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Jazz in the air in St. Charles

Published: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 3:36 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 6:30 a.m. CST
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Kevin Brown, left, smiles as he plays a jazz tune with Andy Schlinder at The Office in St. Charles on Saturday afternoon. Their performance was part of St. Charles Jazz Weekend. (By Nicole Weskerna – nweskerna@shawmedia.com)

ST. CHARLES – Nate Stelton of North Aurora said he loves the spontaneity and improvisation that creates the foundation of jazz music.

He stopped by The Office in St. Charles to watch a friend’s band, the Andy Schlinder Duo, on Saturday afternoon as the city celebrated its second annual St. Charles Jazz Weekend.

The St. Charles Jazz Weekend was put on in association with the St. Charles Arts Council All-City, All-Arts Event – Charlie’s Center for the Arts – All Of The Arts, All Over Town.

“It’s great that St. Charles is doing this,” Stelton said. “I want to see more jazz being showcased.”

Andy Schlinder, who played a rare tenor saxophone from 1932 during his performance on Saturday, played with guitarist Kevin Brown and an occasional stand-in, eighth-grader Sam Schatz, who played the trombone. Schlinder said he always jumps at the chance to include younger players in performances.

“That’s part of the jazz tradition – letting younger players in,” he said.

Schlinder, who grew up in St. Charles, said he was part of last year’s inaugural St. Charles Jazz Weekend and noted that the festival has since grown. The number of venues grew from four to eight between this year and last year, and 14 performances were scheduled at various downtown restaurants from Thursday through Sunday.

“I think it’s been blossoming,” he said, adding that he would like to see the festival expanded to Lincoln Park in the future. “I like the restaurant idea. There are a lot more performers this year.”

Schlinder said he was particularly excited to see Chicago-born and Grammy award winning saxophonist Frank Catalano on this year’s list of performers. He said Catalano’s performances, paired with the fact that the St. Charles Jazz Weekend was advertised in Chicago Jazz Magazine, shows that the festival seems to be gaining credibility and momentum.

Stelton, who plays in a band called Jazz Vertigo, said Catalano is a “top-shelf” Chicago artist.

“They drew some good talent to the area,” Stelton said. “I hope they keep it up.”

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