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Ravinia Announces 2005 Jazz and Pop Season

Wyclef Jean, Los Lonely Boys, Gipsy Kings, Jonny Lang, Elvis Costello, Nellie McKay and Chicago’s own Cheap Trick make their Ravinia Festival debuts

Returning favorites include Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Lyle Lovett, Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright and Alison Krauss

Jazz in June stars Ramsey Lewis, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Branford and Ellis Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie’s All-Star Big Band and Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

Cabaret’s leading ladies-Barbara Cook, Betty Buckley, Wesla Whitfield, Sylvia McNair and Tovah Feldshuh-headline Martinis at the Martin series

Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman today announced details of the festival’s 2005 lineup of pop, jazz and cabaret artists. The first season of Ravinia’s second century boasts an assorted array that features debuts by today’s hottest chart-toppers, from Los Lonely Boys to Wyclef Jean to Nellie McKay, along with the welcome return of such festival favorites as Ben Folds, Lyle Lovett and Alison Kraus. Big names and big bands define the Jazz in June festival-within-a-festival, and four great ladies of music theater headline the Martinis at the Martin cabaret series. Tickets to all events go on sale April 14, exclusively at

"I’m particularly proud of this summer’s pop and jazz roster because I really do think we’ve covered the musical spectrum in presenting important and exciting performers, including Ravinia’s first hip-hop artist, Wyclef Jean," Kauffman said. "It’s especially gratifying that so many of these wonderful artists have Illinois roots, including Cheap Trick, Alison Krauss and Buddy Guy, fresh from induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame."

Among those artists making their Ravinia Festival debuts are this year’s Grammy winners Los Lonely Boys, on Aug. 20, whose break-out hit "Heaven" has dominated the charts and the airwaves for the better part of the year. Former Fugee and Be Cool star Wyclef Jean, whose "Million Voices" from the film Hotel Rwanda was nominated for a Golden Globe, becomes the first hip-hop artist to play Ravinia with his debut on July 11. The Flamenco-inspired the Gipsy Kings, whose 2004 Grammy-nominated acoustic album Roots has been labeled a "treasure" by Billboard magazine, perform back-to-back concerts on Aug. 30 and 31. Chicago’s own Cheap Trick makes its festival debut as the season’s first pop show on June 10. Young blues sensation Jonny Lang, with his acoustic band, makes his debut sharing the bill with Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy on Sept. 2

Such double- and triple-bills of unique artists is a hallmark of the 2005 season that also sees Elvis Costello, in his Ravinia debut, performing with Emmylou Harris on July 27; as well as Susan Tedeschi and The Blind Boys of Alabama paired on June 15. Al Jarreau and his vocal gymnastics make a long-awaited return to Ravinia sharing a Sept.1 program called Hot Summer Nights with sultry singer Cassandra Wilson and The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman. A summer evening so hot, it’s been titled Salsa Night, teams India (who has been called "the loudest working woman in show business") with the high-voltage Latin jazz band Tiempo Libre on Aug. 3. Tiempo Libre also promises to have audiences dancing in the aisles with a Martin Theatre postlude concert immediately following the show.

After joining forces in a hugely successful Ravinia debut last summer, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Rufus Wainwright and singer/pianist Ben Folds return Aug. 10 to perform alternative rock music that reveals a multitude of musical influences from classical to The Clash.

The country’s most successful bluegrass artist comes not from Kentucky, but right here from Illinois, and Ravinia has her back this summer. Alison Krauss and Union Station, featuring Jerry Douglas perform on July 6.

Public radio hero Garrison Keillor and his compatriots in Midwestern humor and song return June 18 with the legendary show A Prairie Home Companion, broadcast live nationally from Ravinia. A decidedly different show brings together Eartha Kitt and Nellie McKay with Dick Hyman and his Orchestra in Play It Again: The Music of Woody Allen on July 26. Ravinia will install video screens in the pavilion and on the lawn to show clips from Allen’s films, which are noted for their clever use of great American music.

