After a landmark 2012 season, the Jazz Institute of Chicago and The Drake Hotel are continuing their partnership to present NextGenJazz, a six-concert jazz series at The Drake Hotel. Beginning April 2013, on the first three Thursdays of April, May, June, July, September and October, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., some of Chicago's best new jazz artists lead trios in the elegant and classic Palm Court. Free and open to the public, the 2013 series kicks off with Makaya McCraven on April 4, 11 and 18. Unlike the early days of jazz, places where young musicians can perform in residence are few and far between. The NextGenJazz partnership with The Drake provides a great opportunity for the Jazz Institute to connect new audiences to emerging artists and a unique venue for Chicago’s talented young performers to hone their craft. "We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with The Drake Hotel and are excited to invite new audiences to discover Chicago’s emerging jazz artists at the Palm Court. The Drake provides a unique backdrop, where elegance blends with innovation," says Lauren Deutsch, Jazz Institute of Chicago executive director. The series reflects the Jazz Institute’s commitment to supporting new artists who represent the next evolution of the art form, and enables The Drake to engage with the community as well as provide guests new, interesting entertainment. "The Drake is, and has been for decades, an integral part of the Chicago community,” says Stefan Gruvberger, hotel manager at The Drake Hotel. “We look forward to continuing our involvement with the city through partnerships with organizations like the Jazz Institute of Chicago and are excited to offer our guests entertainment that is truly Chicago.” For reservations, please contact Shaun Rajah at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-932-4619. A complete 2013 schedule follows. Schedules and artists are subject to change. For the most recent information, visit www.jazzinchicago.org or www.drakechicago.com. NextGen Jazz 2013 – Season Schedule April 4, 11, 18 - Makaya McCraven Trio Drummer and producer, Makaya McCraven has quickly established himself as one of the city’s first-call sidemen, thanks to his innate musicality and ceaseless invention. A young veteran who has spent years developing his artistry, working with jazz legends and hip-hop pioneers, McCraven now ushers in a new era of jazz with his peers, bringing fresh sound to venerated traditions. May 2, 9, 16 - Marquis Hill Trio A well-known name on the Chicago Jazz scene, trumpeter Marquis Hill has toured the U.S. and abroad with Dee Alexander, Ernest Dawkins and Willierm Delsifort, and leads his own group the Marquis Hill Black-tet. With a distinctly clean, clear approach, Hill helps define the sound of Chicago's new generation of jazz artists. He released his debut album “New Gospel” in 2011, and recently released his sophomore album “Sounds of the City” to critical acclaim. June 6, 13, 20 - Junius Paul Trio An established electric and acoustic bassist, Junius Paul combines a variety of genres including jazz, hip-hop, house music, funk, classical and gospel. A multifaceted local, national and international performer, Paul is always in high demand, sharing the stage with Wynton Marsalis, Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, Fred Anderson, Nona Hendryx and Chico DeBarge. He has performed at festivals in England, France, Austria, Ghana, Italy, and Brazil. July 4, 11, 18 - Christopher McBride Trio Raised in a household filled with the sounds of gospel, jazz, hip-hop, reggae, soca, dancehall, world, and R&B, saxophonist Christopher McBride has shared his musical gift with audiences across the globe. McBride has performed in Ireland, England, Scotland, China, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain sharing the stage with musical greats including Billy Preston, Antonio Hart, John Clayton, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Broom, Percy Gray, Roy Hargrove, Talib Kweli, 88 Keys and Milton Mustafa. September 5, 12, 19 - Katie Ernst Trio An accomplished musician and vocalist, bassist Katie Ernst has impressed audiences nationwide with her multifaceted performances. Ernst has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Naperville Jazz Festival, and numerous jazz clubs throughout the East Coast and the Midwest. In 2007, she received a coveted Downbeat Award for her singing and was featured in Downbeat Magazine's June issue. October 3, 10, 17- Rajiv Halim Trio Up and coming saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator Rajiv Halim, took a non-traditional path toward his musical passion. Studying music at Gallery 37 and winning multiple competitions, he initially began his secondary education as a chemical engineering student. After careful consideration, he revisited and embraced his musical curiosity, expanding his formal education in jazz studies. Halim has performed with Von Freeman, Orbert Davis, Ari Brown, Nicole Mitchell, Maggie Brown, Ernie Adams, Stewart Miller, as well as leading his own groups. About the Jazz Institute of Chicago Founded in 1969, the Jazz Institute of Chicago presents and preserves jazz by nurturing new talent, sustaining active artists, providing educational opportunities, encouraging the creation of new work and making jazz available for all. For more information, visit www.jazzinchicago.org.