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Jazz Up Glen Ellyn to include High-Hat Second Line for taste of New Orleans

Chicago band to perform July 13

GLEN ELLYN – The members of Chicago band High-Hat Second Line hope to get the crowd up and moving during their appearance at the fourth annual Jazz Up Glen Ellyn festival on July 13 in downtown Glen Ellyn.

High-Hat Second Line will not only perform on stage, but also will parade through the downtown as part of the festival, which is presented by the Alliance of Downtown Glen Ellyn. As the band's name implies, High-Hat Second Line performs New Orleans brass band music.

Groups will play on two outdoor stages on Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street, and there will be jazz sessions at night in downtown venues. Music workshops will be part of the lineup.

Admission to the festival is free. Once again, Glen Ellyn native and esteemed jazz guitarist Fareed Haque is the festival's artistic director. He and his Flat Earth Ensemble will perform.

A full schedule is available at

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to High-Hat Second Line bandleader/drummer Pete Nocito about the upcoming show. The interview has been edited for length and style.

Eric Schelkopf: The whole day features some pretty talented musicians. Are you pleased to be part of this?

Pete Nocito: I was pretty pleasantly surprised to get an email from Fareed Haque, who is a legend, asking us to be part of the bill. How do you say no? It's a great opportunity to play alongside some fantastic musicians. This is going to be a fun day.

Schelkopf: How did High-Hat Second Line get its start?

Nocito: We've been around for four years and we were started as a house band for a club on the north side of Chicago called the High-Hat Club. They wanted to put together a house band basically for the dinner crowd.

The club closed in 2017, but we had a full lineup of guys with a great catalog of music and people still wanted to hear us. So we just kind of kept going.

Schelkopf: During the festival, will you be doing a second line?

Nocito: Yes. We're a five piece band – drums, tuba, trombone, trumpet and saxophone. This time around, since we're going to be marching and want to make a solid presence, I'm adding another drummer. He will play snare drum alongside me playing bass drum.

Schelkopf: As far as parading through the crowd, do you think that kind of gets the crowd more into it and makes the crowd feel like they're part of the show as well?

Nocito: Oh yeah. People are always super into the parades. Second line music is not your typical parade music.

In a typical marching band, there isn't a screaming trumpet or trombone solo and you don't hear some crazy snare drum licks going on. These guys are just wailing. And it loosens the crowd up. Everybody gets into it and there's a lot of dancing.

Schelkopf: How were you introduced to New Orleans music?

Nocito: I've been playing drums since I was 14 and I'm 39 now. I was really into metal and grew up playing hard rock and metal.

When I moved to Chicago from Philadelphia, I played in a number of bands that were hard rock or piano rock or blues. And I fell in with a couple of horn players who were playing brass music.

They needed a drummer to fill in for a gig. And I ended up learning how to play second line music and just absolutely fell head over heels for it.

I'm a huge fan of the band Galactic from New Orleans and actually their drummer, Stanton Moore, played at my wedding in 2011.

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