Closing the pop season on Sept. 10 will be Ravinia’s annual community fund-raiser YEA! Highland Park, this year starring 1990s chart-toppers Hootie and the Blowfish. Since its 1996 inception, YEA! has raised over a $1.2 million dollars for local nonprofits that support youth, education, arts and social programs.

The 2005 pop season also features "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin in two shows (Aug. 17-18), The BoDeans (June 11), The Beach Boys (June 28), Lyle Lovett (July 12-13), The Doobie Brothers (June 22), Chaka Kahn with Ravinia Festival Orchestra, (Aug. 13), Tony Bennett (Aug. 19), the official tribute band ABBA: The Music (July 22), The Irish Tenors (Sept. 3), An Evening with Michael Feinstein (Sept. 4) and An Evening with Toto (Sept. 7).


Ravinia’s 2005 Jazz in June festival-within-a-festival is a four-day jam session with celebrated legends, hot new artists, big bands, intimate solos and even some dance and Gospel for good measure.

The series opens on June 16 with a "Big Band Night" that fills the bill with Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band under the direction of Slide Hampton with special guest Roy Hargrove and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Opening the evening is pianist Toshika Akiyoshi. This main-event concert begins at the early start time of 6 p.m., but the music begins earlier than that, when saxophonist Charlie Young leads a master class at 4:30 p.m. in Bennett · Gordon Hall. A Steans Institute jazz Late Show follows the main concert in Bennett · Gordon Hall.

The mix gets even hotter the next night, 7 p.m. June 17, with "An Evening of Jazz, Gospel and Dance," featuring the McCoy Tyner Trio, tap-dance phenomenon Savion Glover and the James Memorial Sanctuary Choir glued together by Chicago legend Ramsey Lewis, Director of Jazz at Ravinia. The day begins and ends in Bennett · Gordon Hall with trombonist Samuel Burtis presenting a master class at 4:30 p.m. and the Steans Institute Late Show following the main concert.

Ramsey Lewis in back on June 18 in a rare intimate solo recital in the historic Martin Theatre at 7:30 p.m. June 18. Trumpeter Lennie Froy will present a master class in Bennett · Gordon Hall at 2:15 p.m., and the Ravinia Jazz Mentors and Students will give a free preview concert at 3:30 p.m. in the Martin Theatre. The evening ends with a Steans Institute Late Show in Bennett · Gordon Hall. (Also on June 18, will be the live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion described above.)

The series ends on Father’s Day, June 19, with a real family affair. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis returns to Ravinia for the first time since 1998. Also on the bill is his father’s Ellis Marsalis Quartet featuring brothers Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis. Jazz fusion keyboard legend Chick Corea headlines the evening with Touchstone.

A perennial favorite at Ravinia’s jazz festival is The Original Pin Stripe Brass Band, which will lead revelers in a parade around the park between events on all four days of jazz.

The purchase of a single pavilion or lawn ticket to the main event concert provides free first-come, first-served seating to master classes, jazz previews and Late Show performances. Late Show concerts begin approximately 30 minutes after main events conclude and are not broadcast to the lawn.


This year’s Martinis at the Martin cabaret series has five celebrated ladies of song toasting the Great American Songbook-with special attention paid to the incomparable tunesmith Harold Arlen in his centennial year. Ravinia favorite Sylvia McNair salutes Arlen and his colleagues when she makes her first appearance on the Martinis stage on July 10. Another Ravinia must-see, Broadway legend Barbara Cook, returns to the series on June 19 and June 20, and stage and screen star Betty Buckley returns to Ravinia for performances on Aug. 28 and 29.

New to the series and to Ravinia are Wesla Whitfield on June 8 and Tovah Feldshuh on Aug. 14 and 15. The Chicago Sun-Times said of Whitfield, "There simply isn&&&t a more captivating artist in the field than Whitfield, whose radiant interpretations
of great American songs-familiar and forgotten-combine a reverielike intensity and pop-style immediacy." The acclaimed actress and singer, Tovah Feldshuh, who earned rave

reviews most recently by starring as Golda Maier on Broadway in the one-woman tour-de-

force Golda’s Baclony, brings an entirely different kind of one-woman show to Ravinia.

