Bassist Jim Batson or guitarist Glenn Reitsma or bassist Scott Mason Coopers Hawk Winery 510 Village Center Drive, Burr Ridge, IL 60527
Call 630-887-0123 for info and reservations www.coopershawkwinery.com
Jazz Brunch Every Sunday! 11am-2pm "Jazz Brunch"Marshall Vente Trio
Marshall Vente Band - dance and party music
Tropicale - Brazilian, Latin & Caribbean
Blues Review - all blues
Solo piano, Duos, Trios & Quartets
New Marshall Vente Octet - exciting fun jazz
TWO: vocalist Joannie Pallatto & Marshall Vente
Marshall Vente Octet
Fun Jazz, original arrangements
and the best musicians.
Live music for concerts, festivals, clubdates and educational clinics.
Arranged, conducted and produced by Marshall Vente. Featuring:
Trumpet and Flugelhorn: Terry Connell. Greg Duncan or Tom Tallman
Trombone: John Mose or Tom Garling
Saxophones and flutes:
Jim Massoth, Jack Baron, Brian Gephart & Chip Gdalman
Bass: Jim Batson, Scott Mason or Curt Bley
Drums: Steve Shebar or Isi Perez
Piano and electric piano: Marshall Vente
Special guest percussionist: Alejo Poveda
“After 40 years of attending live jazz events around the world and seeing such greats as Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Art Pepper, Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Quartet, and clocking up thousands of listening hours, I have reached the stage where I have become a little blasé about the quality of the inventiveness of some of the offerings of the current jazz scene. However, on October 10th when Marshall Vente came to perform at the Brookfield Jazz Society with his newly-formed octet, I knew after the first few bars that my ears would get a well-deserved treat that night, and I was not wrong; the varied musical selections were superbly arranged by Marshall, enabling the band to then turn each piece into a mini work of art.” Ian Tiele, President of the Brookfield Jazz Society, Editor of the IAJRC Journal
The Marshall Vente Band, Tropicale,
Chicago Blues Review & MV Trio Perform dance and party music for black tie special events...charity galas, fundraisers, corporate events, banquets, celebrations, weddings and such!
Old school to new school! Sinatra to Buble, Motwon to Beyonce, classic rock tto Black Eyed Pease...most of the great music of the last 70 years!
Study Music with Marshall Jazz piano, arranging and composing for musical ensembles.
Improvisation for nearly all instruments. Call 630-968-3339
"From the land of the Cubs , White Sox and a whipping wind comes an arranger with an original brainy approach to standards, non standards and an original or two. It's Vente's fresh touch as a composer, arranger and leader that separaes him from the pack." ~ Lee Jeske, Cashbox
Marshall Vente Band “Performs dance and party music for balck tie special events...charity galas, fundraisers, corporate events, banquets, celebrations, weddings and such! Old school to new school! Sinatra to Michael Buble, Motown to Beyonce, Classic Rock to Black Eyed Peas...most fo the great musci of the last 70 years!
"Its a Jazz show iwth a few palm trees!" Heard every Sunday at 10pm (CST) on 90.0fm WDCB, and streamed workdwide on www.wdcb.org
Our Current CD
Marshall’s compositions, trios and guests, produced by www.chicagosessions.com Clearly one of the elite trio albums around, “Marshall Arts” blends a sophisticated version of straight-ahead jazz with tender bossa rhythms in one nice musical package that one will surely get a kick out of.” - Ed Blanco www.ejazznews.com
Marshall Vente Contact Marshall Vente (630) 968-3339 The best in dance, party and cocktail music!
Holiday Parties with:
Solo piano to ensembles
Background music to full show
All dance and party music
Legendary pop tunes
Classic rock & roll
Motown, R & B and blues
Tribute to Steely Dan
Jazz trio, big band and swing
Brazilian, Latin and Caribbean
Holiday strings for strolling
Plus, we love the holiday repertoire! Our music brings elegance and excitement to your party – plus, joy and happiness to your life! Yes, I have a Santa suit for all good parties. Visit the holiday page on my website, including some sound samples, see Marshall’s Ensembles.
