Chicago trumpeter Pharez Whitted plays ‘For the People’ at the IU Art Museum

Post courtesy of IU Communications colleague Karen Land:

Tonight’s Jazz in July concert will be a homecoming of sorts for Pharez Whitted.

At Indiana University, Whitted earned a master’s degree in jazz studies. He returns as a jazz master, headlining a free 6:30 p.m. show outside the IU Art Museum.

Pharez Whitted

Pharez Whitted. Photo by Andrew Scalini

Now based in Chicago, the trumpeter was born in Indianapolis to parents with deep roots in the jazz community. His mother sang and played bass, his father was a drummer and his extended family filled a whole orchestra. In a home filled with instruments, Pharez picked up a trumpet at age 9 and never put it down.

Over the years, he has performed with Aretha Franklin, Freddie Hubbard, Chaka Khan, Branford Marsalis, John Mellencamp and many other notable musicians. Yet it was David Baker, distinguished professor of jazz studies at the IU Jacobs School of Music, who Whitted says helped him “understand the language” of jazz.

Whitted shares that same language with a new generation of musicians as the director of jazz studies at Chicago State University.

Both as an educator and performer, Whitted is passionate about musical outreach. At Andy’s Jazz Club in Chicago, he leads weekly jam sessions where people can come sit in with the band. And the title of his latest CD sums up his populist approach: It is “For the People.”

“Music can be very therapeutic to those who create it, as well as the ones who listen to it,” Whitted says.

The Jazz in July series continues with Avenida Brazil: Music & Dance on July 18 and Steve Houghton and the AHA! Quintet on July 25. Concerts are free, but space is limited, so bring your seats early. Inside the museum, Matisse’s “Jazz” series can be viewed from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For details on the concerts and an upcoming gallery talk, see the IU Art Museum website.

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