Bettendorf native and Iowa jazz orchestra to perform Jan. 16 at Redstone Room

Local News

Mike Conrad and the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra will play at the Redstone Room on Sunday, Jan. 16.

Bettendorf native Mike Conrad will return to perform at the Polyrhythms Third Sunday Jazz Series, with the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra, in concert on Jan. 16 at the Redstone Room, in the River Music Experience on the corner of 2nd & Main in Davenport.

This will be an in-person performance with proper personal distance and mask-wearing.

University of Northern Iowa Professor and award-winning jazz composer Mike Conrad (a 33-year-old Bettendorf native) brings Iowa’s premier large jazz ensemble to Davenport for a special performance to kick off Polyrhythms’ 2022 Third Sunday Jazz Series.

Conrad has assembled this 17-piece all-star band with a simple mission: to showcase the best jazz musicians and jazz composers that the state has to offer, according to a Tuesday release from Polyrhythms.

The Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra wants to show people in Iowa and beyond that they don’t need to look to New York City or Chicago for beautiful, high-quality, creative music — there are amazing artists and musicians doing incredible things right here, the release says.

Among the composers featured are Conrad (UNI Jazz Professor), Chris Merz (Director of Jazz Studies, UNI), Bob Washut (Emeritus Faculty, UNI), John Rapson (Emeritus Faculty, Iowa), Ryan Kisor (Sioux City/Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra), Nate Sparks (Des Moines/New York), and Paul Lichty (Cedar Falls/Oregon).

“Polyrhythms is very pleased and honored to collaborate with Mike Conrad and ISCO, who have long been a good friends, staunch supporters and great performers for our Third Sunday Jazz series,” said Nate Lawrence of Polyrhythms.

The band roster is comprised of the following:

Saxophones: Robert Espe, Jen Tiede, Chris Merz, Nolan Schroeder, Simon Harding
Trumpets: Cory Schmitt, Dave Rezek, Jon Ailabouni, Steve Wheeler
Trombones: Anthony Williams, Rich Medd, Joel Nagel, Zack Morton
Rhythm Section: Steve Grismore, Michael Conrad, Drew Morton, Dave Tiede

Conrad — who performed for Third Sunday Jazz at Redstone in November 2018 and January 2020 — joined the UNI faculty in the fall of 2018. He has been recognized for his arranging and composing with four ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and seven DownBeat Awards, as well as awards and commissions from organizations like the Bundesjazzorchester of Germany, West Point Jazz Knights, and the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers.

Mike Conrad has been on the UNI music faculty since fall 2018. As a performer, he has toured China, played at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and appeared at various jazz festivals and venues all over the United States. 

Conrad’s arrangements have been performed all around the world, including a 2014 premiere at Carnegie Hall, and a performance at the U.S. presidential Inauguration in 2013.

General admission for the 5 p.m. concert on Jan. 16 is $15. Seats are limited and you may pay at the door, but they suggest that you call and reserve a spot. Call Polyrhythms at 309 373-0790 or email nate@polyrhythms.org.  

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