Pictures from Jazz Tropicale July 12th 2009
Photos taken by Jon Randolph
NEW – MV Band “Tribute to Steely
The Marshall Vente Band has been contracted to play a concert set of
the music of Steely Dan at Darienfest on September 10th. We’ll be performing
some of our favorite music including: Reelin’ In the Years, Black Cow,
Babylon Sisters, Josie, Peg, Aja, Ricky Don’t Lose That Number, Do It
Click the album cover above for rmore info
with Marshall Vente
in Jazz Improv Magazine!
Marshall Vente was interviewed recently for the
Jazz Improv Magazine
Here is the article
Improv Magazine Interview
Answers from Marshall Vente
Tell us about the kind so background and inspiration that drove you
to pursue this creative path: Both
sides of my family immigrated from the Netherlands to the south side
of Chicago in the early part of the last century. Nearly everyone on
my Mother's side played the piano, either for church or as my Dad used
to say, "for their own amazement." My mother was the only real professional
musician, working as a church organist. Although one of my Dad's brothers
also played violin professionally, and learned to double on sax (then
a new instrument) playing gigs in the late '20's, but his musical career
was cut short in the '30's. Whenever there was a family occasion the
piano got a real workout, and eventually, I too became a part of this.
I always enjoyed listening to music, even at 5 years old with my little
record player. I used to watch Spike Jones on TV with my Dad and loved
the way they combined humor and music. Following my mandatory piano
lessons I was drawn to jazz through AM radio (I heard some guy with
an interesting name, Miles) and hearing it live while on a family vacation
at the New Yorker Hotel in NYC. I was totally hooked on jazz by the
time I was 12!
Between 1982 and 1987 you were a recipient of a NEA sponsored jazz
apprenticeship in NYC with composer-arranger Gil Evans and David Matthews
in New York. What was involved, and or what processes occurred in your
winning those grants? I had read about the NEA helping jazz musicians
in Downbeat in the late '60's. Unlike today, individuals could apply
for grant support. I had already been composing and arranging since
high school and college and decided to try to round out my education
with a NEA jazz apprenticeship. At that time I felt that I had more
to contribute to music as an arranger/composer than a pianist. Along
with Gil Evans, I loved Dave Matthews' modern writing so I spent an
afternoon tracking him down and eventually got him on the phone at Charloff
Studios. Dave gave me Gil's phone number so I called him too, if only
to double my chances. After hearing my demo both were supportive of
my writing and the possibility of helping me via a grant but we had
to wait about a year for the NEA decision. I was both very surprised
and elated that the NEA awarded me funds to study with both Gil and
Dave! I was even more surprised when they funded a second apprenticeship
grant. Although both were to be one year of duration, I used a little
more creativity to stretch the funds over a five-year period. Following
my final reports and such I was also awarded composer grants from both
the NEA in '87 and the Illinois Arts Council in '85 and '87. Some of
this material was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and other high
Could you share some of the ideas about composition, or the interplay
between harmony, melody and rhythm that might have emerged in your discussions
with Gil Evans or David Matthews? Both Gil and Dave expanded my
musical horizons by playing and discussing important jazz and classical
recordings that had an influence on them, some of their works and score
analysis. We also spent a considerable time at the piano discussing
the process of finding interesting voicing of chords and how to assign
them to various instruments. Every session would also include analysis
of my most recent charts and ideas on how to make them more effective.
I told Gil that I didn't want "to be Gil," I only wanted to learn how
to "think like Gil." Dave was also a tough taskmaster, assigning me
exercises in counterpoint, which would help improve my overall writing.
All of these activities would lead us into all elements of harmony,
counterpoint and rhythm, discussion that would often last all day. To
this day, I'm so thankful to both Gil and Dave. They met with me for
the art, not for the money. Apart from honing these technical skills,
what eventually emerged was the importance of finding a real melody
that nearly anyone could enjoy, and how to frame it into an arrangement
that has an original sound. This also forced me to set some very high
standards for my own writing and improved my analysis of what others
Tell us about some of the significant observations you made, experiences
you had, and or key conversations or ideas Evans shared with you when
you apprenticed, and how those have impacted your music and creative
approach. Gil was very concerned with the conservative approach
that was entering the jazz world in the '80's. He had numerous offers
to re-create his work of the past but little to no interest in anything
new that he could create. One of his favorite lines was that "jazz is
being put into the museum." Also, "the big band will become a period
piece (like the string quartet)," limited to the music of the '30's,
'40's and '50's. Despite the success of his Monday night band at Sweet
Basil, he only considered it a jam session. All of this helped shape
my decision to continue to try and create something new and original,
despite the odds of any financial success. I have written commercial
arrangements for all sorts of clients and media in order to survive,
but my long-term focus remains on writing original music and arrangements.
