Jazz Upfront | WGLT

Jazz Upfront

Lara Driscoll plays Jazz UpFront Friday night
Maplewood Photography

Chicago jazz pianist and educator Lara Driscoll credits University of Illinois piano professor Chip Stephens for inspiring the title to her debut album "Woven Dreams."

Oak Park native and organ aficionado Neal Francis infuses his original music with the classic soul vibe of the 1960s and 70s. His debut album “Changes” is accompanied by lyrics that document his work to overcome addictions and other demons. A year later, his new single continues that effort.

Taylor Steele says a spicy sound may soon mix with the Illinois prairie sound her Effingham-based band is known for.

deFrance plays Jazz UpFront Tuesday night
deFrance

Drew deFrance loved the comparison of his namesake band with the sound of classic rockers like Bad Company and Mott the Hoople.

Acclaimed 37-year-old bluesman Brandon Santini has an award-winning new album and is edging into a newer sound.

Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials headline the Front Street Music Festival August 17.
Paul Natkin

Lil' Ed Williams and his band The Blues Imperials emulate the Chicago houserockin’ style of fellow Alligator Records great Hound Dog Taylor and Lil' Ed's uncle, Delmark Records artist J.B. Hutto.

Tony Young, center on vocals, and Baaad Boyz play Jazz UpFront tonight
Baaad Boyz

The leader of Springfield's soul/R&B/funk mostly cover band Baaad Boyz said a special ingredient separates them from other area bands.

Patrick Sweany
Joshua Black Wilkins

When bluesman Patrick Sweany plays Jazz UpFront on Saturday night, he'll be sporting a new release, and a new recording he says gave him goosebumps during the recording process.

Neal Francis playing keyboard on his new single "These Are The Days"
Neal Francis / YouTube

Chicago keyboard player Neal Francis said he was knocked out by rootsy New Orleans and Chicago music at a very young age.

Brandon DaZ (Right) with Futuristic.
Ryan Kindig

A hip-hop artist with roots in Bloomington said he wanted to dig into an emotion on his latest EP not often expressed in rap music. Nor by men … at least in public.

Groovement performing at the Caloundra Music Festival in Queensland, Australia.
Martin Schmidt

Groovement describes its sound as “what you’d hear if Led Zeppelin caught a Soul Train with Grouplove and they threw a party while headin’ down the tracks to Motown.” The six-man funk-rock outfit based in Fayetteville, Ark., makes a stop at Jazz UpFront in Bloomington on Saturday, Nov. 17.

The Smokers Blues Band at Buddy Guy's Legends
The Smokers Blues Band

Peoria's The Smokers Blues Band hopes its blues-rock music can be part of a broader scene helping unite deep political divisions among Central Illinois music fans.

Billy Branch
Melodie Strowbridge

Billy Branch is a Chicago bluesman through and through. But he says many bands we now call classic rock had as much an influence on his sound as did the blues legends that became his mentors.