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Sherman Irby joins Victor Goines and jazz students for ‘Journey Through Swing’

Jazz at Lincoln Center saxophonist to perform April 20 in Galvin Recital Hall
Sherman Irby, Victor Goines and Bienen jazz students perform April 20 in Galvin Hall

Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music welcomes saxophonist Sherman Irby for a concert surveying an array of distinctive swing styles from Chicago, Kansas City, the West Coast, New Orleans and New York City.

Sherman Irby’s Journey Through Swing” will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20 in the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, located in the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts at 70 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus.

Irby conceived the program at Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) where he and Victor Goines, the Bienen School’s director of jazz studies, are members of the JALC Orchestra.

Featured “Journey Through Swing” performers include Irby, Goines and students of the Bienen School jazz studies program, as well as guest violinist Eli Bishop.

The program journeys through the multitude of regional styles influencing swing, showcasing Irby’s own arrangements of music by such artists as Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Lester Young, Bennie and Buster Moten, Charlie Parker and Wayne Shorter.  

Tickets are $25 for the general public and $10 for full-time students with valid ID.

Tickets are available online at, by phone at 847-467-4000 or in person at the Bienen School ticket office, located at the southeast entrance of Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive.

Ticket office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. During Northwestern University’s spring break, March 23 to April 1, ticket office hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays only.

Artist Bios:

Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Sherman Irby began playing music at age 12. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in music education from Clark Atlanta University, he joined Atlanta-based pianist Johnny O’Neal’s quintet in 1991. In 1994, Irby moved to New York where he became a regular at Smalls Jazz Club and recorded his first two albums for Blue Note Records. During this period, he was a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, toured with Marcus Roberts, participated in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program and joined Roy Hargrove’s ensemble. In addition to performing in his own group, he performed with Elvin Jones and with the Papo Vázquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours. For eight years, he served as regional director for the JazzMasters Workshop, a mentoring program for young artists. He founded and released several recordings on his own label, Black Warrior Records. Now a member of the renamed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Irby arranges a substantial portion of the music the orchestra performs. His commissioned compositions include “Twilight Sounds” and a Dante-inspired ballet, “Inferno.”

Bienen School Director of Jazz Studies Victor Goines has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet since 1993. With these ensembles he has toured internationally and appeared on more than 20 releases, including Marsalis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Blood on the Fields,” Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Congo Square” and the soundtracks for the Ken Burns documentaries “Jazz,” “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson” and “The War.” An acclaimed solo artist, Goines leads his own quartet and quintet, with which he has made seven recordings. His collaborations have included such legendary artists as Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, B. B. King, Lenny Kravitz, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder. A gifted composer, he has more than 50 original works to his credit, including commissions from the Juilliard School’s Dance Division and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Violinist Eli Bishop studied with renowned fiddlers Buddy Spicher and Billy Contreras and at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He has appeared with Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Sherman Irby and Lee Ann Womack and performed with the Grand Ole Opry’s Opry House Band as well as the Video Game Orchestra. He is one half of The Hit Points, a duo with banjoist Matt Menefee, dedicated to creating innovative new arrangements of the music of video games. Bishop also holds the current Guinness World Record for “most claps in a minute.”

The Bienen School is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.