I think that Gil would be even more disappointed today with the attention
and overemphasis of repertory bands re-creating the past and the new
conservative approach to jazz radio programming. Sometimes it seems
that the last 30 years of musical development is totally ignored. The
smooth jazz concept is usually not jazz at all, just today's edition
of Muzak. To me, jazz is creative music, the home of the free and brave,
no more or less. Plus, my promise to Gil was to help keep jazz out of
Could you tell us about your long-standing association with Chicago
bassist Eldee Young, who played with Ramsey Lewis? After the break-up
of the original Ramsey Lewis Trio and Young-Holt Unlimited I would often
see Eldee and his group playing some of the same venues we were playing
in Chicago. We became great friends and started playing together in
about 1987, but didn't start recording until '99, mainly because Eldee
spends about half of every year playing steady gigs in the Far East
(Singapore, Bangkok, Indonesia, China and Korea). Our recordings, The
Long and Short of Jazz, Marshall Law, and Step Up to the Mic, received
some attention and national airplay for a few reasons. Before our CDs
Eldee's vocals were not known, much less featured; his solid bass playing
(in the Ray Brown tradition) is melded with my arrangements; and, thankfully,
even people who don't like jazz love us.
Tell us about your association with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper?
To me, Billy Harper is one of the true innovators of the tenor because
he has both an original sound and approach to his solos. He's no copycat,
off the rack tenor player. I was always a big fan of his and wrote tunes
with him in mind, as early as the '80's. Despite being in NYC and his
tenure with Gil, I never met him until '90 when he was playing a gig
in Chicago, across the street from one of my gigs. But I guess I wasn't
quite ready for him because I didn't invite him to play with us until
around '99. Since then we have collaborated every year at my annual
festival at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Our agreement and mission
is to only play our original music, no standards, no overworked jazz
tunes and such. At present we have a library of about thirty new works
for my expanded nonet, Project 9 (2 trumpets, bone, tuba, three saxes
with all doubles, five rhythm and Billy). Along the way, we relaxed
our agreement for a moment and I arranged three Coltrane tunes and Senora
by Hampton Hawes. Just as I love Billy's playing, he enjoys my music
and trusts me to write all of the arrangements, including those on his
tunes. He has also said to many that he "feels the vibe and spirit of
Gil" when were working. Also, thanks to Tom Tallman, director of jazz
studies at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois; I received
a commission to expand eight of these Project 9 arrangements to the
traditional big band instrumentation plus tuba. Billy and I, along with
Tom and the McAninch Arts Center Jazz Ensemble presented this music
in concert in 2003 and filled the house, proof that the listeners can
handle new music. Given the tough economics of the big band business,
I only hope that we can play these arrangements again with other similar
hard hitting professional big bands, wherever they are! Of course we
have to record with Billy, it's inevitable. Our music is strong and
must be heard. I felt that we were close just after our appearance at
the Chicago Jazz Festival but 9/11 intervened and the music business,
like everything else, has not been the same since.
How did Project 9 develop? What kinds of approaches did you take
in your arranging for it? I gravitated to the nonet concept in the late
'70's because it had the strength and possibilities of a big band plus
the flexibility of a combo. Since there were plenty of combos and rehearsal
bands around Chicago, I thought that we could bring something different
to the community. The original band was three saxes with all doubles,
two trumpets, bone, piano, bass and drums. Our first chart was Mingus'
Fables of Faubus and our first rehearsal was (then unknown to us) on
the day Mingus passed away. My original concept was to arrange modern
jazz tunes (Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Coltrane and others), a few
standards and some originals as an effort to update the repertoire for
a large, but not big, band. Over the years, as different gigs came our
way we added vocals, guitar and percussion; and expanded the library
to reflect my growing and changing interests to incorporate everything
into our world of creative music that included Latin, Brazilian, pop,
blues and more originals. Our '80's records, Endless Intensity, No Net
and Alison's Backyard were well received and helped get us better gigs.
