Lincoln College Jazz Instructor
Sets Chicago Performance
Denise La Grassa will present her original
jazz-theater production Jan. 14
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[January 09, 2018]
La Grassa, lead faculty for Jazz Studies at Lincoln College will be
performing her original Jazz-Theater production of The Blues Ain’t a
Color, as part of a special event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King on
Sunday, Jan. 14, in Chicago.
The performance will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday at Elastic Arts, 3429
Diversey Ave., Chicago. It will be followed by a brief community
discussion about Dr. King’s legacy.
La Grassa and co-composer/co-performer John Kregor’s music mixes
with historical photos, current video images, and paintings by the
late Swiss artist Maria Kern to highlight issues of race and
diversity in America today. The show also features taped interviews
with retired Chicago Defender publisher Col. Eugene Scott; author
Orlando Ceaser; social service advocate Sister Simone Campbell
(“Nuns on the Bus”); Urbana State Representative Carol Ammons;
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs’ Lorraine Render; and Rainbow
Push Excel students.
La Grassa’s original songs in The Blues Ain’t a Color include
“Davina’s Song,” “I’ve Had It With The Blues,” “Color Is The
Difference,” “Spinning Jenny,” “Vain Game,” and the title track, and
accompany sung and spoken poetry. The current version also features
the song “Tiny Star of Peace,” co-written with children from the
Western Avenue Community Center in Normal.
La Grassa has been performing her original music and poetry in
Chicago at clubs, hotels, festivals and events for over 25 years.
She was a regular performer at Chicago's once-thriving jazz clubs
such as the Bop Shop Jazz Club, Velvet Lounge and HotHouse, where
her shows evolved into performances in New York City, Scotland,
Germany, and Switzerland, as well as at theaters and festivals in
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The first show, BITE, performed with a jazz trio, won critical
acclaim from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Reader. La
Grassa also worked with The Second City Touring Company, where her writing,
acting, singing, and improvisational skills entertained audiences nationwide.
La Grassa has won three Emmy Awards, and been nominated numerous other times for
her work at WTTW-TV (PBS) in Chicago and WILL-TV (PBS) in Urbana. In August
2016, she completed her doctorate in Jazz Performance with a minor in Theater
History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. La Grassa holds the
position of Lead Faculty, Jazz Studies, at Lincoln College. She recently
produced and co-wrote with Lincoln College Students an original Jazz-Theater
presentation Next Stop: Harlem.
Public Relations and Media Manager