Tovah: Out of Her Mind! brings a gallery of characters interpreting songs from Berlin to Gershwin.


June 16-Big Band Night: Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra/ The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band under the direction of Slide Hampton with special guest Roy Hargrove/Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra/Toshika Akiyoshi, piano;

6 p.m.; Sponsor: ComEd, an Exelon Company

June 17-Evening of Jazz, Gospel and Dance: McCoy Tyner Trip/Ramsey Lewis with the James Memorial Sanctuary Choir/Savion Glover/; Sponsor: The Alsdorf Foundation; Media support: JazzTimes and Smooth Jazz WNUA 95.5

June 18-Ramsey Lewis Solo Recital, 7:30 p.m.; Sponsor: UBS Lead Sponsor

June 19-Chick Corea with Touchstone/Branford Marsalis/Ellis Marsalis Quartet,

7 p.m.; Sponsor: United Airlines


June 8-Wesla Whitfield, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: Harris

June 19-Barbara Cook, 4:30 p.m.; Sponsor: United Airlines

June 20-Barbara Cook, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: Harris

July 10-Sylvia McNair, 4:30 p.m.; Sponsor: United Airlines

August 14-Tovah Feldshuh, 4:30 p.m.; Sponsor: United Airlines

August 15-Tovah Feldshuh, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: Harris

August 28-Betty Buckley, 4:30 p.m.; Sponsor: United Airlines

August 29-Betty Buckley, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: Harris


June 10-Cheap Trick, 8 p.m.; Media support: 93XRT

June 11-The BoDeans, 7:30 p.m.; Sponsor: Discover Financial Services; Media support: 93XRT

June 15-Susan Tedeschi/Blind Boys of Alabama, 8 p.m.; Media support: 93XRT

June 18-A Prairie Home Companion/Garrison Keillor/Live national broadcast,

4:45 p.m.; Media Support: Minnesota Public Radio

June 22-The Doobie Brothers, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: National City

June 28-The Beach Boys, 8 p.m.; Sponsors: Labe Bank and Deloitte

July 6-Alison Krauss and Union Station, featuring Jerry Douglas, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: Hewitt Associates

July 11-Wyclef Jean, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: ComEd, an Exelon Company; Media Support: Time Out Chicago

July 12-Lyle Lovett, 8 p.m.; Media Support: 93XRT

July 13-Lyle Lovett, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: Diet Coke; Media Support: 93XRT

July 22-ABBA: The Music (official tribute band); Sponsor: Mirassou Winery

July 26-Eartha Kitt and Nellie McKay starring in Play it Again: The Music of Woody

Allen, Dick Hyman, 8 p.m.; Media support: Chicago Sun-Times

July 27-Elvis Costello/Emmylou Harris, 8 p.m.; Media support: 93XRT

August 3-Salsa Night: India/Tiempo Libre, 8 p.m.

August 10-Ben Folds/Rufus Wainwright, 8 p.m.; Media support: 93XRT

August 13-Chaka Khan with Ravinia Festival Orchestra, 7:30 p.m.; Sponsor: KPMG

August 17-Aretha Franklin, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: UBS Lead Sponsor

August 18-Aretha Franklin, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: UBS Lead Sponsor

August 19-Tony Bennett, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: Bank One

August 20-Los Lonely Boys, 7:30 p.m.; Sponsor: ComEd, an Exelon Company

August 30-Gipsy Kings, 8 p.m.

August 31-Gipsy Kings, 8 p.m.

September 1-Hot Summer Nights: Al Jarreau/Cassandra Wilson/The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman, 8 p.m.; Sponsor: RBC Dain Rauscher

September 2-Buddy Guy Electric/Jonny Lang Acoustic Band, 8 p.m.; Media support: 93XRT

September 3-The Irish Tenors/Ravinia Festival Orchestra, 7:30 p.m.

September 4-An Evening with Michael Feinstein, 7 p.m.

September 7-An Evening with Toto, 8 p.m.

September 10-Hootie and the Blowfish, 7:30 p.m.; YEA! Highland Park


Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ramsey Lewis

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