Later in '01 the Marshall Law CD was released, a compilation of unreleased
recordings over 20-years. This was also well received and got us some
national airplay. I've also used Project 9 on a few tracks of every
CD with Eldee Young. Aside from our jazz and creative stuff, our notoriety
in Chicago forced me to take a slight turn to develop a commercial repertoire
for charity galas, dances and such. I was always impressed by the ability
of the name big bands (like Woody, Duke and Kenton) to play for both
audiences and adopted this as one of my background goals.
You're involved in a compendium of activities - as a pianist, composer,
arranger, radio host and contractor in Chicago. Tell us how you prioritize
your activities and the kind of attention each demands. I'm occupied
by music and the business 24/7, one has to be to achieve any success.
My various musical activities have resulted from being a professional
for many years, they were all added incrementally, one-at-a-time. One
good gig leads to another. Fortunately, it is a rare occasion that all
of these activities occur on the same day and each day is different.
I just try to do my best at whatever needs to be done today and plan
as best as I can for tomorrow. I still practice the piano and, in terms
of prioritizing, nothing can keep me from writing down a new musical
Could you talk about your radio show Jazz Tropicale? Around '89
I became a little tired with "straight ahead" jazz found myself turning
to my love for Brazilian Latin music. In the '60's I followed both the
commercial sounds of Getz and Sergio Mendes, and more esoteric bands
like the Tamba 4. I kept up over the years with Elis Regina, Ivan Lins,
Djavan, Cesar Carmargo Mariano and Milton Nascimento, this music was
becoming a major part of my repertoire. Since Brazilian drummer Luiz
Ewerling was living in Chicago I felt that the time was right to form
a band to play this material live, so Tropicale came together in '91.
This led us to many great gigs around the Midwest, our CD Tropicale
(which includes saxophonist Leo Gandelman) and, eventually, five annual
concerts with steel drum virtuoso Neville York in St. Maarten and Anguilla.
We also recorded two CDs of all original material with Neville, Sweet
Salt and Jazz Flamboyant. Project 9 played a few concerts for our local
public radio station WDCB 90.9 FM in the '80's and we were great friends.
When my Tropicale band was playing their Jazz Wednesday series they
asked if I was interested in a radio show. Since one of my life-long
interests was Brazilian and Latin jazz (and later Caribbean steel drums)
Jazz Tropicale hit the airwaves in '93, every Sunday at 10 pm CST- "It's
a jazz show with a few palm trees." Recently we started streaming via
www.wdcb.org and started to reach listeners all over the world. Both
Tropicale and the radio show, Jazz Tropicale, work with my over-all
concepts for music because so much innovation in jazz has come from
Brazil and the Latin world. American jazz may be responsible for syncopation
and expanding harmony but South America and the Caribbean have expanded
our rhythms and given us countless new tunes (from Jobim to Ivan Lins
and Milton Nascimento). Plus, no one in that part of the world is afraid
to use a synth or any other musical concept that is outside of the perceived
definition of what creative music or jazz is supposed to be. Purists
are the enemy of the arts, holding back its evolution and development.
Check out Jazz Tropicale for a breath of fresh music. Also, thanks to
Jazz Tropicale, I'm occasionally expand my role as a broadcaster as
a substitute host for Neil Tesser and Mark Ruffin on their AM drive
time radio show Miles Ahead. Check out www.MilesAheadJazz.com
Could you share with us your perspectives and your views on the significance
of thematic material in relation to improvisation? All thematic
material, whether within improvisation or an orchestration, helps the
listener by giving them something that they might know or understand
from somewhere before. This is especially helpful within the context
of instrumental music because it gives the soloist a bit of a purpose,
rather than reciting patterns and running the scales. Eldee Young is
a master of this idea, with a solid classical education and 50 years
of playing jazz at a high level. He is always bringing a quote or motif
of some other distantly related tune. Why not use "Being Green" somewhere
in "Green Dolphin Street?" I wanted to bring The Christmas Song into
the Latin idiom so I combined it with Dizzy's "Manteca" - a very unlikely
combination that worked! Similarly, I quoted about a dozen Monk tunes
into an original chart entitled "Monk's Still Here." Why not?
