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Real Talk Collective

Real Talk Collective will be releasing their new album, Wake Before Dawn, in fall of 2019. The band, which performs Lyles’ lyrical original compositions, features Emily Kuhn on trumpet, Roy McGrath on tenor sax, Chris Shuttleworth on trombone, Erik Skov on guitar, Joaquin Garcia on piano, and Gustavo Cortinas on drums. Their debut album Real Talk, released in 2015, marries the expressiveness of Southern folk and blues with an adventurous and discerning jazz aesthetic. Wake Before Dawn continues the vision of Real Talk, but further expands each of the disparate elements in Lyles’ writing. It features Lyles’ vocal/songwriting debut alongside guest vocalists and musicians from Chicago’s jazz, classical, and Latin music scenes, and from his hometown in South Carolina. The album is also marked by the strong individual voices of each member of Real Talk Collective through intricate instrumental interplay and raw improvisation.

Kitt Lyles’ Blues Duo Project

In Lyles’ new roots project, he swaps his bass for a guitar, debuting new blues and folk originals and reviving old standards of the blues repertoire. Frequent collaborator guitarist Erik Skov provides the butter to smooth out Lyles' grit, because 12 strings are better than six.

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Gustavo Cortinas Snapshot

A graduate of Loyola University New Orleans (BM Jazz, Minor in Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude, 2011), and Northwestern University (MM Jazz, 2013), Gustavo Cortiñas has developed a successful career in the US for over a decade, leading and accompanying ensembles in renowned stages and festivals in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. “Cortiñas' music is uplifting, robust, melodic, and gets your body moving; it's an exciting blend of the artist's musical influences from jazz and Latin American, including his native Mexico"(DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE). This can be heard on his records as a leader, "Snapshot" (2013), "a Smörgåsbord of the moods and nuances that make up the human experience... an idiosyncratic album that intrinsically fuses the personal to the universal" (Lissette Corsa, Jazziz Magazine); and "ESSE" (Origin Arts 2017): "With the cohesive and captivating Esse, Cortiñas has created superb work that balances refreshingly inventive ideas with high-caliber musicianship. This exquisite and continuously gripping record is a testament to Cortiñas’ triple threat of skills as dynamic performer, agile bandleader and brilliant composer." (Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine).

Son Monarcas

Son Monarcas is a Latin Folk Fusion ensemble led by Mercedes Inez Martinez and Irekani Ferreyra. Like that of the Monarch Butterfly, they take you on a musical migration from the USA to Latin America by fusing indie soul with traditional son & cumbia. Son Monarcas is comprised of musicians who are well-versed in the Afro-Mestizo genres of folk music from Latin America and blend the traditional with the contemporary by creating original arrangements of "son" while retaining the foundation of the traditional style. Their original compositions include influences of Cumbia, Samba, Jazz and Experimental music in English and Spanish.

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Yuri Hevia’s South American Ensemble

Yuri Hevia is a Chilean drummer based in Chicago since 2006. His arrival  to the United States was in 2002 when he was the invited drummer of the group Mamma Soul, who were nominated that year for the Latin Grammys.

Yuri came to Chicago from Los Angeles, where he was a session drummer. Once here, he began his studies of traditional and folkloric South American, North African and Middle Eastern music. He has played with the legendary New York flautist Dave Valentin, participated in a tour with the Latin Jazz All-Stars along with the legendary jazz musicians: Steve Turre, Nestor Torres and Chembo Corniel. He has also collaborated with the Cuban jazz master Orlando Sanchez, Cubajazz and the legendary Puerto Rican trombonist William Cepeda.

Erik Skov Liminality

Erik Skov’s most recent project, Liminality, is a six piece jazz ensemble that features saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi, trumpeter Emily Kuhn, trombonist Euan Edmonds, bassist Kitt Lyles, and drummer Gustavo Cortinas. The ensemble’s name, Liminality, comes from the anthropological term relating to the middle stages of a ritual or rite. In this stage, the participants have left their previous state and have begun a transformative process that will lead to the desired rewards. Skov’s recently released debut album aims to celebrate music as the state of liminality, a life long musical process aimed at connecting and communicating with others.

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Roy McGrath Quartet

Roy McGrath is a Chicago based tenor saxophonist, composer and bandleader. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and educated in Boston, New Orleans and Chicago, Roy brings to bear these diverse influences in his playing and composing. In addition to leading and recording with his own jazz ensembles, he is a member of several others and an in-demand player in the city’s jazz, funk, Latin jazz and salsa scenes. He has led international tours to Mexico, Singapore, Korea and China. As a composer and arranger, Roy is firmly in the jazz tradition, but his Latin American heritage is an ever-present mind set, leading to wholly original works that are a true expression of who he is.