all done with a great deal of humor and cheer, and the ribald humor had an amusing way of affecting the remainder of the night.

A heartfelt lightly accompanied reading of "The Man I Love," written by the Gershwin Brothers and performed by trombonist Brandon Strawn, brought the festive evening to a close.

With auction prizes provided by Whole Foods Market of Edgewater, Wines for Humanity, The Chicago Botanical Gardens, and Taverna 750, the Lakeside Pride Jazz Ensemble ultimately raised more than $2,100.


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