How do you use encouragement among the artists and others with whom
you work? I always make an effort to compliment everyone on his
or her performance, at every gig. If there is something I don't care
for I tell them privately, rather than embarrass them in front of others,
and express my thoughts. But greater encouragement can occur on the
bandstand with nods of approval and vocal support for someone's solo
or performance. Despite the serious nature of playing music, I learned
how to have more fun on the bandstand from Eldee and the audience loves
to see a happy band. Also, I have been blessed with extreme loyalty
from my musicians. Drummer Isi Perez has been playing with me since
'75 and bassist Scott Mason since '80. Many of those who were in the
original Project 9 are still with us today. Best of all, the loyalty
from my musicians appears on the bandstand with consistently high musical
What are some essential non-musical things that an artist needs to understand,
embrace or develop to be at peace with himself, command the respect
of others, and/or feel successful (whatever that means). This is
difficult to answer, but for me it has been honesty and integrity. Without
these qualities you cannot expect to accomplish much, no matter how
developed your level of skill. I am very protective of my integrity
and never allow it to be tarnished. As a result, I'm trusted in our
community and I've been able to accomplish more of my goals with their
support. My annual four-day jazz festival (this January marks the 12th
consecutive year) hosted by the Jazz Showcase, is privately funded by
my friends, clients and, of course, paid admissions. Although a small
festival focused on arranger-composer-performers, this type of support
is very difficult to achieve.
If there is one, could you share a quote or idea (or more than one)
that functions as a foundational understanding and daily motivation
or inspiration for you? Perhaps a combination of thoughts from different
people: to live life is a difficult task, so let's make the best of
it, try to accomplish something, have some fun and try not to hurt anyone
along the way. This covers a lot of ground. Music has been used to augment
every human behavior from healing and love to propaganda. But our finest
role is to make our audience feel good, at least somewhat better than
when the set started. I never forget that all creative music is still
to Lake Magazine!
Check out Dave Hoekstra’s article, “The Complicated Mind of Marshall
Vente” in the current edition of Lake. The online edition can be found
at www.LakeMagazine.com however, the cool summer photos from our July
cruise aboard the tall ship Windy can only be found in the printed edition.
Contact Lake Magazine for a copy or subscription by writing to Lake
Magazine, 701 State Street, LaPorte, IN 46350 or call 219.362.8592
Here is the article
The Complicated Mind of Marshall Vente
Chicago bandleader Marshall
Vente and the late pianist-bandleader Gil Evans were more than ships
passing in the jazz night. In 1982 Vente was awarded a National Endowment
for the Arts jazz apprenticeship with Evans, who made his mark with
Miles Davis on the albums “Sketches of Spain” and “Miles Ahead.” Vente
studied with Evans and pianist David Mathews for five years at their
respective homes in New York City. Evans was a free thinker who explored
bop, fusion and Brazilian tempos. As early as 1941 Evans elevated French
horns and tuba on the charts he wrote for Claude Thornhill’s Orchestra.
This impressed Miles. This also impressed Vente. An avid sailor, Vente
has since charted his own course.
Vente plays straight, no-chaser
jazz in a trio with Eldee Young, who made his mark in the 1960s with
Young-Holt Unlimited. On a larger scope, Marshall Vente & Project 9
celebrates its 25th anniversary this year where Vente fronts a 13-piece
ensemble (including an untraditionally jazzy tuba) that can play jazz
against reggae beats. The ensemble performs original compositions with
tenor saxophonist Billy Harper (who played with Evans), or they can
play cover material for corporate dates.
He also leads Marshall
Vente & Tropicale, a five-piece ensemble with Brazilian vocalist Rita
Duarte, and they cover everything from Soca to Jimmy Buffett. Vente
plays blues in the 12-piece Chicago Blues Review that features soul
singer Cash McCall and Phil Guy, the younger brother of Buddy Guy. Vente’s
conducted quartets and bands for Chuck Berry, Natalie Cole and Jerry
Vale as they have come through Chicago.
Vente’s business card says
“Hyphenate musician.” The jazz-pop-tropical-blues musician says, “The
only way Gil Evans took me on was when I told him, ‘I don’t want to
write Gil Evans licks. I just want to learn how to think like Gil Evans.’
From that point on, Gil treated me like a son. Now I’m always searching
for my own identity, no matter what I do. I love the sound of surprise.
I take risks.”
It’s a steamy summer morning
at Vente’s home in southwest suburban Chicago. Vente is standing alongside
his cream-colored boat, Summer Jazz Too. His mind is racing, but he
stops when he is asked if there are any shared disciplines between sailing
“There is a correlation,”
Vente says. “I never thought about it until now. An immediate answer
would be that both are improvising skills. You have to sail straight
lines to get somewhere.” Vente looks across the street in his quiet
neighborhood. He continues, “For me to get to that house against the
wind would be difficult. I’d have to go up to the top of the block and
It’s very similar in jazz.
“If I want to say a particular
thing in a chorus, I can’t just come in and BAM—lay it out. You have
to build. That’s usually how you should do it. You can argue that [alto
saxophonist] Charlie Parker’s break on ‘Night in Tunisia,’ BAM, it’s
there. But he probably thought about that and decided to drop it in.”
Summer Jazz Too is Vente’s
third vessel since he took sailing lessons as a student in the tropical
paradise of the University of Wisconsin (Oshkosh). He learned how to
sail during the winter of 1972 on Lake Winnebago. “After that I had
no money, I had my Fender Rhodes and a [tiny] sailfish [boat],”he says.”
Vente later upgraded to Summer Jazz. He’s had his current boat since
1985. The sloop daysailer is 6.2 feet wide (the beam) and 15 feet long.
“It’s small, but it has cool features like reverse transom, ballasts,
adult-sized seats,” he says. “It’s nice for inland lake sailing. Now,
if I want to go on a bigger scene, I rent.” Vente has also sailed the
Intercoastal waterway in Charleston, S.C. (he rented a 25-foot catalina)
and Lake Michigan (on a 42-foot Morgan).
Vente met Ruth Anne, his
wife of 32 years, in Oskhosh. They have two grown children—Marsha, a
fifth grade teacher in suburban Cicero, and Alison, a DePaul University
law student. Most of the family’s sailing friends are not musicians.
The Ventes sail with accountants, doctors and nurses. “And not every
friend, to use a Seinfeld thing, is ‘Lake Worthy,’” he says. “Maybe
they’re allergic to algae. Maybe they don’t like the sun. It takes a
special friend to sail on a small boat and drink beer right out of the
Vente makes friends everywhere.
For the past nine summers
he has hosted 120 pals on a Jazz Tropicale sunset cruise aboard the
148-foot-tall ship, Windy, on Lake Michigan. In recent months Vente
has played the Chikaming Country Club in Harbor Country and now holds
fort at the Gale Street Inn, 4914 N Milwaukee Av in Chicago. He’s performed
in great Chicago rooms like Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, the long-gone
Bulls nightclub in Lincoln Park, Pops For Champagne and Andy’s. “Most
of the clubs went away,” he says with his voice drifting away.
“Drinking has changed.
Generations have changed. They’re more interested in getting to work
by seven in the morning than staying out until four at night. There
was so much innovation in music in the ‘50s through the ‘70s. Now it
seems like music is static. I see it in other art forms. Hollywood keeps
doing remakes. It is our duty to try and find our own way of playing
C minor 7. But it’s more difficult to find somebody that will support
original thought. It’s a problem. Fortunately, my taste in music is
very diverse. That’s how I survive.”
In mid-January Vente will
host his 11th Annual Marshall Vente Jazz Festival at Joe and Wayne Segal’s
Jazz Showcase, 59 W Grand in Chicago. A.K.A. “MarshFest,” last year’s
festival included pianist Joe Valdes and Descarga, the Judy Roberts
Quartet, and of course, the congenial host. “Every year, I ask whoever
is playing for me to write something new for the festival,” Vente says.
“I don’t care if it’s 12-bar blues. You will never see a ghost band
Vente’s accessibility is
accented by the fact that he looks like humorist Garrison Keillor. “It’s
come up 50 times,” he admits. “But I remind people I have a more developed
sense of humor.” And a good place to develop an appreciation for Vente
is “Step Up to the Mic” [Middle Coast Records], his 2002 CD with Young.
Vente and Young collaborate
on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “If You Never Come To Me” and serve up a lucid
instrumental of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Birks Works.” Vente explains, “In
the world of jazz, that record shows what I’m interested in. Trio playing.
Arranging skills. My love
of Brazilian music. Howard Levy [who has played with bluegrass virtuoso
Bela Fleck, Cuban saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and John Prine, among
others] is on the record, and there’s a version of [Horace Silver’s]
‘Song for My Father’ completely decomposed and recomposed.”
In a separate conversation
Young adds, “Marshall likes to experiment with a lot of things. Fresh
ideas. That keeps me on my toes. It keeps me thinking about what’s coming
up next. I have to be wide awake when I’m working with him, because
at this point [age 68] you can go to sleep on somebody if they’re not
interesting.” Young laughs. Vente finds a place for humor in jazz, which
is generally a no-nonsense art form. He says, “All music, whether I’m
playing a commmercial job or a high-end jazz gig, should have some humor.
I wrote a tune called ‘Monk’s Still Here,’ and within that I quoted
a countless number of Monk tunes. There are at least a dozen Monk quotes
and influences interwoven into the arrangement. I thought that’s humorous.”
Vente’s interests cross over to stuff like swing pianist Dave Frishberg,
the author of tunes like “I’m Hip,” “Peel Me a Grape” and “Van Lingle
Mungo,” the best jazz tune about a major league baseball player. “My
daughter [Alison] is a third year law student at De Paul,” Vente says.
“My friends have been saying how I should play the piano and sing [Frishberg’s]
‘My Attorney Bernie’ at her graduation this spring. I’m outrageous enough
to try it.”
Vente elaborates, “Modern
jazz has advanced from Charlie Parker to Coltrane, and it has become
a serious art. And it’s serious to me, too. The content is very serious.
It takes a high level of skill to think about it, practice it and perform
it. It takes a high level of listener to enjoy it. However, when it
is all said and done, it is entertainment. [Jazz drummer] Art Blakey
used to say things like, ‘We’re here to knock the dust off the common
man’s shoes and send them home happy.’ And he was the most sophisticated
musician. You’re there to make people happy. Humor can be as easy as
smiling when you’re playing the piano.
“They always said how
angry Coltrane was. Gil Evans told me, ‘We suffer from an overuse of
convenience at the expense of passion; for 40 years everybody had to
play the saxophone like Coleman Hawkins [staccato runs surrounded by
lush harmony]. And here comes Coltrane [extreme use of chords in avant
garde setting]. He plays different than Coleman Hawkins and everybody
hates him. Because it was so convenient to say Coleman Hawkins was the
one and only.’ That’s Gil Evans talking. This was history.”
A WHOLE NEW WORLD
Marshall Vente, 53, was
born in the Roseland neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. His
Great Grandfather was a Dutch sailor. In 1914 his grandparents on his
father’s side came to Roseland from Delft, Holland. “There’s very few
Dutch people in the business,” Vente says. “Maybe half a dozen.”
Grandfather Johannes was
an ornamental blacksmith for the Pullman Company. He worked on the society
cars. Vente’s father John, 88, went to Fenger High School in Chicago
with celebrated Chicago jazz and country violinist-bassist Johnny Frigo.
John Vente was a mechanical engineer who worked all around Chicago.
His late wife Alberta was a church organist and pianist. Everyone on
her side of the family played piano. “Whenever we had family gatherings
the piano was in use,” Vente says. “It wasn’t jazz. It could be pop,
a hymn—but there was always music.”
Vente started listening
to jazz at age 11 when his peer group was discovering rock n’ roll.
“I bought Beatles and Rolling Stones ‘45s,” he says. “But I liked jazz
better. I was more into Oscar Peterson. I was into Peter Nero a lot.
I still have a record I had of the Peter Nero Trio. Boy, he could play.
I was playing a tune with Johnny Frigo on a gig 15, 20 years ago. It
had a double-tag [where the player goes up the third, then the sixth
of the scale before going back down]. After the gig, Johnny says, ‘Where
did you learn that?’ I said, ‘I heard it when I was a kid somewhere.’
And he said, ‘I played that with Joe Vito in the late 1950s on a radio
show in Chicago.’” I said, ‘Well, that’s probably where I got it.’”
The Vente family left Roseland
in 1963 for west suburban La Grange. John Vente found an empty lot where
he designed and built his own house. Marshall attended Lyons Township
High School in La Grange, where he started a pop-jazz trio. The group
was invited to go to Europe as part of the “Talented Teens U.S.A” tour.
Courtney Love was not
on this tour.
“Although my trio didn’t
go, I went,” he says. “And one of the other people on that tour coming
from the other end of Chicago was Ron Hawking [who headlines a Frank
Sinatra tribute in the His Way Theatre in the NBC Tower in Chicago].
We developed a little act, doing the same thing he does today. Actually
it was more Jack Jones. As I recall, he was doing ‘Wives and Lovers’
in F minor. Then he’d pick up the guitar and do [the Lovin’ Spoonful’s]
‘Nashville Cats.’ But his love, even back then, was Frank—and Jack Jones.”
Vente now lives with his
wife in Darien, not far from La Grange. His basement studio includes
a computer, piano, big screen television and pictures of his musical
heroes. A big black and white photograph of Dizzy Gillespie’s band from
the early 1950s sits above Vente’s desk. The band included Ray Brown
on bass, Milt Jackson on piano, and Miles Davis in the dark background.
Vente leans over and inspects Dizzy. He says, “Look, we have Duke Ellington
on Dizzy’s tie.” Vente pays attention to detail. He is a sailor. An
adjacent picture captures Ellington poised with a pencil. “In order
to be successful, you better have a pencil in your hand,” Vente says.
“You can talk all you want and play all you want, but it takes a certain
amount of organizing and thought before the gig to make it happen. That
Vente spins around. He
spots a small picture of a clipper ship with the caption: “Risk: A ship
in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for.” A visitor
reads the caption out loud. “That’s right,” Vente says, underscoring
the muse. He is not looking at the picture. He looks at his weathered
Yahama piano that takes him on a course beyond the sea.
Click below to see the
actual article on the Lake Magazine website
All went well at the 12th annual
Marshall Vente Jazz Fest!
All played very well, the Chicago audience came by and all had a great
time despite the blizzard. Our all-tropical Friday melted the storm
outdoors! Maybe we should add jazzy winter sports and snow sculpture
next year (smile). Watch for us next January!
to Jazz Tropicale,
“It’s a jazz show with a few palm trees!” Heard every Sunday at 10 pm
CST on WDCB 90.9 FM and streamed worldwide on www.wdcb.org
to Miles Ahead with Neil Tesser:
M-F, 5-7 pm on 1240 & 1470 am. Visit
Eldee Young & Marshall Vente, the Long
& Short of Jazz
Are available for special events, festivals
clubdates in July-September 2004 and February-April 2005. Special thanks to all those who kept us busy with great gigs over
the last four months, including: the Anguilla Jazz Festival, Neville
York Gala, the Castle in SMX, APOL Dinner Dance, ZAR Marketing Communications,
House of Blues, Pheasant Run Resort, Du Page Children’s Museum Gala,
the Foundry, Business Marketing Association, Southport Records, Ken
Scott/WDCB, Bruce Keiter, Rotary International, Hinsdale Golf Club,
Braxton Seafood Grill and Vincitori. Check out our photo from the recent
BMA BizBash at www.bmachicago.org/2003photos.Iasso
Planning a special
event with live music?
Apart from our public dates we
play a variety of charity galas, corporate gigs, themed special events,
cruises, private receptions and parties – all featuring our ensembles
with different styles of music, including: Solo piano, duos, trios,
quartets & all sized ensembles Background music to full shows with national
artists Dance and party music Legendary pop tunes Today’s hits Rock
& roll Motown, R & B Chicago Blues Fun jazz, big band and swing Brazilian,
Latin and Caribbean
for our NEW CD DEMO!
Contact Marshall at (630) 968-3339!
Aboard the 148’ tall ship"Windy"
from last years (2002) cruise)
by Jon Randolph
Photos may take a moment to download. Thank you
for your patience.
Marshall Law: our 20-year compilation with various editions of Project
9 (with most of the Chicago’s finest musicians) including Eldee Young,
Howard Levy, Alejo Poveda and Anna Dawson.
Step Up to the Mic: with the EldeeYoung-Marshall Vente Trio, Project
9 and Tropicale with guest performances from Howard Levy, Paulinho Garcia,
Jeff Newell and Rich Corpolongo. Our version of C.C. Rider will keep
you swingin’ … and laughing all year! $15. - Per copy, including domestic
postage. $20. - For international delivery.
a special event with live music?
We specialize in all music for festivals, dances, galas, charity benefits,
receptions, cruises, dinners, et al. Call for a copy of our new dance
and party demo CD or the new MVP (Marshall Vente Pop).
Vente Band and Orchestra – dance and party music
Blues Review – the name says it all!
– for the Latin, Caribbean and Brazilian in you
9 – the nonet that sounds like big band.
piano, trio and small groups – we customize for you.
Young-Marshall Vente Trio – the best in small group jazz!
Marshall, call (630) 968-3339
You may contact Marshall Vente
by phone at: (630) 541-3381